A few weeks ago, Tory ministers couldn’t get to their front doors quick enough to be photographed clapping for our NHS. But now, the chancellor is insulting NHS workers with a minuscule pay rise and freezing pay for all other public sector workers. As I’ve heard many people say, applause doesn’t pay the bills or feed your family.
The Tories are never happier than when they are cutting our public services at the same time as sneaking a few more quid into the wallets of the already well off. So it came as little surprise to find a £30 billion NHS cut buried in the small print of last week’s budget, alongside a half a billion-pound stamp duty cut for second homeowners and landlords.
It’s also depressingly predictable to hear the Tories try again to justify meagre pay rises and service cuts with Osborne-esque untruths about the country not being able to afford it. That wasn’t true the last time they tried that on, combining mega cuts with a £100billion tax bonanza for the rich and the biggest corporations. And it’s not true now when the last thing a responsible government should be doing in a huge post-pandemic slump is to suck demand out of the economy by scrimping on pay rises.