|The end of austerity?|
|Or just fallen leaves?|
Do you see the recovery? I see it in the city centre shops, in busy restaurants, in the shiny new cars on the road, and the white vans parked up as yet another trophy home gets a revamp.
Yes there is a recovery, but not a real one. This is a recovery for the lucky few.
I won't believe in it until everything changes.
When I no longer see posts on Facebook from friends who have no money - today - for medicine and heat for a sick child.
When our young people stop leaving. And start coming back.
When there is a social welfare payment for the self employed who lose their businesses.
When I stop hearing desperate people ringing radio stations because they are in excruciating pain with no date for the operation they need, while operating theatres lie empty.
The saddest thing of all is that this crisis could have been an opportunity. A chance to sweep away all the existing bureaucracies, to create a fairer society, with a simpler tax and benefits system - perhaps even the introduction of basic income. Instead there was the usual tinkering around the edges, with increases in some taxes and charges, and reductions in others. Even sensible suggestions were ignored, such as restoring the respite grant to carers, or introducing a vacant sites tax to encourage more house-building. It was a Budget for the business lobby groups with a nod to the next election, though most of us laughed at that.
There was so much more that I wanted to say, but family matters are getting in the way. The Budget could have helped with them too. But it didn't.