Low pay, benefit cuts, tax increases, price rises

The fightback starts now

Cut tax scroungers, not benefits, photo Socialist Party Wales

Cut tax scroungers, not benefits, photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Adam Harmsworth, Coventry Socialist Party

The bosses and the Tories are putting millions of workers through even more hell. The cost of living has soared with inflation rising to 3.2% – following its highest-ever recorded monthly increase. Rent outside London is rising at its fastest pace in thirteen years. Energy prices are about to jump an average of £280 per household. These harsh rises will worry millions of people across the country, not least the estimated 2.4 million who have already faced destitution.

At the same time, the Tories are launching swathes of attacks on lots of different workers. The rise in National Insurance comes along with the end of the furlough scheme, cuts to Universal Credit, an insulting pay offer to NHS workers, and a pay freeze for millions more public sector workers.

The working class are being squeezed from all sides by an unforgiving capitalist class. Millions more ordinary people will be forced to cut back spending, eat into savings, and fall into debt, condemning them to yet more hardship.

And in all this outright theft from working people, the Tories decide to launch a ludicrous ‘Levelling Up’ agenda with a renamed ‘Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ – a name worthy of The Thick Of It! The idea that the Tories will help workers ‘level up’ or raise living standards, while at the same time they take from workers already being robbed by price hikes, is a sick joke.

How do we challenge the agenda of this rotten government and its capitalist backers?

Workers in the health unions have made an excellent start. Members of Unison, GMB and the Royal College of Nursing have all voted with a big majority to reject the 3% pay insult.

This is a crucial moment for the trade union leaderships, not just in the health sector but across the movement. They must begin building a coordinated campaign for industrial action now to force this government back.

The price rises, economic chaos, and sharpened attacks by this government prove that capitalism is in crisis. The unions taking decisive action now would empower the workers’ movement and win big support from youth. It would pave the way for socialist ideas and a political programme to raise living standards: rent controls, mass building of council housing, nationalising the energy companies – a socialist democratic planned economy where all workers get a decent wage and can live without fear of poverty. But first, the trade union leadership must lead the fightback, and show workers that they can win!