Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/785/17616
It's a robbery not a 'recovery'
Time for a socialist alternative to austerity
Tory Chancellor George Osborne won't be coming to Socialism 2013. He doesn't need to attend the 'Are we naturally too greedy for socialism?' workshop because he knows he definitely is, with an estimated personal fortune of £4.3 million.
And he doesn't need to hear 'An introduction to Marxist economics' because last month he claimed: "Those in favour of Plan B have lost the argument... the UK economy has strengthened rapidly over the last six months."
Last week's fall in the unemployment figures seem to back Osborne up. They showed more people working than ever, a fall in the number officially unemployed and a big drop in the claimant count.
So what's really happening in the economy? Is Osborne's Plan A for Austerity really working?
Osborne claims, "we're turning a corner." But with the UK's GDP (total output) still 2.7% below the pre-crisis level, this is the slowest economic recovery in history.
No corner has been turned for the 355,000 people going to the Trussell Trust food banks in the last six months. And it's a 'recovery' based on more debt, with a million families a month taking out pay-day loans and the beginning of a new housing bubble - the biggest increase in new jobs has been estate agents!
Meanwhile in the real economy, business investment is down, manufacturing output is still 10% below the 2007 figure and the trade deficit is widening.
So how is unemployment falling? In the last five years, there has been a doubling of those working part-time, who can't find full-time jobs, to 1.45 million. The number of self-employed has risen by 367,000 since 2008.
But this is not a sign of entrepreneurial spirit, more an army of 'odd jobbers' - handymen, cleaners, nannies and taxi drivers. 90% of the newly self-employed are part-time too, with 84% aged 50 and over.
Osborne also claims: "Our plan for the economy is a plan for living standards". For the super-rich, it is! The top 1% of earners have seen their share increase to 10% of total earnings, while the bottom 50% share has fallen to 18%.
An average full-time worker is now £30 a week worse off in real terms than in 2008.
In the last three months average wages were 0.7% higher than a year ago but prices have gone up 2.7%, meaning another 2% cut in real terms. And that's before the energy price hikes!
In the public sector, absolute pay fell by 0.5% in the last quarter. Over a million people now work more than one job to try to get by.
So if you are part of the 'squeezed majority', come to Socialism 2013. George Osborne won't be there but 1,000 others will.
Join us in discussing why capitalism doesn't work, how to fight the cuts, and more besides.
Above all, hear our alternative to Osborne's Plan A, which is Plan S for socialism!
Fight against cuts, crisis and capitalism!
A weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party - London 2-3 November
go to socialism2013.org
In The Socialist 23 October 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns