J. T. Murphy
(Communist Candidate for Central Hackney)

The Rationalisation Budget

Source: Workers’ Life, May 11, 1928
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

[In last week’s WORKERS’ LIFE Comrade Murphy pointed out that Churchill’s Budget was a rationalisation Budget. The “concessions” to the workers were quite illusory.]

(Continued from last week)

NOW let us turn, in considering the Budget, to what the capitalists are doing for themselves (with the co-operation of the Labour Party, of course). First, with regard to the National Debt, which makes a claim on each year’s Budget of not less than £355,000,000. Mr. Churchill has encouraged them to look upon this charge as a standing thing for fifty years and then the whole debt would be paid off. But Mr. Churchill is window dressing, and he knows it. The rate of debt reduction has not proceeded at the rate this calculation indicates. And who can foresee fifty years of “peaceful capitalist expansion”?

Nevertheless certain definite achievements must be acknowledged, achievements which reveal the tremendous financial strength of British capitalism.

“In sundry loans and miscellaneous receipts results from the settlement of Allied Debts and the payment of reparations under the Dawes scheme,” said Churchill, “we observe that they now aggregate £32,000,000, which is not far short of the £32,845,000 to be paid by us to the United States of America in the coming year.” Turning to the Labour Party, he added, “Much credit is due to those who took part in the agreement which rendered the Dawes Plan possible.”

This means that British finance is re-relieved of the American payments, the capitalists having, with the help of the Labour Party, transferred it on to the war victims by means of the Versailles Treaty and the Dawes Plan.

* * *

NEXT comes the great concession to the industrialists. This is called the “rating reform,” by which they are to be relieved of approximately £30,000,000 per annum. This is a nice sized plum on top of what they have been getting as a result of the revaluation of property, which has been going on since 1925, from which it is estimated that the industrialists are getting a relief of not less than £110,000,000 per annum.

Hew is this to be done? First, by a series of block grants to local authorities based upon relief given to the industrialists. This, money is to be raised out of the new petrol tax. which falls most heavily upon the middle classes and the workers.

At the same time a wider political policy is to be pursued by the reorganisation of local authorities. This reorganisation will mean the centralising of certain responsibilities in the County Councils, especially where the Tory Party is strongest and the vested interests of landlords and capitalists are strongest.

This will be done at the expense of the Board of Guardians, which have shown an aptitude for coming under the control of the workers.

* * *

WE are thus faced in this Budget not only with a class attack on the pockets of the workers, and a gift of many millions to the big industrialists, but also a class attack on the political activities of the workers through a greater centralisation of Administrative apparatus and the taking of it away from working-class political pressure.

The Labour Party has already partly swallowed this scheme for the elimination of the Boards of Guardians and is unlikely to offer anything but a sham resistance to the scheme.

Simultaneously with this “grand manœuvre” the Budget proposes to relieve the farmers of local rates on the farm as distinct from his house. This is a great gesture to kill at birth the growth of Labour influence amongst the farmers and to counter any Liberal revival that may be showing itself in the counties. Concessions to farmers, however, have a habit of being translated into concessions to landlords, and there is not the least doubt that this will eventually happen.

At the moment, however, the proposal is a definite political gesture with an eye upon the next election. The Government counts on its Budget of 1928 and 1929 to carry it safely through the next elections.

Certainly both the Liberal Party and the Labour Party will have their work cut out to counter this elaborate programme of the Tory Party, because they will refuse to face the class character of the programme.