Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Taxes, Tampons and Trainee Nurses.

Looking at the Autumn statement it's typical Osborne, highly political and hoping for positive headlines.

The fact that Working Families Tax Credits will remain is some help to working families. Credit goes to MPs and Peers who opposed this measure.

The changes in adult education stood out for me. The plan is to introduce adult learner loans for 19 year olds who want to return to education but need to study access qualifications before University. This may be a barrier to some before they take the first step towards a new career.

The other big change in education funding was the end to government funding of Nursing degrees. Trainee nurses, serving our NHS will now have to pay for the privilege and start their career in debt. At a time when we face a shortage of Nurses these two changes will do nothing to help.

The final change borders on victim blaming: Campaigners have been calling for an end to the 'tampon tax' - VAT levied on these products. This taxation will be to offset cuts to services to rape crisis and domestic abuse centres. I'm pretty sure this plan was dreamed up by a man and discussed in a room full of men. The thought processes that led to this are disgraceful "Women use tampons... Women use women's charities..." This sort of thinking makes me ashamed to be a man.

The briefings to the press before the Autumn Statement were designed to convince us that things could be really, really awful. Then when the statement itself is slightly less bad the public supposed to be relieved.

I'm not relieved, more concerned that we have got more budgets and more statements to come before we get another chance to vote the Conservatives out of office.

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