This is what Britain would look like if the Tories stayed in power until 2025, after nine more Budgets from Osborne

It won’t be long surely before the government has ‘no choice’ but to institute a fully privatised health system, one that would be more familiar to Florence Nightingale than Nye Bevan

Lee Williams
Thursday 17 March 2016 18:24

George Osborne said his 2016 budget was putting “the next generation first” and making Britain “fit for the future”.

Well let’s take him at face value and have a look at that. Without a credible challenge from the opposition it looks like we’re going to be stuck with a Tory government until at least 2025 so looking to the future would seem the prescient thing to do.

So, what will the UK look like after nine more budgets under this government? Ironically it might appear more like Victorian Britain, if current trends continue.


The gradual erosion of the welfare state continues and, as usual, the most vulnerable have to bear the brunt with some disabled people facing cuts of £30 a week to their benefits. With a further £3.5bn of undisclosed cuts still to come before 2020, there’s no prize for guessing where these are also likely to fall.

Food bank use is at record levels with over a million emergency food bank supplies given in 2014-15 alone. In-work poverty is growing and child poverty is set to increase by 700,000 by 2020 according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Meanwhile real term pay is falling for millions of people and with one in forty workers now in jobs that don’t guarantee a minimum number of hours, job insecurity is rising. It won’t be long before welfare will be a matter solely for charities and philanthropists. Workhouse anyone?


Without any real efforts to tackle the country’s housing crisis, soon home ownership will be effectively barred to all but the top tier of earners. These investors will make even more money buying and selling their ever-appreciating assets in the ludicrous bubble we call a housing market.

Meanwhile the rest of us will be paying our hard-earned cash into the pockets of exploitative private landlords, providing them with a second income while we struggle, on zero-hours contracts, to make even one. And with the continued decline in social housing, these same landlords make over £26bn in benefits from the taxpayer alone.


With junior doctors and other staff pushed to their limits, and with the door opened to increasing privatisation, the government’s abolishment of the NHS continues apace. Indeed some commentators are already saying that our NHS is no longer a public service in legislative terms. Coupled with a £22bn funding “black hole” over the next five years, the NHS is at crisis point. Osborne’s response in this budget? No extra funding for the NHS. Oh, but we do have a sugar tax, so that should help…

With the NHS recording its worst ever performance in January, it won’t be long surely before the government has ‘no choice’ but to institute a fully privatised health system, one that would be more familiar to Florence Nightingale than Nye Bevan.


Despite our Paris pledge, the government continues to back fossil fuels with a continuing freeze on fuel duty and £1bn worth of tax cuts to the oil and gas drilling industry. This incentive to find new sources of oil comes despite repeated warnings that we must leave most of the fossil fuels we’ve already found in the ground to stay below the 20 global warming target.

With February smashing global temperature records by a “shocking” amount, it looks like climate disaster could be closer than anyone predicted. And yet Osborne still goes short-sightedly digging for more black gold. If trends continue as they are, this government could bequeath the next generation environmental disasters that make Victorian air pollution look pleasant.

Productivity and growth

With growth figures revised down for 2016 compared to the autumn statement, followed by successive drops in 2017 and 2018, it seems the only way this government isn’t taking us back to Victorian times is in terms of productivity and growth. Like China today, we used to be the workshop of the world. Now with manufacturing output barely recovering from a six-year low, and with the government’s pathetic commitment to infrastructure spending, we are more like the tea shop of the world.

Oh but I forgot – we do have the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. How the great Victorian industrialists of the North would laugh if they could hear that phrase coming from this government.

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