of British Industry last week revealed its latest
estimate for the growing recession, claiming that around three million
will be out of work by 2010.
This will no doubt warm their hearts through the coming festive
season – high unemployment always dampens wage claims, especially when
the unions still have their hands tied behind their backs. In the 1980s
business leaders argued in favour of maintaining a steady high level of
unemployment, while at the same time berating the unemployed for being
The CBI has also changed its estimate, made in September, that
the British economy was likely to grow by 0.3 per cent in 2009 and now
says the economy will shrink by 1.7 per cent – further evidence that
the leaders of capitalism have little idea of how their own system
A report from the Local Government Association predicts a total
of 370,000 jobs will be lost in London by December 2012 (7.9 per cent);
170,000 in Yorkshire and Humberside (6.8 per cent), 230,000 in the
North West (6.7 per cent), 180,000 in the West Midlands (6.6 per cent),
280,000 in the South East (6.3 per cent), 130,000 in the East Midlands
(6.0 per cent), 170,000 in the East (6.0 per cent), 70,000 in the North
East (5.7 per cent) and 130,000 in the South West (5.1 per cent).
The report said the construction and manufacturing industries
will be hardest hit by the economic slump and already thousands of
construction jobs have been cut: 2,300 at the plumbing and building
materials firm Wolseley, 1,000 at Taylor Wimpey, 1,200 at various brick
companies, 398 at JCB and many more. Hanson is cutting 1,200 jobs,
stockpiling 500 million bricks, closing two plants and mothballing
Communications and IT companies are also suffering badly, with
10,000 jobs to go at BT, 2,200 at Virgin, 1,300 at Yell and 220 at
ITV is cutting 1,000 jobs, Channel Four 150, the Independent 90, the
Financial Times 60, Midland News Association 120, Trinity Mirror 104,
and most other newspapers and broadcasting companies are reducing staff
The banking sector, where the crash began, is leading the field
in job cuts. Citigroup is cutting 50,000 globally, of which 2,400 will
be in London; 50,000 estate agents throughout the country are expected
to face job cuts.
Manufacturing will be hit with Leyland losing 250 and Babcock
Marine losing 300. These are just the cuts announced so far. Factory
orders continued to fall sharply in November, according to CBI figures
and manufacturers are their most gloomy about future output in nearly
30 years, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The public sector is also affected, with 400 jobs to go at Aberdeen
City Council and other local authorities likely to follow.
The retail sector is suffering shock waves with Marks &
Spencer cutting prices by 20 per cent and Woolworths trying to
negotiate a deal to sell its 815 stores to turnaround specialists Hilco
for just £1. Last August it rejected a £50 million offer
from Malcolm Walker, who founded the Iceland frozen food chain.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is backing Gordon Brown’s
current Keynesian plans to increase Government borrowing and cut taxes
at the same time in order to boost the economy.
He said: “We have to take every action we can as a government,” and
claimed the recession was “not made by the Government” but that it was
the Government’s job to make it as “short and painless as possible”.
Mandelson claimed there was “no alternative” to borrowing.
The giant union Unite has drawn up a 10-point plan to stimulate
the economy which includes increased public spending, a halt to home
repossessions and the building of a million new affordable homes.
This would help to resolve the growing crisis of homelessness and
revive the construction industry, which has been one of the worst hit
Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson called for “a new
economic order” – still unable to pronounce the word socialism.
But this is not the time to be shy about promoting socialism – a
better, more stable and more peaceful way to run the economy – and
infinitely more just, with those who create the wealth in factories,
farms, mines and mills getting full returns for their labour and
democratic control over the system.
But first we have to get rid of the current mad capitalist system
run by a small wealthy elite who now admit they totally failed to
predict this all too predictable crash but who will hang on to their
wealth and power as long as we let them.