Recently I had an opportunity to visit some parts of the West Midlands where the Bedroom Tax have had a high profile in the media which this coalition will not back down. It’s no surprise that coalition’s member of parliament were on hand to kill off the debate by saying that they needed to cut welfare bill and they have to pay their share towards their housing, and council taxes. This is like telling us how many children we all should have in place, welcome to the coalition’s China’s one child policy. There are many would agree that welfare needs to be reformed many have said this government is going about it the wrong way the coalition should change direction. Already we have seen some people who once enjoyed living in places like London relocating to the West Midlands Region which has a knock on effect this has played into the hands of far right groups such as EDL and BNP not far behind them is UKIP all are reliant on pandering to the press on immigration, housing, and jobs.
Has anybody noticed of lately UKIP are now wising up on NHS, and Local Government policies since the defection of some Tory Councillors. A general election is two years away and many cant predict what state will our finance will be in let alone plan for the short term. I’m sure that this is the right way forward by taking the smart approach which stands for:
Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound
This message has been consistent with Labour policy so in a nutshell Labour will not be drawn into quick fix or short term until they have a wider picture of how much is left in the treasury when they come into office. Five years is a short term to some and medium term to others. Gone is the mantra of “Big Society” and “We’re All In It Together.” To those who are seeking for short term solution I say it will only bring tears to them by hurting their pockets with no money to buy food to put on the table.
David Cameron is quoted at Prime Minister Question more jobs have been created in the private sector what he has not mentioned that some of those companies are not being monitored and paying less than the national minimum wage let along a living wage.
Has anybody heard of the quote “A promise is a comfort to a fool” Now we have learnt that coalition is promising the sum of £1m to anyone who can solve the biggest problem of our time for Penicillin, aeroplane or world widewebs.
Yet in Birmingham will have to implement £600m cuts which put council’s future in the spotlight this will be the most radical overhaul of services in more than a century as it has to cope with coalition cuts over 6 years. I guess someone will have to do the work of the coalition which nobody would like to do but has to be done.
It would not surprise me there will be talks of don’t do it by certain far left groups no names mentions. I’m sure that no council leaders would want to break the law but to work within the law. To those who who belong to fringe groups would say just resign I say no as that would be the easy option and the coalition would be rubbing its hands and at the same breath claiming another one bites the dust.
There is a case to say that some councils would continue with the Victorian model. But for councils to survive they have to move with the times as hard as it maybe to acknowledge. Birmingham City Council has never faced large cuts like this before, I dread the Leader of the council’s job to implement those cuts this is in light of a series of green papers outlining proposal for the future council functions introduced by the coalition.
Who would have believed in today’s society that low income families will be depending on food parcels since the coalition has changed the rules on the crisis and budgeting loans. Yet our economy has stalled a average of 1 in 5 young adults are unemployed in the West Midlands this coalition is weak in coming forward to implement jobs and growth in this region.
This coalition would continue to argue to do away our rights at work; it’s time for a movement for change to encourage our young and none voters to come out in force to help bring down this government using the ballot box. Hopefully to bring back a majority in a Labour Government no if or buts about it or would people wake up to another coalition in place for the next five years.
