|Last Friday, Britain’s first black Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced the controversial mini budget; bringing about the biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years. Highlights include abolishing the 45% higher rate of income tax for those earning over £150,000, a freeze on corporation tax increases and a scrapping of rules to limit bankers’ bonuses.
The intention is to bring about a trickle-down effect that will stimulate the UK economy, although critics have argued that it will only benefit the richest in society and will do little to alleviate the cost of living crisis that is disproportionately affecting lower earners. Both the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and the opposition Labour party heavily criticised the budget.
Labour’s response has seen pledges to establish a publicly owned energy company (Great British Energy) to help the UK reap the economic benefit from the boom in renewable energy, and a commitment to reintroduce the higher rate of income tax if elected.
|This major news has been somewhat overshadowed by leaked audio from Rupa Huq describing the Chancellor as only “superficially a black man” in response to both his privileged upbringing and his political leanings. The comment was immediately criticised by Keir Starmer, and Rupa Huq, of Bangladeshi British heritage herself, has since apologised.
The whole episode highlights the need for people to think beyond simple eye tests when approaching diversity and look at intersectional factors that can influence a person’s experience, way of thinking and power (class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc). Only then will the standard promise to “seek out and complete anti-racism and bias training”, that Huq and others say after the event, carry weight.
Huq has been suspended from the Labour Party after much social media outrage, and we must re-centre our attention. The mini budget serves predominantly the richest 5% of the UK when we should be focusing on those struggling to heat their homes this winter.