Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/741/15636
Hull: Socialist policies needed for a real recovery
Matt Whale, Hull Socialist Party
The recent announcement that we're out of recession is laughable for most people. The reported 1% growth must be a misprint as the only growth working class people can see is in the income of the 1%!
The government's annihilation of public services continues. The claim made by the Con-Dems and their backers in big business that the private sector will pick up the slack is simply untrue, especially for workers in Hull and the surrounding areas.
The BAE plant at Brough faces closure with over 900 jobs going. The caravan industry has shed hundreds of jobs in the past year or so.
The Seven Seas factory, in the city for over 80 years, is facing closure with a reported 250 jobs to go.
The McCain foods plant is to axe 50 jobs. The Kimberly-Clark factory is to be closed with 500 workers facing the prospect of unemployment.
Kimberly-Clark opened the factory, which makes Huggies nappies, 20 years ago following a £12 million grant.
The American owners have cited an unfavourable exchange rate and greater competition as the reasons for the closure.
So the company made big profits as a result of a grant and is now going to leave hundreds of people without a future.
Hull Socialist Party says return the grant to the workers, with interest, and let them invest the money in the plant.
Earlier this year 284 people were made redundant when Hull-based Comet closed its call centre. Now the firm is in administration, which could lead to another 200 job cuts locally and 6,500 nationally.
Whistling in the wind?
The one 'hope' from the private sector is investment by Siemens in the Humber region as a centre of renewable energy.
But there are rumours of the council looking to 'sweeten' the deal. Surely if the money's there to hand out grants to 'encourage' businesses to invest in Hull then the money is there to invest in public services?
£99 million pounds, 300 beds and ten wards, are to go from the local NHS trust and a reported £100 million is being cut over the next three years by the council. But not one local MP has spoken out against these cuts.
However, the Labour council was elected on an anti-cuts, no compulsory redundancies promise. But council leader Steve Brady has stated that Hull 'won't do a Liverpool' - ie defy the cuts and invest in the communities in the city.
However, a group of councillors within the Labour group has come out and said they will not vote for the cuts. Four spoke at a recent joint trade union lobby of the council.
As with the 1983-87 Liverpool council, we could see major concessions if the rest of the Labour group took the same line.
But if the other Labour Party councillors aren't prepared to fight, then they should move aside and allow real anti-cuts representatives to take their place.
Instead of relying on multinational corporations, the Socialist Party calls on the local council to fight every cut in the public sector and to campaign for huge investment in public works in the city.
Big business has £800 billion locked in its vaults. Instead of 'enticing' them with more cash, a 50% levy should be put on this fortune.
That money, along with stopping the annual tax avoidance of £130 billion, could create jobs and stop all cuts in Hull and nationwide.
In The Socialist 7 November 2012: