Socialist Worker

Politicians unite for an assault on workers

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2197

The Labour and Tory parties launched their manifestos this week – and both are squarely focused on making workers pay for the crisis.

Interestingly, Labour’s was more direct about the supposed “need for cuts” than the Tories.

The Tories manifesto, ludicrously titled “Invitation to join the government of Britain”, does not dare lay out the savaging of public services that would follow a Cameron win.

Instead it says you can “be your own boss” and that “we’re all in it together” – immediately disproved by their plan to cut inheritance tax for millionaires.

The Tories repeat their plan for an emergency budget to “set out a credible plan for eliminating the bulk of the structural current budget deficit”. That means a plan to cut most of £167 billion.

It also confirms a freeze on public sector pay and a review of the retirement age.

But there are tax cuts for business. The Tories will “cut the headline rate of corporation tax to 25p”.

The Tories also say, “Our mission in Afghanistan is vital to our national security.”

Labour’s manifesto, entitled “A Future Fair For All”, calls for a new drive against “underperforming” hospitals and schools – including takeover by outside managers.

It is a message for increasing privatisation in the health service, with its promise that all hospitals will become semi-independent foundation trusts.

Labour’s manifesto does promise (at last!) to restore the link between pensions and earnings, and to protect the value of the minimum wage.

Tough

But at its centrepiece is more cuts, privatisation and harrying of people on benefits.

It sets out a series of “tough choices”. These are tough on workers but soft on the bosses.

They include £15 billion of “efficiency savings” – or cuts – this year, another £11 billion next year.

This is on top of £5 billion of cuts that have been “already identified”.

Labour will force pay curbs on six million public sector workers and slash £1 billion from public sector pensions.

Labour promises to reduce benefits by £1.5 billion.

It will use methods such as putting 1.5 million people presently on incapacity benefit through a “tough-but-fair workcapability test.”

Some commentators thought the manifesto ruled out privatisation of the Royal Mail.

But business secretary Peter Mandelson immediately went on the radio to say this was not true.

The mainstream parties offer nothing but attacks on the ordinary people they expect to vote them in.

We need to organise a fightback now that can stop the rich and their backers in parliament forcing us to pay for their crisis.


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Tue 13 Apr 2010, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2197
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