by Rab Bruce’s Spider

In one way, Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement was reasonably benign in that it was not as harsh as many had feared. And yet he has followed the usual Tory policy of hammering ordinary citizens while letting the wealthy go relatively unharmed. Yes, more people will fall into the 45% tax bracket, but I’d venture to suggest that most of them will be able to cope given the income level required to fall into that bracket. Increases in pensions and benefits may appear generous, but those won’t kick in until next year, so many people will need to suffer through the winter.

He's also performed that Tory trick of delaying some of the worst increases for a couple of years, meaning that if Labour do manage to win the next election, they’ll be faced with either scrapping the changes and incurring the wrath of the money markets, or sticking with them and incurring the wrath of ordinary workers.

But even if this Statement wasn’t called a Budget, it was still a typical tory Budget. Taxes imposed on renewable energy providers, while the taxes on fossil fuel extractors still have the loophole that they can avoid tax if they keep finding new places to drill for yet more fossil fuels. Tories may claim to be going Green, but their actions defy those words they spout so easily.

There were, as expected, no attempts to curb money going to offshore tax havens, nor to make the giant multi-national companies actually pay any tax in the UK. Instead, the burden has fallen on the citizens, with a few of them being given meagre handouts as a token gesture to make it look as if Jeremy Hunt cares. He doesn’t. He doesn’t need to worry as he’s a multi-millionaire. That’s not jealousy speaking, it’s a comment on the fact that the very wealthy have done very nicely under the Tories. As usual, everyone else is being hit, and we now face the prospect of a very significant fall in our standard of living. And with energy prices authorised to increase again in April, that situation is only going to get worse.

A lot of commentators are insisting that the Tories know they will lose the next UK General Election, and Jeremy Hunt’s budgetary decisions certainly suggest that he’s aware that is a distinct possibility, but I’m not so sure. By the time the next GE comes around, you can bet that the media will be portraying Messrs Sunak and Hunt as the sensible guys, the ones who calmed the markets and steered the UK through difficult times which had nothing at all to do with Brexit. It’s all the fault of that horrible man Putin and those disgusting illegal immigrants. Smear campaigns will be launched against all other Party leaders, including Sir Keir (Knight of the Realm) Starmer, and I’m very concerned that the English electorate will fall for it again. They usually do.

As always, Scotland needs to take another path as soon as possible to escape this nightmare.