Socialist Worker

Tory budget cuts pose a challenge to unions

Issue No. 2493

Public sector workers strike together in 2014

Public sector workers strike together in 2014 (Pic: Xanthe Whittaker)

Tory chancellor George Osborne’s lies about the economy are falling apart.

His solution is to redouble the failed policies, and to rob even more from workers and the poor.

The Tories’ election manifesto claimed, “Britain is back on its feet, strong and growing stronger every day.” It was rubbish then, and it’s rubbish now.

On a visit to China last week Osborne admitted, “The economy is smaller than we thought in Britain”.

That means, “We are going to have to look at public expenditure again. We’re going to look at whether we need to go further in reducing spending.”

The British economy is slowing while the European economy and world economies are stagnant.

Osborne is preparing to announce billions more in cuts in a budget on 16 March.

But he’s not waiting until then to loot from us.

The government has brushed aside a 158 to 0 Commons vote for changes to the new pension regime which will snatch £30 billion from payouts to women.

The Tories are pressing ahead with the equalisation of state pension ages at 65 from this year.

And they want to raise it to 66 for women and men from 2020.

Yet there are two cuts the Tories have definitely ruled out.

One is the tens of billions earmarked for Trident nuclear missiles.


They, and the anti-Corbyn Labour right, attacked the tens of thousands who marched against such weapons last weekend.

The other is holding back an increase in MPs’ pay. Last week the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) confirmed MPs will be given a new 1.3 percent pay rise from April.

That’s just a year after their pay rose by 10 percent.

An MP’s basic pay will now be £74,962. That would take someone on the minimum wage nearly six years to earn.

It would take an asylum seeker on the £36.95 a week allowance 39 years to amass that.

For far too long there has been one-sided class war in Britain. The Tories are on the attack and the trade unions are mostly retreating.

The junior doctors’ strike next week is a chance to begin turning the tide.

Everyone can raise the issue at work, get to a picket line or demonstration, and send support and solidarity.

A victory for the junior doctors can encourage a wider defence of the NHS.

And members of unions that represent close to a million local government workers in England and Wales have rejected a pay deal.

If the union leaders seized every opportunity for a fightback we could wipe the smiles off the smug Tories’ faces.

Cameron and Osborne will not stop their attacks unless they meet real resistance. It needs to happen now.

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