I Salute the following Council Leaders for highlighting in a letter to Dowing Street in regards to :
Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman, LGA; Gary Porter, vice chair, LGA, leader of the LGA Conservative group and leader of South Holland District Council; David Sparks, vice chair of the LGA, leader of the LGA Labour group and leader of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council; Gerald Vernon-Jackson, vice chair of the LGA, leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat group and leader of Portsmouth City Council; Marianne Overton, LGA Independent group leader and Independent group leader at Lincolnshire County Council and North Kesteven District Council, and 146 others (see observer.co.uk/letters)
Neil Parkin, leader Adur District Council
Alan Smith, leader Allerdale Borough Council
Gillian Brown, leader Arun District Council
John Cartwright, leader Aylesbury Vale District Council
Stephen Houghton CBE, leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Simon Greaves, leader Bassetlaw District Council
Paul Crossley, leader Bath and North Somerset Council
Mayor Dave Hodgson, Bedford Borough Council
Sir Albert Bore, leader Birmingham City Council
Kate Hollern, leader Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Simon Blackburn, leader Blackpool Council
Eion Watts, leader Bolsover District Council
Clifford Morris JP, leader Bolton Council
Peter Bedford, leader Boston Borough Council
John Beesley, leader Bournemouth Borough Council
Paul Bettison, leader Bracknell Forest Borough Council
David Green, leader Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Muhammed Butt, leader Brent Council
Jason Kitcat, leader Brighton and Hove City Council
Milan Radulovic, leader Broxtowe Borough Council
Julie Cooper, leader Burnley Borough Council
Mike Connolly, leader Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
Timothy Swith, leader Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Tim Bick, leader Cambridge City Council
Sarah Hayward, leader Camden Council
John Gilbey, leader Canterbury City Council
James Jamieson, leader Central Bedfordshire Council
Steve Jordan, leader Cheltenham Borough Council
Mike Jones, leader Cheshire West and Chester
John Burrows, leader Chesterfield Borough Council
Alistair Bradley, leader Chorley Borough Council
James Alexander, leader City of York Council
Elaine Woodburn, leader Copeland Borough Council
Tom Beattie, leader Corby Borough Council
Ann Lucas, leader Coventry City Council
Chris Knowles-Fitton, leader Craven District Council
Chris Millar, leader Daventry District Council
Paul Bayliss, leader Derby City Council
Anne Western, leader Derbyshire County Council
Roselyn Jones, elected mayor Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
Simon Henig, leader Durham County Council
Julian Bell, leader Ealing London Borough Council
Paul Diviani, leader East Devon District Council
David Tutt, leader Eastbourne Borough Council
Keith House, leader Eastleigh Borough Council
Doug Taylor, leader Enfield Council
Peter Edwards, leader Exeter City Council
Mick Henry CBE, leader Gateshead Council
John Clarke, leader Gedling Borough Council
Trevor Wainwright, leader Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Mayor Jules Pipe, Hackney London Borough Council
Rob Polhill, leader Halton Borough Council
Roy Perry, leader Hampshire County Council
Blake Pain, leader Harborough District Council
Claire Kober, leader Haringey London Borough Council
Mark Wilkinson, leader Harlow District Council
Michael White, leader Havering London Borough Council
Caitlin Bisknell, leader High Peak Borough Council
Stuart Bray, leader Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
Miles Parkinson, leader Hyndburn Borough Council
David Ellesmere, leader Ipswich Borough Council
Catherine West, leader Islington Council
Mehboob Khan, leader Kirklees Metropolitan Council
Ron Round JP, leader Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Lib Peck, leader Lambeth London Borough Council
Jenny Mein, leader Lancashire County Council
Keith Wakefield, leader Leeds City Council
Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor Leicester City Council
Nicholas Rushton, leader Leicestershire County Council
Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, executive mayor Lewisham London Borough Council
Richard Metcalfe, leader Lincoln City Council
Mayor Joe Anderson OBE, executive mayor Liverpool City Council
Hazel Simmons, leader Luton Borough Council
Sir Richard Leese CBE, leader Manchester City Council
Mayor Tony Egginton, Mansfield District Council
Byron Rhodes, leader Melton Borough Council
Stephen Alambritis, leader Merton London Borough Council
Nick Forbes, leader Newcastle upon Tyne City Council
Gareth Snell, leader Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
Sir Robin Wales, executive mayor Newham London Borough Council
Brian Greenslade, leader North Devon District Council
Deborah Croney, leader North Dorset District Council
Graham Baxter MBE, leader North East Derbyshire District Council
Chris Shaw, leader North East Lincolnshire Council
Lynda Needham, leader North Hertfordshire District Council
Marion Brighton, leader North Kesteven District Council
Brenda Arthur, leader Norwich City Council
Jon Collins, leader Nottingham City Council
Alan Rhodes, leader Nottinghamshire County Council
Dennis Harvey, leader Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
John Boyce, leader Oadby and Wigston Borough Council
Jim McMahon, leader Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
Bob Price, leader Oxford City Council
Tudor Evans, leader Plymouth City Council
Peter Rankin, leader Preston City Council
Jo Lovelock, leader Reading Borough Council
Colin Lambert, leader Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Alyson Barnes, leader Rossendale Borough Council
Carl Maynard, leader Rother District Council
