The last few years have seen a drastic erosion of living standards for ordinary families and working people in the UK. Households are being stretched to the limit by a perfect storm of a harsh economic climate, coupled with slashed support and services from the state.
- Real wages are still falling, and prices rising fast. Since 2009 the average worker has ‘lost’ £4,000.
- The welfare spending cap will cut support for low income families both in and out of work. Child benefit freezes and cuts will lose two-child families more than £1,000 by 2015. Tax credit cuts have already lost some families over £2,000.
- The Bedroom Tax will cut housing benefit for 670,000 households. The average household affected will lose over £700 a year, with disabled people and lone parents hit particularly hard.
- Big spending cuts will have slashed the value of public services, such as schools, public transport and hospitals, by £7,000 per household by 2018.
- Centrally-imposed reductions to council funding mean as many as 400 libraries risk closing, as well as other local services from youth centres to playgrounds. Hundreds of Sure Start centres have already gone.
- NHS cuts have seen 6,000 nursing posts lost, and A&E and maternity services, such as Lewisham hospital, are under threat. New marketisation plans will fracture NHS services locally and divert front line service funding into bureaucracy to support competition.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. George Osborne’s 2013 budget represents a chance to break with the self-defeating cycle of austerity, and start to build an economy that works for ordinary families and working people, not just those at the top.
We’re holding a mass rally in Westminster on the evening of 13 March, to put pressure on the Chancellor ahead of his budget. Please join us there to help make the case for Britain’s hard pressed families. If you can’t get to London, you can support and follow the event online.