Hindsight is a wonderful thing, particularly when coupled with a massive agenda and a newspaper to publish.
Yes, George Osborne – the former Chancellor responsible for an austerity programme that has been wrecking public services, squeezing households and ruining people’s lives since 2010 – seems to have finally discovered the effects of his policy on the front page of the newspaper he now edits.
The Evening Standard splashes on the continued pain of wage stagnation:
By the Austerity Chancellor pic.twitter.com/OIxJ6fxkM3
— steve hawkes (@steve_hawkes) October 18, 2017
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) October 18, 2017
With the clever “Brexit” branding, Osborne is trying to trick readers into thinking the ever-tightening squeeze on people’s wages as the cost-of-living rises is all due to the policies pursued by his former cabinet nemesis Theresa May.
In reality, Britain has been feeling the effects of weak growth and a fall in wages in real terms for years – including during Osborne’s time at the Treasury. Prices rose faster than wages throughout his six years as Chancellor. And the public sector pay freeze is his policy. Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, with annual rises since 2012 capped at 1 per cent. With a few tweaks here and there, May’s Chancellor Philip Hammond has continued this policy.
While your mole is concerned about what Brexit is already doing to people’s finances, it really wishes Osborne had noticed that wage stagnation was a problem earlier.