Ralf Littlte knocks Block off #Conservative #NHS Privatiser and Murdoch fan boy Jeremy Hunt #Mental Health #Derbyuk #Derbyshire #Derby
Aside Posted on Updated on
Aside Posted on Updated on
Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. When the Chancellor rose to his feet at the emergency Budget in July, and when he does so for his Spending Review in October, what is being put forward is an ideologically-driven rolling back of the state.
The analysis published today by the TUC reveals how the Budget gives money to the rich, but takes away from the poor.
This is the Conservative project, dressed up in the post-crisis language of budget deficits and national debt for extra impetus. Inequality doubled under the Thatcher government, and her heirs seem to be doing all they can to ensure that legacy is extended.
The Budget showed austerity is about political choices, not economic necessities. There is money available: the inheritance tax cuts announced in the Budget will lose the exchequer over £2.5billion in revenue between now and 2020. What responsible government committed to closing the deficit would give a tax break that only applies to the richest 4% of households?
The Conservatives are giving away to the very rich in inheritance tax cuts twice as much as reducing the benefit cap will raise by further impoverishing the poorest, and socially cleansing many towns and cities.
Another choice was to cut UK corporation tax to 18%, which at 20% is already the lowest in the G7, lower too than the 25% in China, and half the 40% rate in the United States.
The Treasury estimates that this political choice will see our revenue intake from big business fall by £2.5billion in 2020. That’s nearly twice the amount saved by cutting the tax credits available families with more than two children.
In such circumstances, Labour must be clear: we oppose the Budget, and we oppose austerity. As a group of 40 economists wrote to the Observer a few weeks ago, “opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF”.
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The 1977 Grunwick strike was crushed by police with the full support of the Labour government. Photograph: Press Association Images
Labour’s time could be up. History says that it could be reborn in a different guise and with a different purpose
Does it matter if the Labour party survives its current crisis? History suggests not. Labour, and the British left, has been massively defeated. However, in broad historical terms, one might argue that this defeat didn’t happen on 7 May 2015 but in the late 1960s and 1970s. Labour’s era may now be over and perhaps it is time for something new.
Its heyday was in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Clement Attlee’s Labour party was the party of the welfare state and full employment, with trade unions fully incorporated into national bargaining because they represented a massive section of the workforce. The party had concrete policies that spoke to people’s needs and desires – from which the current operation could learn .
In the late 1960s, this consensus broke apart. Foreign competition and the assertive, but reasonable demands of young workers for more say over the way their industries were managed led certain big businesses to organise into the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and demand the reduction of workers’ rights.
Barbara Castle’s white paper, In Place of Strife, began talking of strikers and trade unionists as separate from, rather than representative of, “the public”. Edward Heath’s Conservative administrations and the succeeding Labour government took this policy further. In 1976, Labour accepted that an economic downturn should be remedied by accepting International Monetary Fund aid, conditional on massive public spending cuts.
The following year, a huge strike for trade union recognition by Asian women at the Grunwick film processing plant was crushed by police with the full support of the Labour government and the Conservative opposition. The rest, as they say, is history, including the national Labour leadership’s failure to support the 1984-85miners’ strike.
If #Labour is committed to mental health, why doesn’t it scrap benefit sanctions? Labour’s unwillingness to completely break with the coalition’s benefit sanctions will hurt those with mental health issues the most.
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Labour’s unwillingness to completely break with the coalition’s benefit sanctions will hurt those with mental health issues the most.
“Getting serious” about mental health is all the rage in this election, with Nick Clegg talking about the taboo of suicide and Ed Miliband’s claim that mental health is the “biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age”. So why not pledge to abolish benefit sanctions which punish many of those already afflicted by both mental health issues and poverty? Unfortunately for those being sanctioned, the apparent Labour/coalition divide on benefit sanctions, with Labour pledging to abolish sanctions targets, is only surface deep, and beneath it there is a cross-party assumption that sanctions are necessary.
Unite the union has claimed over 2m people had their benefits stopped in the last two years, meaning 2014 saw the highest number of sanctions since jobseeker’s allowance was introduced. This especially affect those with conditions difficult to asses such as mental illnesses, and 120 disabled peoplehave been given a three-year sanction since October 2012.