Thursday, 21 Mar 2019

The Guardian view on ending austerity: in rhetoric alone | Editorial

If the Tories want to end austerity, they will have to focus on ending the lived experience of it

When Philip Hammond declared the end of austerity last October, he garnered glowing reviews. Yet in truth he only protected the NHS, defence and international aid from real-terms cuts. With new forecasts, Mr Hammond says he can splurge more. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) thinks the chancellor has £26bn to throw around; enough to ensure other departments do not have to endure flat or falling budgets.

The Guardian welcomes the Tory chancellor’s tone on spending, and the dropping of the absurd narrative that the financial crisis was caused by the moral failings of those too lazy to work. More spending on police is a good thing given the spate of horrific knife attacks. Funding to build 30,000 affordable homes is a crowd-pleaser. In calling for an investigation into the tech giants’ grip on digital advertising and time on gas boilers in homes, Mr Hammond burnished Tory modernising credentials.

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