Five Tory ‘giveaways’ that suggest we may be heading for a general election

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Fréa Lockley

There’s been widespread speculation about a general election in autumn 2018. Right now, the Conservative Party press office Twitter feed is interesting. Because it looks as if it’s trying to offer the electorate sweeteners, just in case a general election is called.

But things are not what they seem.

Education

According to the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) press office, there’s an extra £680m for schools:

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And there’s also £50m for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):

But this funding is a drop in the ocean to make up the shortfall of £2.8bn that’s been cut from school budgets since 2015. It won’t cover the fact that numbers in 62% of secondary school classes have risen, as headteachers are forced to shed staff because of cuts.

There are over 4,000 SEND children waiting for a school place. And £50m won’t help SEND children who’ve already been forced out of schools because of local authority cuts.

NHS

According to CCHQ, the NHS is in safe hands. To prove this, it shared a story by health minister Jeremy Hunt who wrote in the Telegraph:

We were world pioneers when the NHS was set up in 1948.

It’s unclear what Hunt means by ‘we’ here. Because the NHS was founded in 1948 under Attlee’s Labour government. The Tories consistently voted against it. And in terms of spending on health, this Tory government has overseen:

the smallest increase in spending for any political party’s period in office since the second world war… the ten years up to 2020/21 are likely to see the largest sustained fall in NHS spending.. in any period since 1951.

Tax

Apparently, the Tories have given millions of workers a tax cut:

Sorry, what?

It’s not clear how these tax cuts will genuinely benefit the poorest in society, many of whom barely meet the tax threshold. How, for example, will these small ‘savings’ help the 60% of people living in poverty from working households? Or the 3.1 million children with working parents who now live in poverty?

It doesn’t stop there, because according to the TUC, stagnated wages mean that the average UK worker will have lost £24 each week or £18,500 by 2025.  And these ‘savings’ don’t take into account the devastating impact of the freeze on public sector wages. This is far from over. Because as Faiza Shaheen, director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS), told the Independent:

The Conservatives are attempting to hoodwink the public into believing that the public sector pay cap is over while knowing full-well that it isn’t… lifting the public sector pay cap either means further job losses or cutting public services, an impossible and unfair choice.

Environment

According to the CCHQ, there’s good environmental news:

But it didn’t mention increased plans for fracking across the UK. Before new parks, we need to protect existing ones: Michael Gove should reverse plans to allow fracking in our national parks.

Generation rent

Good news for renters, apparently:

In two decades, the number of people renting in the UK has doubled, and private rents have risen 33%. And in retweeting this, the CCHQ neglected to mention something vital. As Vicky Spratt, who led the call to end letting fees said:

Even letting agents who gave evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee said explicitly they would exploit the default fees loophole to make up for the income they lose through charging admin fees.

Tory fibs

No one knows if there’ll be an early general election. But it does look like Conservative HQ is pushing a string of classic ‘giveaways’ to sweeten voters. But not a single thing on offer gives enough back to counter existing Tory cuts.

Do they really think we’re that stupid? Because these are nothing but empty promises.

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