There is no denying that austerity has destroyed our chances of recovery but now the coalition has inflicted another eight years of misery on the public, as councils face deeper cuts putting vital services at greater risk, and education is under threat from another squeeze. Further Education funding is to be cut by £260 million by 2016, and student maintenance grants will be reduced in the next few years by £60 million. The government will also privatise student loans and slash funding to help pupils educated in state schools to gain their university places, as part of a package transferring public assets to corporate ownership.
Public sector workers are going to face another round of redundancies, with a further 145,000 to be made jobless. It doesn’t get much better for those who get to keep their jobs either; pay rises will be limited to a measly 1% and the automatic pay progression will now be abolished. Osborne promised to make a £50 billion infrastructure investment but, as the Daily Mirror pointed out, in real terms this is a 1.7% cut when one compares this to last year. Even worse is the contemptuous treatment shown to unemployed people, who must now wait an average of nineteen days only to save a measly £245 million, as new plans to delay JSA have been revealed by this government of millionaires. An obscene £4bn of benefit cuts will force single parents to look for jobs, despite 45 people applying for every unskilled vocation. Caps on housing benefit and universal credit will also be introduced even though average living costs rose by 25% over the last five years.
Contrary to popular belief we have the money to implement progressive, and more importantly sustainable, policies which hands power back to its rightful proletarian owners. For example £123 billion in tax goes uncollected, evaded or avoided every year; additionally, an estimated £850 billion of unused cash is lying idle in our banks. Even if there was a 50% tax on the latter this would be useful for job creation, improving a woefully neglected network of services and improve our transport system. So what exactly is stopping us? We aren’t able to do this unless capitalist greed, corruption and imperialism is replaced with a system where the workers rule.