26 Mar 2011

Cuts March today - budget was for bankers

Today many thousands will be marching in London and demonstrating across the country. See my video of the march in Stroud here. There is an alternative to the cuts as that video showed. The Guardian also have a video here about alternatives to the cuts - stars Bill Nighy, Radiohead, UK Uncut and more. Below are details of the last talk on 'Cuts or Commonwealth' - but before that, Caroline Lucas has done an analysis of the budget here: "a betrayal of our environment and our future". See similar scathing report on the budget from George Monbiot here.

As Caroline Lucas said the budget was "a budget for bankers" that put the interests of international finance and big business above those of ordinary people or the environment. She said: "George Osborne has made cutting the deficit his one and only goal. This may please City bankers and international investors, but it means more unemployment, greater poverty, and decimated public services. It is also a huge missed opportunity to turn our environmental and energy crisis into an engine for a sustainable future. Investing in energy efficiency and renewables now would stabilise the economy, help people reduce their bills, help end fuel poverty and make us less dependent on oil and gas from overseas. Instead, the Government is cutting support for UK companies trying to lead this energy revolution, even though it has found £5 billion in tax cuts for biggest companies. It has also turned the much-hyped Green Investment Bank into a PR stunt by preventing it from raising funds." 

See a short clip of Caroline Lucas speaking at the Green party conference, when she says let's show David Cameron what the Big Society means and all turn out for the 26 Mar rally in London: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gfvSxgopZ8

Plus a short video of Caroline talking about retaining spending on NHS/libraries, and cutting spending on Trident and cutting tax avoidance:

The Government's plans are not the only option, despite what Osborne's claims. Blog readers will remember the videos I produced re tax havens - available at: http://bit.ly/iflD6I

A combination of intelligent investment and reduced tax avoidance could have provided financial stability and also avoided job losses and service cuts. The Chancellor says there is no money to protect services such as libraries and hospitals - but he can find the £3 billion it will cost to break up the NHS ready for privatization or the £3.6 billion in extra subsidy for the nuclear industry. Further, the Office of Budget Responsibility has predicted that the borrowing requirement this year will be £2.5 billion less than expected. But instead of using at least a proportion of this to avoid some of the worst of the planned cuts, he is holding it back - presumably to fund tax cuts ahead of the next election?

Cuts or Commonwealth: final event

The last talk in the series will be "Mutual Aid and Co-operation - Local solutions to Money, Land and Housing problems." Presentations, discussion and debate with local authors and campaigners:

Molly Scott Cato (Cardiff Institute of Cooperative Studies)
Martin Large (Stroud Common Wealth)
James Beecher (Transition Stroud)

The evening will include three presentations on the interrelated aspects of the economic crisis - money, land, and housing - and will propose co-operative, shared solutions to these. Please come along and share your views on what we can do in Stroud. Thursday, 31st March, 7.30pm. The George Room at The Sub Rooms. £4 or SP£3 suggested donation.

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