Austerity-National Debt

The government tells us that we are going through an economic crisis – the worst in a generation – and that desperate times call for desperate measures. However this is simply a lie. The economic crisis has been greatly exaggerated in order to get the poor to accept even greater poverty while the rich continue to get richer. We are consistently told that the National Debt is too high, and if we don’t take immediate steps to cut it down we are doomed. What they don’t tell us is that in the 321 years since the National Debt was started, it has been higher than the current level for 205 of those years. That means that for nearly 2/3 of the time, the National Debt has been greater than it is now. In other words, current debt levels are actually in the lower part of their historical range. To say we are in an unprecedented crisis is just not true.

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Graph © Christopher Chantrill,

Now it is certainly true that there is nothing wrong with being economically prudent, and nothing wrong with trying to get the debt down, but there are many ways of doing it, and inflicting cuts on the poorest members of society is the most unfair of them.
Clement Attlee – Post War Labour Prime Minister who, despite 250% National Debt, still went ahead and built the modern welfare state.

In the late 1940’s for example, when debt was no less than triple what it is now, the government increased the very highest rate of tax to 95%, after which debt steadily fell, and it was only 10 years after that in 1957 that Harold MacMillan was saying ‘you’ve never had it so good’. (It was also during this period of high debt, that the government was building the welfare state, not systematically destroying it as they are at the moment). So the other main way to pay down the debt, rather than cutting spending on the poorest is to increase taxes on the richest. However this government doesn’t want to do that and so instead we are forced to endure cuts to public services, which disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged in society – the unemployed, the disabled, single parents, the working poor, pensioners, the NHS, education – the list in endless.

So why won’t the government increases taxes on the rich? Very simply because our democratic system has been utterly compromised by the power of wealthy people and rich corporations, who fund our political parties, lobby them, effectively control them, and so ensure that parliament makes laws which benefit them rather than benefit the general public. For more details on the way private funding of political parties completely corrupts the legislative process click here.

However not only do wealthy individuals and corporations push for low taxes, they also avoid the taxes they are supposed to pay. Tax Avoidance is rife and costs this country £95bn per year*, more than enough, if it was collected, to service the National Debt and so end the need for the policy of Austerity. However the corrosive influence of rich business on our government ensures this never happens. For more information on the prevalence of Tax Avoidance in our society click here.

* Ref: Tax Justice Network:


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