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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 December 2012

Kick out the cuts coalition

RMT protest July 2012, photo Paul Mattsson

RMT protest July 2012, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

When Tory Chancellor George Osborne presented his Autumn Budget Statement what he served up wasn't so much a speech as a load of lies spun together with well-rehearsed anti-working class hoopla. The Socialist unravels some of the Con-Dems' claims.

Lie #1: "The economy is healing"

With regard to the deficit, former member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee David Blanchflower explained: "the part-time Chancellor had fiddled the size of the deficit by accounting tricks". Behind Osborne's sleight of hand is 'growth' forecast cut from 0.8% to a contraction of 0.1%, and lower forecasts for future years too.

With trade and industry figures down now, instead of growing the economy is shrinking. What gets called a triple-dip recession is more like a constant bumping along the bottom.

Lie #2: The government is taking measures so "it always pays to work"

Research from the TUC shows that over the last 30 years, as pro-big business governments have legislated in the interest of the super-rich, the share of national income going to wages has fallen. Workers on the median income are now 7,000 a year worse off in real terms.

'Making work pay' requires a living minimum wage rate of at least 10 an hour and investment in a massive programme of socially useful public works to create jobs. Instead the Tory/Lib Dem coalition enforce workfare slavery on the unemployed. They limit most working-age benefits to a 1% rise for three years, breaking the link with inflation, condemning millions to misery - driving the living conditions of those who can't work, or can't find work, or enough work, into the dirt.

Lie #3: "We're all in this together"

Where's the cap on rents? Or on energy and food price prices? And, if industrial-scale tax dodging, price hiking and wage cutting hasn't netted sufficiently obscene takings for the super-rich, Osborne has gifted them a cut in the rate of corporation tax - making it one of the lowest of the world's main economies.

800 billion is lying idle in the bank vaults of the big corporations. While benefit claimants face cruel, destitution-threatening sanctions, big business refuses to spend these cash piles on investing in jobs and services, because it sees no easy way to make a profit.

Lie #4: "There is no alternative"

Osborne says cuts may be painful but there's no other 'road to recovery'. This lie is compounded by the Labour so-called opposition confirming that they will maintain pay freezes and other cuts. But there is an alternative.

A socialist government would, for example, reverse the decades of corporation tax cuts and impose a 50% tax levy on big business's hoarded billions.

It would nationalise the tax-dodging privatised profiteering utilities and banking system under democratic popular control and use the resources to fund massive investment in decent jobs and public services. That could be just a start.

So don't just get angry with Osborne and Co. Get organised. Get socialist.

On Tuesday 11 December workers and trade union members responded to the National Shop Steward Network's call to lobby the TUC general council. They demanded a date for a 24-hour general strike in the first part of 2013. The general council agreed to send out a consultation to all affiliates.

Across England and Wales many workers and anti-cuts campaigners back this campaign. As we go to press there is a report from Knowsley where a packed 100-strong emergency meeting of the local government Unison branch voted unanimously for a motion calling for a 24-hour general strike.

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In The Socialist 12 December 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out the cuts coalition

Prepare to resist austerity in 2013

Gove goes to war on teachers' pay

Fracking - gas profit dash could wreck climate

Merry Christmas from Starbucks

Them & Us

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

NHS in crisis

Hands off our NHS!

International socialist news and analysis

South African miners' struggle

Mass protests in Egypt against Mursi and his reactionary constitution

Kazakhstan: Free Vadim Kuramshin!

Sri Lanka: Solidarity with Jaffna students

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Women plan campaigning for 2013

Protesting against council cuts

Brixton byelection, south London: We want a candidate we can count on

A very Them & Us Christmas quiz

Great offers from Socialist Books

Socialist Party workplace news

Tesco drivers successfully blockade distribution centre

Striking against 'mock Ofsteds'

Bristol postal workers fight bullying

Blacklisting: 'we will fight for justice in every way'

Workplace news in brief

Readers' comments

Austerity UK: 'I want to live, not just exist'

Workers will fight austerity


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