Lead story

Proper wages, not bombs!

by Daphne Liddle

CHANCELLOR George Osborne’s opportunities for wooing voters with tax cuts or other sweeteners were drastically reduced last week when new official figures showed the Government’s spending deficit is steadily increasing, largely because of a big reduction in tax income while the need for spending on benefits has increased.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the national debt rose to £1.451 trillion in September, equal to 79.9 per cent of GDP.

Borrowing in September alone was £11.8 billion, an increase of 15 per cent on the same month last year, according to the ONS. Economists had expected borrowing for the month to be just £10.5 billion.

Tax receipts were only 3.1 per cent higher than a year earlier, despite the “strong recovery”. But Osborne’s bigger disappointment was on Government spending, which was up 3.7 per cent. Social benefit payments were 5.4 per cent higher.

The previous week’s figures showed that unemployment was down. What they did not reveal was that most of the new jobs are part-time and/or very low waged.

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100,000 demand a pay rise

by New Worker correspondent

AN ESTIMATED 100,000 trade unionists and other progressives took to the streets of London, Glasgow and Belfast last Saturday in the massive Britain Demands a Pay Rise protest march, organised by the TUC.

The demand, predominantly from public sector workers, was aimed at the Government and also at the Labour leader Ed Miliband to urge him to drop his policy of continuing with most of the Con-Dem Coalition’s pay restraint and general austerity policies if Labour wins next year’s general election.

In London thousands of union banners and giant balloons from all the major unions and from many smaller unions marched with campaigners for peace, for the environment, for civil liberties and for the restoration of benefits for the disabled.

There were huge contingents of local government workers, health service workers, teachers, civil servants, transport workers, firefighters, prison officers, actors and broadcasters and even police civilian staff.

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Fight Back Now

LAST WEEK’S pay protests clearly reflected the anger of the class at the Coalition Government’s austerity regime. The health and civil service strikes and the massive demonstrations in London and Glasgow sent a clear message to the ruling class and the Labour leaders who claim to represent the workers that Britain needs a pay rise. Whether they will heed it is another matter.

The Cameron government, which directly represents the interests of the capitalists, industrialists and landowners, naturally ignored it. Sadly so did Labour’s leaders who were noticeably absent from the rallies that were organised by the TUC. That too is also not surprising.

Despite all the waffle about “hard working families” Labour’s leaders have pledged to maintain the current policy of pay restraint and general austerity if they win the general election next year. What is surprising is that they can get away with it. This is the organised labour movement that pays Labour’s wages and doles out the millions to fund its election campaigns.

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