Tory Austerity Puts Public Services at Risk

05/05/2016 10:23 | Updated 05 May 2016

One thing has become abundantly clear over the last few weeks. From the failed Osborne Budget through to the revelations in the Panama Papers last month and the disastrous handling of the steel crisis, this Tory Government isn't standing up for working people.

The priorities for David Cameron and George Osborne are evident in their actions - cutting support for working families while millionaires get tax breaks. The Resolution Foundation yesterday showed that Universal Credit could leave 2.5 million families worse off by more than £3,000 a year. This is further testament to the Tories propensity for helping the richest in society whilst abandoning the poorest communities.

The Tories' ideological commitment to austerity is putting at risk the public services we rely on.

Before he was elected in 2010 David Cameron promised to protect frontline public services. But he has broken that promise. Over 18,000 police officers and 5,000 Community Support Officers have already been cut. With violent crime on the rise, further real terms cuts will make it harder to keep our streets safe.

Meanwhile there is a growing schools crisis with budget cuts, a teacher shortage crisis, rising class sizes and a growing attainment gap. Yet the Tories' plan to force every school to become an academy ignores these issues - an obsession that parents and schools don't want or need. It's ridiculously expensive, costing hundreds of millions which would be better used to improve the classroom experience for pupils.

The Tories' policies on the NHS are failing patients, with over 3.5 million people on the English waiting list. It has got harder to see a GP and the most recent figures showed the worst monthly A&E performance on record. Cuts to nurse training places have created staff shortages, with hospitals forced to rely on expensive agency staff. As a result, hospitals are facing financial meltdown with three out of four hospitals predicting a deficit this year. So much for the Tories' hallowed austerity.

Worryingly, the cuts aren't over yet. The Tories' haven't been straight about how they will meet the £4.8 billion black hole in the most recent Budget. That includes the £3.5 billion of cuts pencilled in for 2019-20 and the need to find the savings lost from reversing their unfair cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The Tories have claimed that covering for the PIP U-turn will not be made up by additional cuts to social security. But that means they will need to either borrow more, raise taxes or cut departmental spending further.

If the Tories choose cuts to departmental spending, which would be in keeping with their past decisions, Labour analysis suggests that these cuts are the equivalent of 2,900 police officers, 20,000 nurses, 18,000 midwives, 16,500 teachers and 3,000 residential social care places for the elderly.

The Tories now have a choice. They can be honest with the public and admit that their black hole will be filled by further cuts to vital public services or they can spell out what welfare cuts or tax rises they will implement instead. Either way they will expose how their failed approach is a political choice, not an economic necessity.

In contrast with the Tories, Labour will stand up for working people to build an economy which works for all - one where prosperity is shared, pay is fair and jobs are secure. Tomorrow, you have the chance to show this Tory Government that it can't just neglect local communities and get away with it.

So vote Labour today, because we're standing up for communities, not standing by.