This seemed rather early for midweek religious devotion and I racked my brains to see if I could recall the significance of 20 October in the Christian calendar. I couldn’t think of one and so I asked, to be told that it was an inter-church service of prayer ahead of Axe Wednesday.
The pastor and his colleagues were genuinely concerned about the impact would have on the elderly, the young and the people who might well find themselves out of a job, not to mention the future of the country as a whole. I suspect that their prayers weren’t answered.
I’m no economist, but 500,000 public sector workers out of a job is half a million people who won’t be spending on the High Street or paying taxes. It’s all very well saying the private sector will create the jobs to soak up the jobless, but there hasn’t been much sign of that in recent years.
And what about the people who work for companies that depend on public sector contracts? These are often small businesses with regular work from their local council or NHS and you can probably add more of their redundant employees to add to the queue for as yet non-existent private sector jobs.
To make matters worse, they have also enlarged the workforce pool by pushing up the retirement age to 66 for both men and women, or rather the age at which they can expect a state pension. Presumably that means they can also claim Jobseekers Allowance for that much longer.
And what about the political schizophrenia? Tory backbenchers cheering Ken Clarke’s plans to release prisoners early, not to mention increasing overseas aid by more than is saved from the defence cuts. Meanwhile we have Ed Miliband and co rallying in support of the middle classes. Anyone remember the DC Comic Bizarro World? That’s where our topsy-turvy politicos seem to be headed.
I could go on, but there are much better informed website than this one to give you the detail. It seems to me though that this is a massive economic gamble. If it works, then hats off to the coalition, but if it fails then the country will go bust. It’s all or nothing.