Thursday, 21 October 2010

One in 10 Midlands jobs under threat - and the Tories cheer

According to the Birmingham Mail today, “1 in 10 jobs may go in the West Midlands as a result of the biggest spending cuts in Britain since the Second World War”.

And when Tory Chancellor George Osborne stood up in parliament and announced this attack on jobs, public services and the welfare state, his MPs cheered every cut. That is how much they understand what the real impact of this is going to be for individuals, families and entire communities.

The price for the financial crisis is going to be paid by people who had nothing to do with causing it. The bankers will keep their bonuses. The shareholders will keep their profits. And the 23 millionaires in the Tory-Lib Dem cabinet will not have to worry about their jobs, how to pay the bills, or where their pension is going to come from.

On top of that there is no evidence that this bonfire of public service jobs will actually work. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winner in economics, says it is no more than a gamble:

“Britain is embarking on a highly risky experiment.... If Britain were wealthier, or if the prospects of success were greater, it might be a risk worth taking. But it is a gamble with almost no potential upside. Austerity is a gamble which Britain can ill afford.”

His conclusion is simple: “Austerity converts downturns into recessions, recessions into depressions.”

An alternative exists – based on investment not cuts – and the more this is understood, the better we will be able to resist the Coalition government’s plan to destroy our welfare state.