The Sad Tale of Spreadsheet Phil

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | November 22, 2017 0
Phil Hammond

Phil Hammond


What a sad day for Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Spreadsheet Phil who stood up in the commons today and confessed he was addicted to debt and like #NoMandateMay well past his sell by date!

Don’t take my word for it, ask Tory MP’s who loathe him to a man (and woman) or indeed Theresa May who seemingly can’t stand him reminding her there is no such thing as a good Brexit. Mind you, May made the same point while campaigning for the Remain Campaign before the Referendum but quickly suffered from political amnesia afterwards. Still, back to Spreadsheet Phil who is widely despised by the Tory Party not least because his last botched Budget unravelled within minutes.

The sad reality of Spreadsheet Phil was exposed the previous Sunday on the Andrew Marr programme when he ritually disembowelled himself.

Marr : “What was the National Debt as a % of GDP when the Conservatives came into power?”

Philip Hammond: “about 60%”

Marr : “And where is it now?”

Philip Hammond: “A number starting with 8*”

Marr : “High 80’s, that is a terrible record?”

Today Philip Hammond has bowed to intense political pressure and announced a “screeching” U-turn on the rollout of the universal credit – the Government’s flagship and serially incompetent welfare policy, which stands to reason as it was devised by the serially incompetent Iain Duncan Smith.  Addressing concerns raised over universal credit in recent months in his Budget statement, the Chancellor said the wait for the initial payment will be cut by one week – to five – after criticism it is causing hardship for claimants.

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams, said: “The Government has no idea of the reality faced by the tens of thousands of families with children who are facing a Christmas with no support thanks to the Government’s failure to pause and fix universal credit. Instead of tinkering at the edges, with only one pound put back into the programme for every ten that was cut, the Chancellor must also take action to prevent thousands more from being forced to visit food banks this Christmas”.

But these alone are not the most remarkable features of a Budget from a Tory Government which has missed EVERY economic target it has announced over the past seven years:

The most remarkable stats.

– Deficit not due to be eliminated until 2031 (16 years late).

– Growth below 2% in every forecast year for first time in modern history.

– Annual pay not due to return to 2008 peak until 2025.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the politician with the largest personal mandate in Europe,  blasted Philip Hammond’s budget as “the most anti-London in a generation”. The Mayor of London accused the Government of “showing contempt for Londoners” through their plans for spending. The Mayor noted that the Chancellor has failed to mention counter-terrorism and had not offered any funding to the Met Police. He said: “It is sadly now inevitable that police officer numbers will continue to fall – potentially to as few as 27,500 by 2021 – and we are left with no choice but to scrap London’s strategic target for 32,000 police officers that has been in place since 2012.”

A flagship government programme to deliver 200,000 discounted new homes to first-time buyers is yet to see a single one built. The 2014 Starter Home initiative was touted as part of “a major push” to help people on the housing ladder, but officials admit delivering any properties under the scheme remains an “ambition”.

It promised to achieve its target by pushing councils and developers to bring forward unused land and build on old industrial sites, measures that Chancellor Philip Hammond will again pledge to carry out as he makes housing a key plank of his Budget on Wednesday. His great housing initiative in today’s 2017 Budget was a short tem exemption in Stamp Duty for first time buyers on houses up to £300k. The independent Office of Budgetary Responsibility has told him this will not work, will drive house price inflation and will mainly benefit older property owners. We’re spending £3.2bn on a stamp duty break to get 3,500 more first time buyers on the property ladder. That’s £924,285.71 each, it would actually be considerably cheaper to give them a free £300k house!

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Philip Hammond’s second Budget as Chancellor, claiming it demonstrates a “record of failure with a forecast of more to come”.  Mr Corbyn told MPs that the test of a Budget “is how it affects the reality of people’s lives all around this country”, adding that he believes it will unravel in the days ahead as “the reality will be a lot of people will be no better off and the misery many are in will be continuing”.  The Labour leader, who did not get advance sight of Mr Hammond’s Budget, criticised the Government for repeatedly pushing back its target to eliminate Britain’s deficit, as well as the rise in rough sleeping.

Mr Corbyn cited cuts to police officer numbers and rising levels of in-work poverty. He also criticised the Government for failing to take action to tackle credit card debt. “Debt is being racked up because the Government is weak on those who exploit people, such as rail companies hiking up fares above inflation year on year, and water companies and energy suppliers,” said the Labour leader. Mr Corbyn also criticised the Government’s measures on housing, saying very little was mentioned about the private rented sector – even though landlords were paid £10bn in housing benefit.“With this Government delivering the worst rate of house building since the 1920s and 250,000 fewer council homes, any commitment would be welcome,” he said.

Teresa May has previously said that there is “No Magic Money Tree.” Well today we saw the magic money tree is now being harvested for #Brexit. Another £3 Billion flushed down the toilet to keep the right wing Tory paymasters happy on top of the £10 Bn. bribe promised to the DUP in Northern Ireland out of public funds to keep this minority Tory administration barely clinging to power.  No doubt the poor, weak and disabled will see more cuts to pay for it.  Has there ever been a more morally corrupt government?

When Jeremy replied to this weak Budget from a weak government today it was obvious the Tories don’t like it up ‘em. This is why they laughed, jeered, brayed, heckled and responded to questions by opposition parties in parliamentary debates with a tirade of lies and insults. There was a Tory Whip trying to drown out Jeremy talking about child poverty and Tory MPs crouching down on the steps between benches to try to shout down his speech, unseen by the Chair. The bullying public schoolboy mentality which so appals the electorate. But despite the public school hyenas on the other side of the House there was no escaping Corbyn’s damming conclusion:

Economic growth has been revised down!

– Productivity growth has been revised down!

– Business investment has been revised down!

– People-wages and living standards revised down!

“What sort of strong economy is that!”

In the end Spreadsheet Phil was there to tell the Big Lie, the same one told by George Osborne with his non-existent “Long Term Plan” to eliminate the Deficit by 2015 and reduce Government Debt. Now the OBR’s Robert Chote tells us at the current rate the UK on track to return to Budget surplus, not until 2030 – 22 years after the crisis. Not only have the Tories economically illiterate policies which have caused real hardship, suffering and debt failed to eliminate the deficit they have doubled the National Debt  – indeed in 7 years George Osborne and Phil Hammond have borrowed more than every Labour government put together. Far from being fit for the future, the Conservative Party is on its knees with only one story to tell – more austerity for years to come – while Labour stands ready to take over and form a government for the many, not the few.

Bottom line, today Spreadsheet Phil  and weak and unstable Conservatives confirmed once again they are as devalued as the post Brexit Pound.

George Monbiot: This government hates you and your country

This government doesn’t just hate you, it hates your country and it’s coming for the last thing you’ve got. George Monbiot doesn't hold back:

Posted by Double Down News on Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Skibbereen Eagle

The Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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