This is Class War!

Speech to Coalition of Resistance, Scunthorpe, 20th January.

This is Class War!

What’s happening right now is class warfare.

The Con-Dem coalition is using the excuse of the deficit to wage war on ordinary people in this country using just about every means at their disposal.

This class war will cost lives. The question is how many. And as for quality of life, the cuts will mark a downturn for countless millions across the country.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the biggest losers from these cuts are the poorest 10% of families with children…

Last month we saw the horrendous u-turn on tuition fees by the Lib Dems. This means many fees will go up threefold, many to £9000 a year. For students now, by the time they pay it off, the total debt could be £50,000! – A mortgage for going to university!

While Osborne, Cameron and Clegg slash the NHS, abolish EMA and impoverish the poorer – the rich fat cats get fatter and greedier.

And then there’s the NHS reform bill… This will mean 24,500 jobs lost in a so-called “patient-centred” shake-up. This Bill is a disaster of “Titanic proportions” that will “destabilise the NHS… ”

If you analyse the 367 page Health and Social Care Bill using a word search: Consultant is mentioned 0 times, Nurse 0, Accountability 3, GP 2, Patient 79, Privatization 0, and Consortium 623 times!

Meanwhile the chief executive of the NHS is warning of the dangers of allowing hospitals to compete on price!! (not realizing it’s government policy, by the way) AND admits the UK is short of 4,500 midwives.

This Bill “threatens to sink the NHS  – and the only survivors will be the private health companies circling like sharks, waiting to move in and make a killing.”

But what precisely should we expect from a cabinet of millionaires – led by millionaire PR man Cameron, and millionaire Clegg, the son of a banker?

And we must really ask, is Labour the answer? How can they convince us, when Labour brought in tuition fees, privatized whatever healthcare they could, crafted PFI schemes and PPPs, pioneered academies, the privatisation of the Royal Mail, continued the deregulation of the banks and presided over the greatest inequality in Britain since the second world war.

One Million Jobs

The harm to the economy we can already see in the 3.7% inflation rate (CPI)(4.8% for RPI), let alone the impact of the likely one million job losses – half a million from the public sector and half a million more in knock-on effects on private firms.

In HULL we face a 8.9% budget cut – the worst hit authority in Yorkshire & the Humber. Hull Unison is telling us that Hull will suffer,  not just the council’s claimed £50M cuts, but in reality the effect of £80M cuts this year – by the end of March – with another £25M, minimum, in the next financial year. But Hull’s libraries are safe – according to LibDem Council Leader Carl Minns.

Hull City Council will definitely lose 1400 jobs as compulsory redundancies – this Carl Minns admits to – plus another 300 he doesn’t, and possibly up to 500 more to come. This means Hull Council is likely to lose 1 in 4 jobs – and possibly as many as 1 in 3 when we see next year’s cuts take their toll.

The cuts that Humberside Fire Service are forced to make will literally mean cutting one fire fighter from every engine. – Were those firefighters there for fun??? How many lives will this cost?

One Month Before Heartbreak

For disabled people across the country we are now “One Month Before Heartbreak”. The cuts to DLA will affect 80,000 disabled people and their mobility and independence. These cuts are “really nasty” and are “a blow against social inclusion” – and they are likely to drive some over the brink.

Incapacity Benefit claimants are NOT to blame for the deficit!

This targeting of the disabled in residential homes by the attack on DLA benefit will be devastating. It will mean virtual house arrest for people in residential homes and for all those disabled with high rate DLA mobility.

All this to save George Osborne a mere £135 million a year!

False Economies

These are False Economies that will harm the economy itself as well as society. They talk about bringing benefit costs down but when they lay thousands upon thousands off – making them poorer and requiring benefits –  this will not work, even in their own terms!

The Capitalist Model has proved itself not fit for purpose. We should be investing for the future so we don’t go back to business as usual – or banking “as usual”. Our ideas on economy must change to move on to an ecologically sustainable society.

These cuts are totally ideological. So what could we do differently?

You could put Britain onto a sound footing without ANY of these cuts – but with a few simple, effective measures:

  • Crack down on tax havens and tax loopholes.  –  Raising £10 bn.
  • Abolish the upper limit for NI contributions. – Raising £9 bn.
  • Reform inheritance tax to reflect the wealth of the recipient. – Raising £3 bn.
  • Tax those on £100,000 at a rate of 50%. – Raising £2.3bn a year.

I fought for all of these last May – because they were all in the Green Party manifesto – along with the same commitment as Labour to halve the deficit by 2013-14! We are a rich country! If you honestly want a fairer society then you go where the money is.

But meanwhile – as if to add insult to injury – over the last year, Revenue and Customs has failed to collect the 50% tax  on people on £150,000 or more and a large amount of this will be uncollected or written off! How many of OUR taxes are written off ?!?

And then there’s the tax dodgers:

  • Like Vodafone and Top Shop
  • Like Barclays and Boots
  • Like Google and George Osborne

And STILL we have many millions  given in bonuses to City bankers – essentially for having just helped bankrupt the world – and essentially rewarding bad behaviour!

And so we are making common cause like never before with unions and like-minded people across the country to stand up for jobs, against these cuts, and for a fairer Britain.

On March 26th, the TUC demo is calling for 3 main  policies :

  • A Robin Hood Tax – because the international financial transactions of banks are not taxed! A tiny tax – even 0.05% or £1 in every 2000 would raise some £20 billion for Britain alone.
  • the closure of tax loopholes – again simple measures can be taken to make more tax collectible and make huge corporations live up to their responsibility to give back to the state they make so much profit from.
  • and for jobs and green growth. The current attack is first and foremost an attack on jobs.

As a Con-Dem nation, we are, right now, climbing back down the ladder of history.

And I’m not here to let Labour off the hook either! After 13 years in power they presided over the most unfair Britain since the end of the last world war! In so many ways Labour has paved the way for the havoc that the Conservative and Lib Dem allies are wreaking now.

So the fight now is for a fairer Britain – and for politicians who will loyally and committedly represent ordinary people.

Because if this doesn’t happen there will be a meaning to the phrase “poverty in Britain” that we haven’t seen in a generation.

Thank you.

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