Socialist Worker

Grisly 1 April landmark should spur us to fight

Issue No. 2346

A series of Tory attacks are set to take effect on Monday of next week. It will be 1 April, a landmark date in the government’s offensive against the working class.

A new wave of brutal cuts to local government spending kick in on the same day as Iain Duncan Smith’s brainchild of welfare changes start.

Both the NHS and the railways are taken further down the line of privatisation.

The cuts in council spending threaten to devastate services that millions of people rely on.

Half the councils questioned said they planned to cut spending on children’s services as well as care for adults in a Guardian survey last week. These services support people with learning difficulties or disabilities.

This comes on top of two years of Tory council cuts.

Birmingham, Britain’s biggest local authority, had already planned cuts of £600 million by 2017—half of the council’s budget. These will now be increased further.

At the same time the attacks on welfare will lead to councils carrying an even greater burden.

Poorer tenants will have to pay towards council tax and lose housing benefit because of the bedroom tax.

This will mean evictions and rising homelessness.

The Tories use the cuts in local councils to “devolve the axe”.

They want people to blame councils, not the government, for cuts to vital services.

Suffer

Most Labour councils will suffer disproportionately as they represent more working class and poor constituents.

But councils will have to take responsibility for every cut they make. They could help turn the tide if they stood up to the government.

But 1 April will give some people reason to cheer—the bosses and the bankers.

The start of the new tax year means they’ll see the benefit of the latest cuts in the tax they pay on their wealth and profits.

It’s also a good day for firms such as Virgin Healthcare that wants to make money out of people being sick.

They will be able to bid for even more NHS services as new commissioning rules for GP services open up public healthcare to privatising vultures.

All of this can be stopped. The Tories have constantly had to make retreats on the bedroom tax and other attacks when they felt the force of public opposition.

Recent campaigns have seen unity between people dependent on the services under attack alongside workers whose jobs rely on providing them.

Last week’s strike by PCS union members in the civil service showed that workers can fight back and hit the government where it hurts.

The Tories can be beaten if unions mount more and bigger strikes. Activists everywhere must argue for action that can win.


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Article information

What We Think
Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:04 GMT
Issue No. 2346
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