Socialist Worker

Zeal for ‘reform’ means attacks on public services

Issue No. 2168

New Labour and the Tories are engaged in a desperate bidding war to see who can slash the most from Britain’s public services.

Treasury minister Liam Byrne last week announced that Labour plans to halve the government’s budget deficit if re-elected next year.

That would means cuts of £20 billion a year for four years – or enough to build one new super-hospital a year in every city in Britain between now and 2012.

One cabinet source said the new spending plans, set to be put forward in detail later this week, represented, “the original New Labour approach of public service reform”.

Spurred on by New Labour’s zeal for “reform”, Tory shadow chancellor George Osborne this weekend demanded even more savage cuts.

“Someone has got to say ‘enough is enough’. This country has got to live within its means,” he said.

Both parties claim that their cuts would not hit frontline services but would instead target government “bureaucracy”, “waste” and “inefficiency”.

By using this kind of language politicians hope to disguise the real effects that large-scale cuts will have on our services.

If implemented, people all over Britain will find that they cannot get access to proper medical care, and that their children are being taught in classrooms that are bursting at the seams.

The three main parties have formed a cosy consensus that says working class people should pay for the economic crisis.

Any new government will likely find to its cost that their agreement is not one shared by those who deliver and depend upon public services.

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Tue 8 Sep 2009, 19:38 BST
Issue No. 2168
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