Socialist Worker

After seven years of Tory rule—seven reasons to end it

Tory governments have waged war on ordinary people since 2010, helped until 2015 by their Lib Dem allies. Of the countless reasons to kick them out, Eleanor Claxton-Mayer and Alistair Farrow explain seven of the key ones

Issue No. 2550

1. Austerity built on lies has made workers worse off

This election needs to be about jobs and the NHS. It needs to be about homes. Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity. This is our chance to change society.”

Ian Hodson, Bfawu union, president 

The Tories have trashed workers’ lives with austerity and tried to block resistance to the attacks.

They had sacked over a million public sector workers by last November—driving up unemployment and gutting key services.

Many remaining public sector workers face a 1 percent pay cap until 2020, effectively a pay cut as inflation rises.

Civil service workers have lost as much as 9 percent of their pay since 2010.

And the pay cap slashed over £4.3 billion from NHS workers’ wages between 2010 and 2016.

The Tories boast of a record-high employment rate. But the largest group of new jobs created are part time and wages have stagnated.

Women earn an average of nearly 14 percent less than men, partly due to part time working.

The Tories hope their Trade Union Act will blunt resistance. Workers must win a 50 percent turnout in ballots for strikes to be legally valid.

But some, such as those at Plumstead Manor School in London, have already shown that the thresholds can be beaten.

And cleaners at the Royal London Hospital last month showed that unofficial walkouts are possible too.


2. They rigged the education system to favour the rich

The Tories want to impose the first real terms funding cuts on schools in decades.

Schools will lose £3 billion a year in real terms by 2020 under their “fair funding” formula.

They want a privatised education system that writes off working class children as failures—or removes opportunities altogether.

That’s why the Tories raised the cap on university tuition fees to £9,000 a year in 2010 and scrapped Education Maintenance Allowance for college students.

It’s why they are diverting billions into privately-run academies and free schools—and pushing for new selective grammars.

Leeds teacher Paul Grist told Socialist Worker, “People have been made redundant, class sizes are going up and workloads are increasing.

Teachers are angry. They need to be prepared to act.”


3. Benefit ‘reforms’ robbed the poor and the disabled

The Tories’ new benefit system snatches more money from the poorest and most vulnerable. Their Personal Independence Payments have seen many claimants lose mobility support.

Employment Support Allowance has been cut from £103 a week to £73.

A four-year freeze on working age benefits began last year. As inflation rises, this means claimants are even worse off.

Nicola Jeffery has fibromyalgia and has had all her support cut. She told Socialist Worker, “The Tories have deliberately made people sicker with their policies.

“There are no safety nets anymore.”

People have died because of these cuts and desperation. How many disabled people will survive another five years of Tory rule?”

Paula Peters, Disabled People Against Cuts activist

4. Their cuts are carving up the NHS ready to sell it off

The Tories have brought the NHS to its knees. Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt attacked junior doctors in England by imposing an unsafe and unfair contract.

Their “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” will see A&Es shut, jobs cut and beds axed. They will put some hospitals at risk of closure.

The Tories aim to soften up the NHS for privatisation by making it “cheaper” to run and more attractive to business.

Meanwhile their cuts to council budgets have hit social care, deepening the crisis in the health service.

And more attacks loom. The Tories want the NHS to make £22 billion in “savings” by 2020.

The health service has already suffered cuts in real terms.

Ministers have confirmed that NHS funding per head will be cut next year.

Junior doctor Niki Fitzgerald told Socialist Worker, “If there is another Tory government the NHS won’t survive because it’s being deliberately dismantled.”


5. Racist scapegoating and border clampdowns kill

Racist border controls in Britain and across Europe have killed thousands of migrants and refugees in recent years.

Some 942 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year alone.

More than 800 people drowned trying to make the crossing in just one week in May last year.

When Aylan Kurdi drowned trying to cross in 2015 politicians condemned the horror of a crisis they created. But as his father said last year, “My Aylan died for nothing, little has changed.”

The Tories’ brutal border fence at Calais has trapped desperate refugees in intolerable conditions – and forced them to risk their lives trying to escape.

The Tories hope that scapegoating refugees and migrants can help them get away with austerity.

The Tories are trying to reverse 40 years of anti-racist gains. Only a couple of years ago Theresa May introduced her infamous racist vans. The number of people in horrific conditions in detention centres, including children, has increased. The election offers an opportunity to hold the Tories to account for their crimes." 

Rahul Patel, Stand Up To Racism activist

6. Their wars in Middle East only worsen the bloodshed

Tory wars have killed hundreds of thousands of people since 2010.

The US and Britain’s intervention in Libya left tens of thousands dead and 450,000 people internally displaced.

Western bombing has officially killed hundreds of civilians in Syria and the true figure may be much higher.The US and Britain’s intervention in Libya left tens of thousands dead and 450,000 people internally displaced.

The Tories have continued operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Every war is supposedly justified by claims that it will save people’s lives. Yet in reality more bombs make the situation worse. Theresa May is hand in hand with Donald Trump. The world will be an even more dangerous place if the Tories win the election.”

Judith Orr, Stop the War Coalition officer

7. Wrecking council housing is making people homeless

Council housing faces wholesale destruction under the Tories. David Cameron reintroduced Right to Buy to encourage more council housing selloffs.

Some 12,246 council houses were sold through Right to Buy in 2015/16, compared to 2,758 in 2010/11.

Within six months of the Tories coming to office, George Osborne halved the amount of funding to social landlords. It allowed them to charge up to 80 percent of market rent.

This “affordable rent” is affordable to no one but the wealthy. Meanwhile the Tories have made it easier for private developers to build homes.

The Tories want to undermine the idea of social housing as anything but a safety net for the most desperate. Meanwhile their bedroom tax cuts money from working class people who have the audacity to live in anything bigger than a shoebox.

The state of the Housing and Planning Act shows the Tories are vulnerable. Active campaigning has wrestled the Act to a stalemate. But it remains on the statute book and can be enforced by the next government—if it feels confident enough. It’s time for people to link up and mount a serious challenge.”

Eileen Short, Defend Council Housing 

 


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