Osborne’s savage cuts…
No return to the 1930s
- For a huge national anti-austerity demonstration
- Unions must prepare for mass coordinated industrial action
The Tories plan to send us back to the 1930s. The Office for Budget Responsibility said public spending levels will be thrown back 80 years if Osborne’s Autumn Statement plans are implemented. Politicians say we must all take cuts in our living standards and downgrade what we expect from public services.
But austerity doesn’t stretch to everyone. The House of Lords rejected a plan to save money by merging catering services with the Commons. Why? Because they “feared the quality of champagne would not be as good”! The House of Lords spends £1.3 million a year on catering. In four years it bought 17,000 bottles of champagne costing £265,770.
So when you can’t pay your bills because your real income has been cut year after year, or if Christmas makes your debts unmanageable, comfort yourself by knowing that the Lords will still have good champers to drink at your expense.
Last year the wealth of Britain’s richest thousand people rose £68 billion. That’s more than the amount the Tories plan to cut from public spending. ‘Austerity’ is a class war, pursued for the super-rich by their paid servants – the main political parties.
The chancellor’s autumn statement cut tax on the oil companies’ profits, costing us £470 million over the next parliament. Is it coincidence that the oil industry has given the Tories £2.5 million in donations since 2010?
Despite its protestations, Labour would make the same cuts, but slightly slower. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: “There will be cuts under Labour. I do not just want the current budget back into balance, I want it back into surplus… as soon as possible in the next parliament.”
In recent years we have seen a massive squeeze on working class people’s living standards. Benefits, wages, job security and guaranteed hours of work, as well as the NHS and other public services have been hammered.
But this is nothing compared with what is to come. 1930s levels of services would take us back to the days before the NHS, before the welfare state. We are now in the fight of our lives to defend these gains.
We can’t wait until the general election to start that fight. The union leaders should immediately meet to organise action – starting with a mass demonstration as soon as possible in the New Year to defend the NHS, the welfare state and all our public services. Plans for a one day general strike should be drawn up to show whatever government comes to power in May that we will not tolerate this devastation.
But we also need a mass political party of our own, one that will fight for the alternative to austerity. This is why we support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition standing in next year’s elections to show that a socialist alternative is possible.