Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

'Mandela's death ensured George Osborne’s Autumn Statement didn't get scrutiny it deserved'

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

Nelson Mandela's death understandably ensured George Osborne’s Autumn Statement didn't receive the scrutiny it deserved.

However, almost four years after the coalition government came to power, George Osborne revealed last week how he has now borrowed £198bn more than expected. Furthermore, he now does not expect the deficit to be eliminated until the next Parliament.  

Yet, as the Government continues to spend recklessly, millions are living in abject poverty. There’s little, if anything, worthwhile to show for the government’s addiction to spending your money and mine. Despite superficial cuts to public spending, the same pointless pet projects continue to get funded, with the poor picking up the tab.  

But much of George Osborne’s medicine isn’t just unpleasant, it’s also pointless. Raising the retirement age might reduce pension liabilities, but it will also increase youth unemployment by reducing vacancies. Our open-door policy to EU immigration compounds the situation. Increasing labour availability lowers average incomes, reduces consumption, depresses economic activity and makes youth unemployment worse.

Meantime, despite window dressing by Government on the issue of energy costs, millions remain trapped in fuel poverty. Admittedly, no government can control international energy prices. But eco-taxes are exacerbating the situation and contributing to thousands of needless deaths this winter. By 2020, the average household will be paying over £600 a year to tackle ‘man made global warming’ – despite temperatures having gone nowhere in 15 years.

Worse still, our industries are being held back by the EU – a region in decline – and find it unnecessarily difficult to access fast growing markets in Asia and in the Commonwealth. Closer to home, they’re also of course being burdened with red tape and bureaucracy courtesy of our masters in Brussels.

All of which is why UKIP supports abolishing the Climate Change Act. It’s why we support a common sense approach to immigration; it’s why we support reforming the international aid budget and it’s why we support leaving the EU. Such policies don’t make us popular in Brussels, Stormont or Westminster. But as is clear from recent opinion polls and election results, they’re making us ever more popular on the ground.

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