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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2011

Fast news

Dark days

The combined effects of the capitalist recession, wage and benefit cuts, tax increases, job losses and other government austerity measures have hammered UK living standards.

In a recent report the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is predicting a 3.5% fall in typical household income in the year to April, the largest drop since 1981 - ie since the darkest days of the recession engineered by the then Tory Thatcher government.

The report says: "Previous IFS research has already shown that the decline in average living standards looks set to continue until at least 2013-14. Taken together, this would mean that the UK had experienced one of the worst decades for changes in living standards since at least the Second World War. The Great Recession thus looks set to cast a very long shadow."

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, admitted earlier in the year that the drop in living standards would be the worst in a generation.

The Trades Union Congress has published a study showing that working families will see their living standards fall by more than 4,600 by 2013 as below inflation wages, benefit cuts and public spending cuts turn the screw on households.

Journalists targeted

At the demonstration against the racists and hooligan English Defence League (EDL) in east London on 3 September, a number of journalists were targeted for attack by EDL members.

Journalists and photographers were threatened and harassed and some were physically assaulted. Shockingly, one photographer was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set on fire.

The National Union of Journalists is defending its members who were attacked and is campaigning against this attempt to prevent the exposure of the violent and racist nature of many of the EDL's members and followers.

Consumer depression

The largest shopping mall in Europe opened its doors to much fanfare this week. The Westfield Stratford City mall at the entrance to the 2012 Olympic site in east London boasts hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. However, Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium was less than sanguine about its opening in the current economic climate: "Any retailer or developer would want to be able to choose a time to open, and we wouldn't choose the conditions we have now."

He added: "Consumer confidence is very weak. Our own figures for August showed that spending was only 1.5% higher than in August a year ago, but that is less than inflation and we've had a VAT rise. People bought less stuff this year than a year ago. And all the indicators are that people feel their own costs are rising."

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 14 September 2011:

Socialist Party features

We need a programme of action to fight back!

Austerity policies strangle growth

Socialist Party youth and students

Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!

Low pay and the housing crisis

Youth must join pensions struggle

EMA cuts: doors close on our future

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings

Stop attacks on pensions

Hands off our pensions!

NHS pensions - Pay more, work longer and get less!

Socialist Party workplace news


Support Wyndeham workers

No to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

How can the national rights of Palestinians be achieved?

Socialist Party news and analysis

NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

Nationalise the banking system!

Childcare costs push parents into hardship

Save our NHS

Fast news

Socialist Party review

Power and terror

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Surrey libraries!

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Hundreds march against Dale Farm evictions

May Day protest case goes to Strasbourg


Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

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