20 Oct 2010

Comment on todays savage cuts

Angered and frustrated - but with little time to write something here is what I sent to the press this evening:

Well most of us wont know yet if our jobs are safe, or how the cuts will impact on us. Half a million public sector jobs will go plus the knock-on effects of job losses in the private sector which are forecast to be at least another half million. These workers along with many disabled people will feel the £7bn welfare spending cuts and changes to housing benefit that come on top of the £11bn cuts in the June Budget. It's worth noting that £7bn is equivalent to £1,000 taken from seven million people. Welfare is set to take almost as much spending pain as all the other main public services put together. Osborne's axe has fallen hardest on workless, disabled and poor people.

Local government will lose 28% of its funding over the next four years, compared to 14% reductions to the royal household. Notions of fairness have gone out the window as vital public services go to the wall, hitting the poorest hardest. Meanwhile public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away by the so-called 'bonfire of the quangos'. Yet public bodies, like the ECGD and CDC, whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed.

As economist David Blanchflower warned, there’s a strong possibility that the cuts programme will precipitate a bigger crisis: “it’s a terrible, terrible mistake. The sensible thing to do is to spread [the cuts] over a long time”. We need to stabilise the economy and prevent mass unemployment, but in the longer term we have to face climate change and the wider environmental crisis.

Where are the increased taxes on the rich? Why are banks not paying more for their mistakes? Where is the real investment in tax evasion and avoidance that costs £50bn plus a year? Where is the green investment we need to tackle energy security, climate change and increase jobs? These savage and deeply damaging Tory/Lib Dem cuts are not necessary. There are other ways.

Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward (Green party),

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