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John Palmer

Budget aids rich, soaks the workers

(19 April 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 118, 19 April 1969, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

WITH THE BROKERS from the central banks looking over his shoulder, Mr Roy Jenkins took a few more swipes at working-class living standards in his Budget.

The effect of the tax changes he announced will be to take some £300m purchasing power out of the economy. The price of this will be unemployment for thousands more workers and increased prices in the shops.

And the government have clearly shown that they will not be deterred by pleas from the TUC leaders from introducing anti-strike laws at the earliest opportunity.


It is clear that Mr Wilson and his banker masters place the greatest importance on these laws. It was the offering he made to them in order to get continued support for sterling now that his devaluation strategy is failing to produce a balance of payments surplus.

The few sweeties in the Budget are no more than an insult to the men and women who put Mr Jenkins in his plush job.

Old age pensioners are to get a few shillings more, but this rise will totally disappear when the price increases which will result from the higher selective employment tax and corporation tax are added to those which have been introduced in the shops in recent months.


At the other end of the scale, the government have handed out substantial prizes to the rich. In future the rich will not have to pay capital gains tax on the profits they make by buying and selling government stocks.

And they will also be able to export even more capital out of the country to buy shares on foreign stock exchanges.

Although the outflow of capital has had a much greater impact on the balance of payments than the strikes which so infuriate Jenkins, the Chancellor reserved all his venom for the working man’s attempt keep pace with the rising cost of living. No wonder the top-hatted Gerald Nabarro and the Tory opposition could afford to smile and welcome large parts of the Budget.


The measures announced this week are not the end of the story. Mr Jenkins has given clear hints that substantial national insurance deductions are on the way.

The deductions are not just to pay for the pensions increase. The government have decided to stop subsidising the national insurance fund out of general taxation.

This can only mean that a big wage cut is being planned for the autumn. Trade unionists will remember this when the government introduces its anti-strike plans this summer.

Having put the labour movement in an economic straitjacket, the government is now preparing a lock and key.

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Last updated: 18 January 2020