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Has Austerity Failed?

Austerity is a controversial topic especially with the
current arguments about Brexit. We see that now many of the public are
beginning to disagree with the Conservative party’s politics concerning the
issue. However there is still a lot of support for the cuts, as people do
believe that it is the best course of action for the country on a whole to
reduce the debt that Britain has. So, which is the better choice, to remove the
idea of Austerity as many are suggesting and increase taxes or to keep cutting
at public spending to reduce the deficit?

Austerity was partially introduced in the late 2008; however
the programme was introduced in 2010 by the coalition government between the
Conservatives and the Liberal democrats. During the first year of austerity
there was a deficit of 9.3% of GPD which was less than the previous year which
had a deficit of 11% of GDP. With a budget deficit of £52 billion the
conservatives answered this by saying that by 2015 and 1026 the budget deficit
would have been eliminated thanks to austerity, they also pledged to have
national debt as a percentage of GDP lowering, these goals were identified by
George Osborne, in June 2010.

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However we are now in 2018 and we see that neither of these
goals has been achieved. Our structural budget deficit has not been eliminated
and although national debt as a percentages falling we see that it has had
dangerous implications on the public. Cuts in public spending have been
impacting many groups of people to a large extent. In 2011, 270,000 public
sector jobs were cut thanks to austerity measures, this is poor, as we see that
not only is this deficit still huge but that instead of the government, the
public are paying for it, especially women, men of colour and most of all women
of colour have been effected by these job cuts as was found from research by
the Runnymede Trust and Women’s budget group in 2016.

People who claimed benefits were affected by the cuts as
they received less and had to use food and cloth banks. However it wasn’t only
these people but Nurses who also had to use food banks thanks to cuts in the
social care, the people who care for us, who look after us when we are sick and
injured aren’t even paid enough to have a decent meal.  Many Nurses also quit their jobs due to being
paid so little, this accounted for 10% of the deaths that have been linked with
austerity measures, the total being 120,000.Even mental health trusts in
England had their budgets cut, this lead to a report by the NatCen social
research for UNISON showing that LGBT people have suffered from a lack of
access to mental health services due to Austerity. At what point is it a crime
against the public when they are taking away help for those who need it,
mentally and physically. This also points to my previous statement about the
120,000 deaths linked with austerity. This number is far too high, and no while
not all of them can be directly attributed to Austerity measures, we see that
this number is due to public housing cuts, mental health cuts, job cuts and
benefit sanctions that have destroyed peoples’ lives.

However there is not much of an alternative that hasn’t
already been considered. With the country in such massive debt there is no
other choice than to make these cuts in order to remove the budget deficit and
national debt. While the promised time of success has been prolonged, we have
seen a huge drop in internet spending, and national debt since 2010. With the
cuts to public spending we have seen that rather than piling more debt on top
of what we already have is a horrible move as we currently have no true way to
remove the debt other than austerity and we see that although slowly austerity
is working. With the promise of national debt having been eliminated by 2025 we
see hope in the fact that austerity is giving us an answer to the country’s
problems. As we see that the Annual UK borrowing decreasing from £153 billion
to £57 billion.

So, while I do think that some of the cuts made thanks to
austerity are ridiculous and dangerous I do see austerity as benefitting us in
the future as we do decrease our national debt. We are not going to survive as
a country with spending more money than we earn as a country and due to a lack
of other measures austerity has been left as the only solution, and since it
has decreased our national debt there is a strong argument for saying that it
hasn’t failed as it has fulfilled part of what was promised when austerity was
introduced and is continuing

Categories: Budget


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