CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

May gets an easy ride from the press – but who pays?

16 March, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May

ONE moment national insurance tax for the self-employed goes up. The next, Mrs May says sorry – and the tax rise is off.

Balancing the budget seems a lost art.

It certainly doesn’t seem to matter to Mrs May that she will not be able to pay for all her mixed promises without greater tax collection.

Rational planning of the economy – even at the crudest level – seems of little importance.

But Mrs May doesn’t need to be anxious. She is getting the easiest ride from press and TV any prime minister has had for decades.

She and her cabinet cite facts and figures about the state of the National Health Service which at one time could be said to have been made up on the hoof but are now part of the political parlance.

Demonised and monstered is Jeremy Corbyn (above).

He is not responsible for the atrocious mistakes now being made by the govern­ment but who gets the bad press – Corbyn or May?

To some extent he is slow out of the traps.

He should have pulled the Spring Budget to pieces but made a predictable, almost cliché-ridden speech, leaving it to Conservative rebels to force Mrs May to do a U-turn on insurance tax.

And who pays the price locally?

Historically, there has been something approaching an appropriate supply of funds from the government to the Town Hall – but this is now threadbare and barely at a sustainable level.

Austerity is now beginning to feed through into the economy. Among the victims are small businesses and the self-employed who have “escaped” into self-employment and “entrepreneurship” because there are so few real jobs about.

The government manipulates statistics to create the impression of a fuller level of employment but behind this are hidden the real figures of under-employment.

A double whammy for Camden is the coming HS2 which will create traffic havoc for years.

Financiers behind the massive Euston redevelopment – the crown jewels in the whole scheme – will pull off a coup in dividend terms. Investment funds from footloose capital, probably of Chinese origin, will flow into Euston.

The damaging impact on local life seems of little consequence to the politicians, planners, and money men.

But is it too late to act?

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