UK austerity: ‘Diverting money from poor to rich under guise of economic crisis’

John Wight
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
UK austerity: ‘Diverting money from poor to rich under guise of economic crisis’
The UK’s austerity policy is ideologically driven and is aimed at diverting finance from the poor to the rich under the pretext of the economic crisis, writer John Wight told RT.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is announcing billions more in the government spending cuts while austerity measures are already biting for many people across the UK.

Osborne claimed that British economy is “out of intensive care.” RT asked Wight if he thinks that is really the case.

John Wight: Only in a fine world of the Tory party would that be the case. The country’s seen 1.1 percent growth in the last three years – the worst level of growth in this country’s economy over the last 100 years. That can by no means be considered a success. 

RT:Who's going to be the most affected by these latest cuts?

JW: Clearly the poor are going to be hit harder as a continuation of the mass experiment in human despair, which this coalition government has cheated to describe as an economic policy. It is ideologically driven and we see economics of the madhouse. And it is done with the objective of affecting the transference of wealth from the poor to the rich under the pretext of an economic crisis – not reason, it’s a pre-text. The economic crisis which hit this country in 2007 was their economic 9/11.

RT:Official figures show the deficit has been growing last year, despite previous cuts. So is there any point to them?

JW: Well, that’s what I’ve just said: this is ideologically driven. If you are considering these policies on the basis of economics, then clearly it is completely irrational. The US economist Paul Krugman lately described it as “a medieval doctor draining a patient’s blood,” and when that doesn’t work, draining more blood from the patient. This is entirely appropriate to describe this economic policy, this austerity.

Austerity historically has been discredited. It doesn’t work in times of recession. At a time of recession the government needs to spend more to reintroduce the man which is contracted as profits stumble.

And you must place this along the fact that the Office of Financial Statistics, the government’s own body set up to monitor these things, came up with a figure in April which stated that in the final quarter of last year UK businesses, excluding banks, were sitting on 318 billion pounds of surplus. And that money is money we need in the economy. They are not investing, they spend all the inducements from the government by the way of tax subsidies and tax cuts for the rich that the government has given to the rich over the last three years. 

RT:What do you think is the best way that the government can fight the deficit?

JW: It has to start investing in the real economy. It has to start directing banks to lend rather than pleading with banks, especially banks in which we own a majority share, such as RBS. The government should take over RBS’s operations and start lending in the interest of the real economy. The economy needs it. We have a housing crisis in the country, it’s the worst in the world, it’s a scandal. And we need to start investing in affordable homes.

Rather than punishing the poor for being poor we should start actually diverting money from the rich to the poor, as befitting a civilized society. 

RT:Osborne announced cuts to the police budget. Do you think that will affect the crime rate?

JW: Well, not really, because based on what we know now a lot of criminals are actually in the police. They are also sitting in the boardrooms and in the House of Lords. It may have an effect. But I think they’ve consolidated the police and taken away the regional power from the police. It is yet to be seen. But as I say the cuts in the police budget are minimal compared to the cuts for the poor in terms of benefit cuts and so on.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.