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    Tory Policy to Change Way to Consider Role of State - Political Commentator

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    Philip Hammond used his budget on Monday to say that austerity was coming to an end, but Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell has rejected his claims, saying more welfare cuts were coming and spending was still being squeezed. Sputnik spoke to the Political Commentator and Founder of Indycube Mark Hooper about it.

    Sputnik: An analysis from the resolution foundation has found that income tax cuts for millions of workers announced in Philip Hammond's budget will "overwhelmingly benefit richer households", with half of these tax cuts benefiting the top 10% of households. How significant is this?

    Mark Hooper: I don't think this should be a surprise for anybody to be honest with you. You had the Chancellor talk about the ‘end to austerity' but in reality we're doing is more of the same and we're seeing people who are struggling the most in Britain today being left most at risk from poverty. We talk about relative poverty but we've got real endemic poverty in some of our communities and this just makes it worse.

    Sputnik: On the back of yesterday's budget being announced, Hammond announced that austerity is over… is this true and is the contents of this year's budget reflective of this?

    Mark Hooper: Somebody said to me today that austerity would only be finished when the people who are suffering the most say it's finished — but I think it's more than that. We've got a situation where the public sector has been culled so dramatically over the last number of years it will not recover unless it has a serious change of fortunes or a change of money that goes into it but there's an even more critical thing about this; this is a tory policy to completely change the way that we consider the role of the state and the state has just been decimated. There's a big change ahead, im not sure if even Labour or any politician get the scope of the change at the moment that is needed but it's a long way from the end of austerity.

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    Sputnik: On the subject of the role of the state, in particular welfare, the chancellor insisted that the controversial universal credit scheme would be here to stay. What does this mean for individuals claiming welfare under the scheme?

    Mark Hooper: So universal credit is failing people, its causing people damage, we work with people who are self-employed and if you want to move off benefits and start your own business the Chancellor gave nothing to make that easier with universal credit. We [Britain] are keeping in place a program which will cause increased poverty and won't solve poverty. I have no trust in the things the Chancellor put in place yesterday to support people with universal credit so no I don't think we will see a difference as a result of that; and he had a chance to as well. When we started this interview we knew what he did with the money that has been forecast to come through, he's given to the richest in society rather than those people in need. 

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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