Socialist Worker

Filthy rich want to cut your pay

Bosses, bankers and corrupt MPs declare war on public sector

Issue No. 2159

Disgraced bankers, corrupt politicians, unelected officials and bosses want ordinary people to suffer even more to help get them out of their crisis.

They have gained all the riches and benefits from the 30 years of free market policies that have ripped through society.

Now that their system has crashed around them they want ordinary people to make sacrifices. They are uniting around calls to cut public spending and the wages of public sector workers.

Steve Bundred, the chief executive of the Audit Commission, who is described as the government’s “chief accountant”, last weekend called for swingeing cuts to public spending.

He said, “A pain-free way of cutting public spending would be to freeze public sector pay, or at least impose severe pay restraint.”

But this would certainly not be “pain-free” for millions of nurses, firefighters, school workers and others who provide crucial public services.

Bundred’s words chime with the thoughts of all those who have got us into the current mess. He says that the government needs to find £50 billion through spending cuts or tax rises in the coming years.

Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted that he may have lost that much in the bank bailouts. And those are just the government’s figures – the real amount could be more.

Darling said this week that “public sector pay has got to reflect prevailing conditions, and in particular inflation has come down”.

Both New Labour and the Tories are preparing an assault on public services. It is reported that Treasury officials are preparing dossiers of “doomsday cuts” of 20 percent in public spending to hand to whoever wins the next general election.

The poorest and most vulnerable people will be hit the hardest if we allow this to happen. The people who should be forced to take pay cuts and job losses are those at the top of society, who are paid exorbitantly to ruin the lives of the rest of us.

There should be no divisions between workers in the public and private sectors. If the government pushes through pay freezes on public sector workers it will give employers in the private sector an excuse to step up their onslaught on workers there.

We all need to stand together to ensure that it is the rich people who caused the crisis that are made to pay for it.

Man behind the cuts

Steve Bundred is the chief executive of the Audit Commission. He raked in £248,000 last year and his pension is worth more than £900,000.

As chief executive of Camden council in the 1990s he cut millions of pounds off the budget and sold off assets – he boasts that within 18 months the workforce had shrunk from 9,500 to less than 6,500.

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Tue 7 Jul 2009, 18:50 BST
Issue No. 2159
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