If you thought 2016 was pretty rough, don’t underestimate the government’s ability to make things even worse.
The latest example of Tory policy came this week with the news that chancellor Philip Hammond has sneaked a huge £5.4bn tax giveaway to the top six big banks in the Autumn Statement in November.
Tax receipts from the ‘Bank Levy’, a tax on the value of all of the liabilities of the UK banks, is now set to decline every year until 2020.
The cut in the Bank Levy in 2015-16 represented a tax giveaway worth £700m.
And next year this tax break is now set to balloon to £1.1bn, with similar cuts in following years.
To put it another way, what we are seeing is more feather-bedding of fat cats while the rest of the country, particularly the north east, struggles to make ends meet.
The chancellor’s tax giveaway for the big banks is larger even than under George Osborne.
We are seeing such a large hand-out to the biggest banks in our country at a time when we are seeing cuts to our schools, NHS and a funding crisis in our care service.
I believe that is truly shameful.
Theresa May last year inherited from David Cameron an NHS full to bursting point, the social care crisis, a shortage of affordable housing, and a rail network run by overseas bosses. Like Brexit, she appears to have no strategy to tackle the underlying causes.
Government borrowing is, despite successive Tory election boasts, reaching unsustainable levels. The economy will not collapse, but prices for essentials will be upped throughout the year.
The north-south divide on opportunity, investment and income will deepen, and the privatisation of the health service will increase from the current 20 per cent of services offered by private companies. May’s promise to tackle tax-dodgers head on may be dodged.
However, despite the doom and gloom, a Happy New Year to all my constituents.