The Treasury graph below shows that, as a percentage of net income, the poorest 10 per cent pay more than every other group, with the exception of the richest 10 per cent. Osborne deliberately avoided this fact by noting that the richest pay more in cash terms (a less progressive measure). If you strip out the pre-announced measures from the Budget (the black line), the graph shows that the poorest 10 per cent have actually lost the most from the Spending Review. The overall effect of the measures announced today is therefore clearly regressive.
Perhaps for many it comes as no surprise. It is evidence of the Shock Doctrine in action:
Can you see the pattern yet? Public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away. Public bodies whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed. What the two lists suggest is that the economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. The government’s programme of cuts looks like a classic example of disaster capitalism: using a crisis to re-shape the economy in the interests of business.
Across the water, one can’t help but admire the ability of the French to say, “Non!” to their own reforms.