This is an open letter to the Cambridgeshire MPs which we intend to use as a press release in the run up to the report back of the Comprehensive Spending Review on 20th October. To add your name, comment in the box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN LETTER TO CAMBRIDGESHIRE MPs
The Coalition government claim that cuts to our public services, jobs, pensions, health service, education, transport system, postal service and Welfare State are unavoidable. We reject this notion and believe that there is an alternative.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said that "once all of the benefit cuts are considered, the tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency Budget are clearly regressive" as "they hit the poorest households more than those in the upper-middle of the income distribution in cash, let alone percentage, terms". The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted that economic recovery will be slower because of the tax rises and spending cuts announced in the Budget.
The cuts will have a disproportionate effect on ordinary people and could potentially consign a generation to poverty. Workers are being made to pay the price for the profligacy of the bankers and financial institutions who created the crisis, and who are now once again rewarding themselves with big bonuses while we are being told to tighten our belts.
An alternative would include placing the banks under democratic control, raising revenue by taxing the rich, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, cancelling Trident and plugging tax loopholes so that companies cannot cheat the system by tax avoidance. Addressing the ‘tax gap’ is a vitalpart of tackling the deficit.
Figures produced for PCS by the Tax Justice Network show that £25 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance and a further £70 billion in tax evasion by large companies and wealthy individuals. An additional £26 billion is going uncollected. Therefore PCS estimates the total annual tax gap at over £120 billion (more than three-quarters of the annual deficit!). It is not just PCS calculating this; leaked Treasury documents in 2006 estimated the tax gap at between £97 and £150billion.
The Liberal Democrats campaigned against a rise in VAT, however now in government this has been raised to 20%. Many people voted Lib-Dem in the belief that they were voting for a progressive alternative. The Lib-Dems have a duty to the people that elected them.
In Cambridgeshire, the council has already cut £4 million from the libraries budget meaning fewer resources and some libraries faced with closure. Connexions, the service for young people, is under threat, 300 jobs are set to go at Cambs County Council, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke’s, is planning some 700 job cuts over the next three years, including 170 nursing posts, Teaching Assistant posts are being axed in a number of schools. The list goes on.
On October 20th, the Comprehensive Spending Review is due to report back. We urge you to do the decent thing and stop the government sending us back to the 80s and oppose a regressive budget that will hurt ordinary people and our communities.