Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1124/32140

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 March 2021

Editorial of the Socialist issue 1124

Tories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Photo: Andrew Parsons,10 Downing Street/CC

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Photo: Andrew Parsons,10 Downing Street/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Reading the headlines about Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget, some working-class people may have let out a small sigh of relief that at least the furlough scheme and the 20 increase in Universal Credit are continuing for a few more months. Others will have been furious, like the three-fifths of self-employed people denied furlough who are still left without a penny.

The Tories were undoubtedly hoping that Sunak's announcement - that in two years' time corporation tax for companies making more than 250,000 profit will be raised from 19% to 25% - might create the illusion that they intend to make big business pay for the Covid crisis.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth, as was starkly demonstrated just a day later. The announcement that health workers will be offered a measly 1% pay rise - effectively a pay cut given expected inflation - comes on top of the pay freeze for other public sector workers.

The Tories cynically call health workers and other key workers heroes, and then continue to kick them in the teeth. There is an urgent need for the trade union movement to organise a serious struggle to break the public sector pay freeze and to support health workers' demand for a 15% pay rise.

Tories protect profit

Government spending during the Covid crisis has been enormous. Including the amounts announced in the budget, it is now predicted to reach 340 billion, or 12,400 per household. The Tories priority, however, has not been to protect the lives and livelihoods of the population, but to limit the damage to profits and the capitalist system as a whole.

Britain has one of the highest death rates from Covid in the world, and the worst economic crisis of the major G7 economies, yet the wealth of Britain's billionaires increased by more than a third. Now, in the aftermath of the Covid crisis, it will be working-class people who are told to tighten their belts.

The announced corporation tax increase is still two years in the future. While it would undo the last decade of Tory cuts to corporation tax, it would still leave Britain's rate lower than all but one of the G7 economies. And, in reality, far from taking money from the super-rich to assist the majority, the budget's announcement of a 'super-deduction tax incentive policy' is doing the opposite. It is trying to bribe the capitalist class to carry out their historic role of investing in developing industry. Businesses are being offered the right to claim 130% tax relief for any capital expenditure on plant and machinery.

This, however, will have a very limited effect. Prior to the pandemic, levels of investment were at an historic low, despite already being able to deduct 100% of investment from their taxable profits, and sitting on huge piles of cash. By the end of June 2020, the cash reserves of UK private non-financial corporations had ballooned even further, to almost 900 billion, equivalent to 40% of GDP. An incredible 118 billion of that was built up during the pandemic!

In the past, despite many horrors, capitalism at least drove society forward by developing the means of production. Today, the sickness of the system is summed up by a failure to invest because it is not profitable enough to do so.

Every aspect of the crisis of British capitalism has been heightened by the Covid crisis. The Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) economic projections that accompanied the budget make grim reading. The news headlines reported that they now expect a slightly faster recovery than previously, but they still estimate it taking until the middle of 2022 for the economy to get back to pre-Covid output levels.

More importantly, they expect no real recovery for millions of working-class people. The OBR predicts that, even when the economy 'recovers', incomes will continue to decline. In 2024, it expects real earnings to still be 4.3% below where they were forecast pre-crisis, equal to 1,200 a year. This, as the Resolution Foundation puts it, "comes on the back of a truly dreadful past decade for earnings growth."

While millions suffer continued wage restraint, others will be thrown onto the dole queue. The OBR expects unemployment to reach 6.5% in the last quarter of this year after the furlough ends, and to remain at a higher level for years. And, just as unemployment surges, the government has pledged to cut 20 a week from Universal Credit payments. The poorest households in Britain, already facing destitution, will have a further 7% fall in their income in the second half of this year. Overall, benefits will be reduced to the lowest level in thirty years.

Sunak barely mentioned public services in the budget, but that is because he knew that the truth would provoke outrage. The pandemic has shown clearly the need for a massive expansion in the NHS and other public services. Instead, the Tories are planning more austerity. After a decade of slashing public spending, proposed day-to-day public spending was cut by 12 billion in the autumn spending review, and by a further 4 billion in the budget.

Budget for the bosses

Sunak's budget was a budget for the bosses. For the millions of working-class people rightly frightened by what their future holds, there is only one alternative: get organised and fightback. Like the British Gas workers still striking against being 'fired and rehired' on worst terms and conditions, having overwhelmingly rejected the company's 'offer', workers across Britain are going to be facing increasingly brutal attacks from their employers.

The trade union leaders need to prepare to coordinate a fightback. At the same time, it is clear that the working class needs its own political voice that stands for a socialist alternative to capitalism. In the run-up to the budget Starmer again showed that he was only interested in fighting for the interests of the capitalist class - even opposing modest increases in corporation tax - rather than fighting for a socialist alternative.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 10 March 2021:


NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

NHS workers say: We are ready to fight Tory pay insult

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


News

Super-deduction will help big business pay less tax

The 'old normal' meant poverty for young people


What we think

Tories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services


Schools

Workers respond to 'back to school'


Workplace news

British Gas strikers reject deal and carry on fighting

Goodlord striker speaks out: 'workers have to fight for our skills to be appreciated'

Stop union busting on the buses: Reinstate Declan Clune and Moe Muhsin Manir

Sparks deskilling protests

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

PCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay

Manchester bus drivers' indefinite strikers fight on

London bus drivers continue walkout


Rosa Luxemburg

150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's birth


Wealth Tax

Would a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?


Campaigns news

Socialist women speak at inspirational International Women's Day online rally

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Build subscriptions to the Socialist

Fighting fund target achieved - keep up the momentum


International news

Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

10 years ago - the Fukushima nuclear disaster: "We came close to losing northern Japan"


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 March 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Budget:

triangleHands off our NHS

triangleRich pickings for private companies - peanuts for health workers

triangleWe need a fighting strategy to win funding from the government - why I'm standing for TUSC

triangleTories keep bailing out bosses, while piling the pain on workers and public services

triangleLabour surrenders to Tories in Devon

Workers:

triangleDefend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleSt Mungo's strikers fight on

triangleGo Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

Tories:

triangleCladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again

triangleProtesting works - Unite to defend the right to protest

triangleLiverpool hustings - only TUSC has a strategy to take on the Tories

Public services:

triangleSave our square: we need social housing and public services

triangleMay elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Pay:

triangleNottingham NHS pay protest

Covid:

triangleCovid, capitalism and mental health

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

5/5/21

Women

New law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse

5/5/21

Housing

Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again

5/5/21

Cuts

Fight the rotten establishment

5/5/21

Sleaze

Capitalist sleaze and cronyism

5/5/21

Local government

Can the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?

5/5/21

NHS

Hands off our NHS

5/5/21

Mental health

Covid, capitalism and mental health

29/4/21

SWP

Socialists and elections - a response to the SWP

28/4/21

Elections

What councils can do to protect the environment

28/4/21

Welfare state

Poverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?

28/4/21

Post Office

39 'postmasters' cleared - now clear the rest

28/4/21

TUSC

Vote TUSC to oppose sleazy capitalism

28/4/21

NHS

Private sector is stealing the NHS

28/4/21

Football

No trust in billionaire football owners - kick them out and reclaim the game

28/4/21

Tenants

Generation eviction

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999