Roger Stone OBE, leader Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Chris Roberts, leader Royal Borough of Greenwich
Linda Cowling, leader Ryedale District Council
Mayor Ian Stewart, City Mayor Salford City Council
Darren Cooper, leader Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Peter Dowd, leader Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
Peter Fleming, leader Sevenoaks District Council
Julie Dore, leader Sheffield City Council
Ken Meeson, leader Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Ann Ducker, leader South Oxfordshire District Council
Ric Pallister, leader South Somerset District Council
Iain Malcolm, leader South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Simon Letts, leader Southampton City Council
Peter John, leader Southwark Council
Barrie Grunewald, leader St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
Philip Atkins, leader Staffordshire County Council
Sharon Taylor OBE, leader Stevenage Borough Council
Sue Derbyshire, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Bob Cook, leader Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Mohammed Pervez, leader Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Geoffrey Wheeler, leader Stroud District Council
Paul Watson, leader Sunderland City Council
David Hodge, leader Surrey County Council
Ruth Dombey, leader London Borough of Sutton
Andrew Bowles, leader Swale Borough Council
David Renard, leader Swindon Borough Council
Kieran Quinn, leader Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Kuldip Sahota, leader Telford and Wrekin Council
Peter Halliday, leader Tendring District Council
Clive Hart, leader Thanet District Council
John Kent, leader Thurrock Council
Peter Box CBE, leader Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
Chris Robbins, leader Waltham Forest London Borough Council
Terry O’Neill, leader Warrington Council
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, Watford Borough Council
Philip Sanders, leader West Devon Borough Council
Lord Peter Smith, leader Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
Jane Scott, leader Wiltshire Council
Phillip Davies, leader Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Roger Lawrence, leader Wolverhampton City Council
Adrian Hardman, leader Worcestershire County Council
Richard Scott, leader Wycombe District Council
Martin Hill OBE, leader Lincolnshire County Council
Neil Clarke, leader Rushcliffe Borough Council
Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government’s own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
People working in the Civil Service and other public services are already in the fourth year of pay restraint or freeze, equating to around a 15 per cut in disposable pay.
Although there is no official equivalent for the private sector, a flatlining economy with mass unemployment militates against a successful wages movement.
As TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady recognises, “Britain’s great wage squeeze shows no sign of abating.”
Government ministers and employers’ representatives continue to observe economic green shoots invisible to the naked eye, but no-one is convinced.
The Bank of England has bunged £375 billion worth of quantitative easing into banks in the vain hope that the private sector will be enthused to borrow and to invest in growth.
There are few takers because of the prevailing sombre mood.
Companies are not confident that there is sufficient demand within the economy to make investment profitable. They await a government lead.
Recent decades have seen growing corporate dependence on the state, through privatisation, public private partnerships, public finance initiatives and government incentives and guarantees.
The idea of speculators – investors in City-speak – accumulating their own capital to risk in new ventures is a distant folk memory.
Most British capitalists, for all their bold rhetoric, have grown to rely on government finance to provide their profits, both directly and indirectly.
At the same time, since Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 big bang deregulation of financial markets, opening City trading to aggressive US companies, British companies have adopted the massive reward packages justified across the water on the basis of audacious risk taking.
The consequence of the 1986 big bang was the 2008 big bust when reality burst the derivatives and US property junk bonds market bubble, threatening the survival of major banks and even the international financial system itself.
Government bailouts of banks allegedly too big to fail have saddled many governments, our own included, with huge financial deficits.
And rather than make the financial sector pay to clear up its own mess, new Labour under Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling and the conservative coalition under David Cameron and George Osborne decided that someone else should pay the bill.
That someone was the working class, in both private and public sectors, pensioners and benefits claimants.
Top bankers have continued to receive huge financial packages, including bonuses, together with platinum parachutes, as Stephen Hester’s leaving present recently showed.
What incentive is there for banks and other transnational corporations to act differently when they prosper whatever they do?
Why should the government and its City friends lift their boots from the necks of working people and the poor when under little pressure to do so?
One of the tasks of this Saturday’s massive People’s Assembly Against Austerity event in London is to build up such pressure.
Its first task is to state simply that life doesn’t have to be like this and to put forward a declaration showing that an alternative exists.
The second and more difficult task is to win mass support for the alternative and to mobilise millions in struggle to isolate the neoliberal minority and to demand a government willing and able to chart a new course.