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26 reasons to march on Saturday 26 March

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The TUC protest on 26 March against the Tory cuts needs to be huge – here are just 26 reasons to join it
Issue 2240

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1. 162,000 council job cuts

The proposed council job losses total currently stands at 162,718, according to the GMB union.

As you read this it will have gone up even further.

The job cuts include more than 7,000 jobs in Birmingham alone. The funding cuts hit poor areas much harder than rich ones. Deprived areas such as Hackney, Knowsley, Doncaster and South Tyneside have been hit with the maximum funding cut.

Meanwhile leafy Windsor, Richmond and Buckinghamshire all get cuts of less than 1 percent.

And this massacre is just part of the half a million job cuts the Tories plan to make across the public sector

2. The rich are getting richer

The wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain stands at a record £336 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

It went up by an incredible £77 billion last year.

Why not tax that instead of cutting jobs and services?

3. Tax dodges of the wealthy

The rich already avoid or evade £120 billion a year of tax, according to the PCS civil service workers’ union.

Companies such as Vodafone and Topshop use legal tax dodges to get out of paying their way

4. Bosses’ obscene and growing pay

The bosses of the FTSE 100 top companies paid themselves an average of £4.9 million last year.

Bart Becht of Reckitt Benckiser, Britain’s highest paid chief executive, pocketed £92.6 million—more than 3,000 workers at the firm put together

5. Billions spent on killing

The war in Afghanistan costs Britain £4.5 billion a year.

And if we scrapped all the Trident nuclear missiles, that would save another £97 billion over the next 20 years

6. Making war on the poor

The Tories are forcing unemployed people into unpaid work. And they have brought in harsh testing for disability benefits.

Private contractor Atos has declared people with severe disabilities as “fit to work”, which has thrown them off badly-needed benefits

7. Fight to save our nurseries

In Manchester, the cuts mean the council is closing every SureStart nursery unless “volunteers” can be found to run them.

This could soon happen everywhere

8. ‘Social cleansing’ of the cities

Slashing housing benefit will shunt almost a million of the poorest households out to the furthest corners of our towns and cities

9. Cabinet full of millionaires

Transport minister Philip Hammond sits on a £9 million fortune. Chancellor George “Gideon” Osborne (left) has £4.3 million—and is dodging inheritance tax. David Cameron has £3.2 million. Lib Dem Nick Clegg is worth more than £1 million. They’re not “all in it together” with us

10. Losing our libraries

The Tories are closing more than 450 libraries.

Local branch libraries and rural libraries will be hardest hit. Sixty closed last year

11. Health serivce is in crisis

The government says it is handing the NHS over to be “run by doctors”. But the truth is that it is handing it over to private firms that only want to make a fast buck.

The will pave the way for full privatisation of the health service.

So-called “GP consortia” will be given control of the NHS budget.

But busy GPs will not have time to run the service—that job will

end up in the hands of the private

sector. From there the privateers will be in a position to start taking over whole parts of the service—profit not need will dominate the NHS.

Thousands of jobs are already going every week.

At the Heart of England NHS Trust, in the West Midlands, for example, 1,600 jobs are to go— that’s one in five of the workforce

12. Michael Gove

All the talk about parents and community groups running schools is a Trojan horse for handing over control of education to business groups and privateers

13. Royal Mail privatisation

Not even Margaret Thatcher dared to sell Royal Mail—but the coalition has private mail firms lined up to take it over.

Leading bidder TNT closed all its own post offices in the Netherlands two years ago

14. Selling off our trees

Outrage and mass marches against the Tories’ plan to privatise all Britain’s forest seems to have made them back off for now.

But that they wanted to do it shows nothing is safe—and they’re still planning to cut jobs at the Forestry Commission

15. Bankers’ bunged huge bonuses

While we suffer, good times are here again for the bankers—not that they ever went away.

On 15 February, the day Barclays announced its £6 billion profits, the firm’s traders were splashing their bonus cash on champagne.

A Porsche dealership said its most expensive cars were selling out because of bonus season, while posh wine merchant Berry Bros and Rudd said there had been a run on its £5,000-a-case Chateau Latour wines.

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond pocketed a bonus of at least £9 million. He has an estimated fortune of £95 million.

We bailed out the bankers to the tune of £130 billion. That’s the money they’re now claiming is “profit”. The banks are still there—we should take our cash back

16. High prices, low pay

As the RPI inflation measure hits 5.1 percent, the VAT tax rise starts to bite and interest rate rises loom on the horizon, everything is getting more expensive.

Most workers’ pay is frozen

17. Health and safety cuts kill

The Tories’ plan to deal with 50,000 work-related deaths a year, according to TUC figures, is to slash the number of health and safety inspections

18. Pensions slashed

Up to five million public sector workers will work for longer and pay more in contributions, and end up with lower pensions at the end of it.

The government is already playing the trick of changing the rate they increase at from RPI inflation measure to the lower CPI rate.

This means the average public sector worker will see the amount paid into their pension fall from £7,250 a year to just £4,750.

But the government has even worse plans lined up. Its pensions review is also looking at raising workers’ contribution rates—effectively a pay cut.

And the pension age is rising more quickly to 66. If you’re male and under 40, you’ll have to work until you’re at least 68

19. A million on scrapheap

Youth unemployment stands at one in five—the highest since records began.

And the majority of those without a job have never had one

20. Education for the rich

Many rely on the £30-a-week Education Maintenance Allowance to go to college—but the coalition has scrapped it.

And if you want to go on to university, it’ll mean running up massive debts to pay the £9,000 a year fees

21. Youth centres shut

More than 3,000 youth workers are set to lose their jobs as nearly every project working with 13-18 year olds is at risk

22. Students and workers united

26 March will be a chance to bring together hundreds of thousands of students, trade unionists and others against the Tory government’s attacks

23. Plans to ban strikes

The Tories are threatening to make the already draconian anti-union laws even harsher by requiring minimum turnouts before strike ballots are valid—and to make it legal to sack anyone on the spot who has been employed for less than two years

24. They’re trying to divide us

David Cameron’s speech saying “multiculturalism has failed” was a blatant attempt to get us to turn our anger away from the Tories and make us turn on each other. We can’t let him get away with it

25. Cuts discriminate

Services dedicated to women, LGBT people, black and Asian people and people with disabilities have been some of the first to go in the cuts. These groups also make up a higher proportion of workers in the public sector, and so are more likely to lose their jobs

26. A chance to turn the tide

Imagine being there with your workmates on a monster demonstration of hundreds of thousands. The next day people won’t feel like they’re fighting the cuts alone—they’ll see they are part of a mass movement that can win

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