Following yesterday’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond two think tanks have issued dire warnings that British families face a “grim” few years with a “dreadful” outlook for wages.
Directly after the Autumn Statement Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell echoed these dire predictions, and strongly attacked the Tories for their poverty spreading, and disastrous economic policies.
However, the mainstream media have largely failed to report on the horrendous impact that these policies will have – and have ridiculed McDonnell’s response.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have said that wages in 2021 will be below the level they were in 2008. They’ve warned that we are going to have a decade without real earnings growth, something that hasn’t happened for the last 70 years. The Resolution Foundation said that the worst hit will be lower incomes families, with the poorest third likely to see incomes drop.
These reports confirm the fears raised by McDonnell yesterday in his response to the Autumn Statement. Despite this serious nature of the issue, a large number of mainstream media outlets have covered McDonnell in a way that is derogatory, and are ignoring, and undermining the issues whilst doing so. According to these “journalists”, the fact that millions of people are going to be thrown into poverty and that we are being propelled head first into another Tory engineered economic disaster just isn’t newsworthy.
They prefer instead to talk about the fact that they found McDonnell to be boring – or irrelevant.
The Metro ran a story where they circled MPs using phones while McDonnell spoke yesterday. This isn’t even an uncommon practice during PMQs – so why is it newsworthy?
The Sun ran the same story, and we are told that MPs were yawning.
The Daily Mail ran a similar story
How can this be justified as journalism? Isn’t it interesting to note how 5 different papers all reported an almost identical story? At a time when the country is facing such economic pain, and turmoil – this is what they report on. McDonnell stood up for working people yesterday, he stood up for the poor, and the disabled.
Speaking directly after the Autumn Statement McDonnell strongly condemned the Tories’ economic failure saying:
Today’s Statement places on record the abject failure of the last six wasted years and offers little hope for the future.
The figures speak for themselves: growth down; wage growth down; investment down.
The deficit target, failed. The debt target, failed. The welfare cap, failed.
The verdict could not be clearer.
The so-called “long term economic plan” has failed.
As the Treasury’s own leaked paper revealed, they knew it had failed before the referendum result was announced.
We’ve had a month of briefing from the Party opposite on those people who are called “just about managing”
To the Party opposite, these people are just an electoral demographic.
To us, they are our friends, our neighbours, and the people we represent.
Let me tell you why they are “just about managing”.
It’s the result of Tories imposing austerity on an economy that couldn’t bear the strain.
We’ve seen productivity stagnate.
But there’s nothing in this Autumn Statement on the scale needed to overturn those six wasted years.
The Chancellor has frozen in-work benefits at a time when food prices are rising and we don’t expect wages to keep up.
But we need an economy that is fundamentally more prosperous and where that prosperity is shared by all.
Today’s changes will leave a single parent on the average wage £2,300 worse off.
These are people working hard to deliver for their families and the Government is betraying them.
As for people with disabilities put through the ordeal of the discredited Work Capability Assessment, who are trying to get themselves ready to return to work ‘just about managing’, yes, they still remain in the Chancellor’s firing line, cutting £30 a week from their support.
According to the mainstream media, this wasn’t worth reporting on. Instead, their readers would rather know about the fact that some MPs used their phones yesterday.
McDonnell’s response has been echoed today by Paul Johnson, director of the IFS who responded to the Statement today saying:
Half of the wage growth projected for the next five years back in March is not now projected to happen. On these projections real wages will, remarkably, still be below their 2008 levels in 2021
One cannot stress enough how dreadful that is – more than a decade without real earnings growth. We have certainly not seen a period remotely like it in the last 70 years.
The Resolution Foundation think tank said that the lower growth in pay, accelerated cost of living, and freezes on working age benefits indicate that on average incomes would only grow by 0.2% a year. During the austerity-driven coalition years of Government, incomes rose by 0.5% . This means that the next five years are likely to be even more painful than when the Tories first came into government.
The Foundation said that:
Taking all this together we can look at the outlook for family incomes in the coming years, and it paints a grim picture
The Treasury’s own analysis, published alongside the Autumn Statement, shows that the poorest 30% of households will see their income fall by 2019-20.
The Foundation said the poorest 10% would see an income hit of more than 3% by 2020 as a result of tax and welfare policies. This is due primarily to the four-year freeze on working age benefits, such as jobseeker’s allowance, and disability benefits like Employment, and Support Allowance.
According to the Resolution Foundation Hammond’s announcement yesterday that he would cut slightly less than expected from those claiming Universal Credit will still do substantial damage to families:
Their report found that:
When set against all other policy changes announced since the 2015 election, the Autumn Statement only undoes 7% of the hit from benefit cuts to the bottom half of the income distribution
Independent think tanks and the Shadow Chancellor are both warning of the dire impact that the Tories economic policy will have on the country. The public deserves to know what is really happening, and they deserve to know that there is an alternative.
The fact that they think it is of more importance to run stories that show a bunch of MPs using their phones at a time when millions are going to suffer at the hands of the Tories, is frankly disgusting, and shocking.
This shows the kind of disconnect that exists between the elites that run the media , and everybody else. The mainstream media is so determined to mock, and smear any alternative to their beloved Tory friends that they will try any method going to do so.
Yesterday I reported on the fact that Hammond will be cutting corporation tax to a record low and taking from the poor to pay for it. This has barely been reported in the mainstream media, perhaps that is because they are corporations who benefit from these kinds of handouts? And perhaps that is why the silence the opposition?
The good news is that old media is dying, and so are the principles behind it. Perhaps one day journalists will return to being actual journalists – until then expect to see more and more of this kind of nonsense.