Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/685/12764
The combined effects of the capitalist recession, wage and benefit cuts, tax increases, job losses and other government austerity measures have hammered UK living standards.
In a recent report the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is predicting a 3.5% fall in typical household income in the year to April, the largest drop since 1981 - ie since the darkest days of the recession engineered by the then Tory Thatcher government.
The report says: "Previous IFS research has already shown that the decline in average living standards looks set to continue until at least 2013-14. Taken together, this would mean that the UK had experienced one of the worst decades for changes in living standards since at least the Second World War. The Great Recession thus looks set to cast a very long shadow."
Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, admitted earlier in the year that the drop in living standards would be the worst in a generation.
The Trades Union Congress has published a study showing that working families will see their living standards fall by more than £4,600 by 2013 as below inflation wages, benefit cuts and public spending cuts turn the screw on households.
At the demonstration against the racists and hooligan English Defence League (EDL) in east London on 3 September, a number of journalists were targeted for attack by EDL members.
Journalists and photographers were threatened and harassed and some were physically assaulted. Shockingly, one photographer was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire.
The National Union of Journalists is defending its members who were attacked and is campaigning against this attempt to prevent the exposure of the violent and racist nature of many of the EDL's members and followers.
The largest shopping mall in Europe opened its doors to much fanfare this week. The Westfield Stratford City mall at the entrance to the 2012 Olympic site in east London boasts hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. However, Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium was less than sanguine about its opening in the current economic climate: "Any retailer or developer would want to be able to choose a time to open, and we wouldn't choose the conditions we have now."
He added: "Consumer confidence is very weak. Our own figures for August showed that spending was only 1.5% higher than in August a year ago, but that is less than inflation and we've had a VAT rise. People bought less stuff this year than a year ago. And all the indicators are that people feel their own costs are rising."
In The Socialist 14 September 2011:
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party youth and students
Stop attacks on pensions
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party reports and campaigns