Austerity is far more than just cuts. It’s about privatising everything we own | Aditya Chakrabortty

Desperate for short-term cash, George Osborne is causing long-term damage by selling off Britain’s most prized assets. ‘Everything must go’ is now public policy

Almost everyone who gives the matter serious thought agrees that George Osborne and David Cameron want to reshape Britain. The spending cuts, the upending of the NHS, even this month’s near-miss over the BBC: signs lie everywhere of how this will be a decade, maybe more, of massive change. Yet even now it is little understood just how far Britain might shift – and in which direction.

Take austerity, the word that will define this government. Even its most astute critics commit two basic errors. The first is to assume that it boils down to spending cuts and tax rises. The second is to believe that all this is meant to reduce how much the country is borrowing. What such commonplaces do is reduce austerity to a technical, reversible project. Were it really so simple all we would need to do is turn the spending taps back on and wash away all traces of Osbornomics.

Related: Privatisation isn’t working. It’s time for a public service users bill | Cat Hobbs

Related: Why do the Tories want to hide who owns our country’s land? | Charles Arthur

Continue reading…

Only a fraction of UK job ads offer flexibility, study finds

Little progress made despite warnings to employers facing skills shortages that they are failing to tap into large pool of talent

Less than 9% of vacancies for decently paid jobs in the UK offer flexible working, according to research that claims the lack of such options is keeping millions of people in dead-end jobs or shut out from the labour market.

Analysis of more than 5m job adverts found little progress in the past year on offering more flexible options to jobseekers, despite warnings to employers who face skills shortages that they are failing to tap into a large pool of potential workers.

Continue reading…

Britain’s destiny in a struggling European Union | Letters

Larry Elliott (Brexit may be the best answer to a dying eurozone, 19 May) paints a grim picture of the European future in making a case for Brexit. But he fails to explain how the UK leaving the EU will help us, or the wider continent. The UK, by virtue of geography and its economic and political structures, is fully impacted by whatever happens in Europe.

Related: Brexit may be the best answer to a dying eurozone | Larry Elliott

Continue reading…