In crisis times you can go one of two ways. With and for the people. Or with and for the capitalists who caused the crisis in the first place. This is a budget of the rich, by the rich, for the rich say the Communists. Nothing else should have been expected from a Con-Dem Cabinet with 22 millionaires among its 29 members. Read on for the CP proposals to tackle the ruling class destruction of services, jobs and industry. You can download and print off to distribute a new CP leaflet on the budget here.

It continues and extends the same austerity and privatisation programme inherited from New Labour, with £10.5 billion in welfare cuts to be added to the £203 billion cuts already intended between now and 2015.

These cuts are not necessary. According to the Office of National Statistics, just 10 per cent of the population own at least £4,000 billions in personal wealth in Britain, 44 per cent of the total. That excludes the vast amounts stashed away in secret. 

A modest 2 per cent wealth tax on this super-privileged minority would raise £80 billion a year - twice as much as the Chancellor's five-year austerity programme, without any spending cuts or tax rises at all.

Instead, this budget rewards rich tax dodgers while punishing the poor, low paid, unemployed, pensioners and the disabled. On the grounds that so many people on more than £150,000 a year have avoided paying the 50p top rate of income tax, it is to be reduced to 45p next year and then abolished altogether. 

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, people with higher incomes will gain most from raising the starting-point for paying income tax. But five million pensioners will lose out over coming years because the Chancellor is freezing and eventually scrapping their extra personal tax allowances.

Meanwhile, the National Minimum Wage will be frozen for 18-21 year-olds and the cuts in Working Tax Credit and Disability Living Allowance will go ahead.

This budget will not lift the British economy out of stagnation. The latest forecasts of quicker growth, falling unemployment and lower living costs will turn out to be as falsely optimistic as last year's.

Slashing public expenditure, reducing people's purchasing power, implementing the rise in VAT and destroying 275,000 public sector jobs in a single year does not promote economic growth.
In the USA, President Obama's modest economic stimulus has helped produced 24 months and continuous growth, bringing unemployment down below Britain's rate of 8.4 per cent. A package of a similar type and on the same scale here would mean £27 billion of state funding for job creation initiatives and an extra £22 billion for social and welfare programmes.

This government prefers to pump an extra £50 billion into City of London banks and markets, bringing the total paid so far in 'quantitative easing' to £325 billion.

Corporation Tax on company profits is being immediately reduced by two points to 24 per cent, costing the Exchequer around £3 billion a year. Osborne compared the new rate favourably with those in the US (40 per cent), Japan (38), France (34) and Germany (30).

At the same time, the government is closing 36 Remploy factories which made a total operating loss of £26 million this year (2011-12), throwing 1,752 mainly disabled workers and their skills onto the scrap-heap.

Even Chancellor Osborne's boast that the government's financial deficit will be reduced more rapidly is based on the seizure of £28 billion of assets in the Royal Mail pension fund. He did not mention that the state has also acquired the scheme's liabilities estimated at £37.5 billion.

If Royal Mail is privatised, it will be yet another case of nationalising the debts while privatising the profits.

The Con-Dem government's proposal to privatise new parts of the trunk and motorway network will extend the principle of 'first class' travel for the rich from the railways to our roads.

The Communist Party advocates Budget policies that would enhance people's living standards, public services, productive industry and the environment. We propose a Left-Wing Programme with measures to:

  • Restore the cuts in social and welfare spending. 
  • Cancel the cuts in working tax credit. 
  • Reduce VAT. 
  • Boost capital spending by local and central government, including a massive public sector housebuilding programme, 
  • Impose price controls on the energy utilities and bring them back into public ownership 
  • Levy a wealth tax on the super-rich. 
  • Charge a windfall tax on energy, banking and retail monopoly profits. 
  • Introduce a financial transactions tax. 
  • Increase the higher tax rates on dividends, bonuses and pension windfalls. 
  • Close all tax havens under British jurisdiction. 
  • Raise the top rate of council tax. 
  • Unfreeze the local business rate on big business.