Sunday 19 September 2010

‘Neither necessary nor inevitable’ – Organise to fight the cuts !

The Government are wielding their spending axe to chop our pensions, jobs and public services. Con-Dem ministers – along with many local council leaders – argue that they have no choice but to cut. It’s just not true.

These cuts will destroy livelihoods and the life of local communities. They will make the economy worse, not better. That’s why unions, staff and the public must say: ‘There IS a choice’ and demand ‘NO CUTS – DEFEND PUBLIC SERVICES’.

Making the deficit worse
“The government [wants to] cut expenditure. If the rest of the economy reacts by ‘tightening belts’, not shopping, cutting investment, laying off staff, then we wave goodbye to ‘balancing the budget’. Tax revenues fall and benefits rise. And the deficit will worsen.” (Economist Ann Pettifor in the NUT’s ‘The Teacher’ )

The Lessons of Ireland
You only have to look to Ireland – where the Irish TUC failed to stand firm against cuts – to see these harsh economic truths. “The massive cuts in spending and pay have increased unemployment and sapped demand, causing the economy to shrink further. Ireland is now considered more at risk of default than before it started making cuts”.(From the PCS pamphlet – ‘There is an Alternative’)

Create jobs – don’t destroy them
The Government’s own ‘Office for Budget Responsibility’ has predicted that their budget cuts will lead to 1.3 million job losses, including 700,000 private sector jobs that are directly or indirectly dependent on the public sector. That means more misery, less tax revenue and more having to be spent on benefits. Instead, we should invest in what society needs – like decent housing, smaller class sizes and tackling climate change.

Paying the bankers’ gambling debts
This crisis hasn’t been caused by excessive public spending. Far from it. Britain’s public expenditure has been much lower than in many other major European countries like Germany and France –and it often shows! But in 2008/9 Treasury spending shot up to £109 billion – to bail out the banks of course. Why should we have to pay the banksters’ debts?

We’re all in this Together?
“If we’re all in the same boat, then it’s like the Titanic – only the first-class passengers will make it to the lifeboats”. (Speaker at the NSSN Lobby of the TUC). While our pay and pensions are attacked, bankers are still earning huge bonuses. The rate of corporation tax on profits is only about half of what it was in the 1970’s. It was this transfer of wealth from our pockets to the super-rich that slashed the market and caused the crisis in the first place.

Close the £120 billion tax gap
We should be taxing the wealthy to help fund our services. But billions could be saved just by collecting the tax that is already due! “£25 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance and a further £70billion in tax evasion by large companies and wealthy individuals. An additional £26 billion is going uncollected. The total annual tax gap [is therefore estimated] at over £120 billion (more than three-quarters of the annual deficit!)” (PCS ‘There is an Alternative’)

Let’s Remind Nick Clegg about Trident
The 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto pledged opposition to the “like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, which could cost £100 billion”. I agree with Nick.

An Excuse to privatise Public Services
25% cuts will devastate vital services like education, health and social services. But the Government are also using the crisis to turn over schools, hospitals and the Post Office to the profiteers that created this mess in this first place. That has nothing to do with solving economic crisis but everything to do with an ideological attack on our public services.

If they won’t invest – take the banks off their hands

The short-sighted profiteering of the world’s financiers was to blame for this crisis. But now, instead of investing for recovery, they’re hanging on to their cash. Why – because their profit margins might not be big enough. Why should they be allowed to ruin the economy again? The wealth of the banks and big corporations should be used for society’s benefit.

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