Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/625/9552
AS 'NICE' Dave Cameron and 'corporal' Clegg cheerfully announced the immediate slashing of £6 billion in public spending (involving thousands of public sector job losses), the latest employment figures showed that unemployment is now at its highest level since 1994.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of unemployed people increased by 53,000 over the last quarter to reach 2.51 million (8% unemployment rate). The numbers in work fell by 76,000 in the three months to March to 28.9 million, pushing the employment rate to a 13-year low of 72%.
The number of people unemployed for more than 12 months increased by 94,000 over the quarter to reach 757,000, the highest figure since the three months to May 1997 - when the Tories were last in office.
The number of part-time workers, many because they cannot find full-time jobs, has gone over one million. This figure is an all-time record and a 45% increase since the economic recession began two years ago.
THE TORY/LIB Dem coalition government has engaged in some job creation - by appointing 100 new peers! This act won't however dent the unemployment figures as the latest bunch of expenses-grabbing Lords will be the usual mix of former MPs and businessmen.
The new intake of ermine collared wasters is expected to include: Angela Knight, the former Tory MP and head of the British Bankers' Association, Simon Wolfson, the Next chief executive, and Sir Anthony Bamford, the chairman of JCB.
Leading by example
IN AN attempt to inspire the nation into accepting savage cuts in our pay and public services, the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cabinet announced a 5% pay cut from ministerial salaries.
However, PM nice Dave will still receive £142,500 on top of his MP's pay of £64,766. In fact, the total cabinet salary cuts only amount to £181,000 a year.
Meanwhile, many low paid workers will be hard hit by pay freezes (cuts), and a likely rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% before the end of next year.
THE LIB Dems have dealt a heavy blow to their environmentalist supporters by saying they will not oppose the Tories continuing the previous Labour government's plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations.
In their 2010 election manifesto the Lib Dems said that they were opposed to building new nuclear plants, largely on the grounds of costs. They now say they will only abstain when it comes to the vote, providing there is no government subsidy involved.
However, the Tory/Lib Dem coalition agreement says it will move to install a lower limit - or floor price - on carbon allowances that power generator companies have to buy to cover their emissions. This will effectively give a windfall to nuclear suppliers.
In The Socialist 19 May 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party election analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party workplace news