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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 February 2020

Austerity kills

We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson

We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Thieving cuts to incomes and services mean workers are dying younger and suffering sickness for longer. Austerity is killing us.

In fact, overall life expectancy has stopped creeping up for the first time in a century. The upward curve started flattening out ten years ago, when austerity began in earnest. Worse - among the poorest tenth of women in the North East, and Yorkshire and the Humber, it's now going backwards.

"Austerity has taken a significant toll on equity and health," says public health researcher Michael Marmot, "and it is likely to continue to do so." Professor Marmot led the new review for University College London's Institute of Health Equity.

"Poverty has a grip on our nation's health - it limits the options families have available to live a healthy life. Government health policies that focus on individual behaviours are not effective. Something has gone badly wrong."

Meanwhile, in the time since the world financial crash, the wealth of the super-rich has expanded like a monstrous tumour. The number of billionaires in the UK has more than doubled, from 68 to 151.

And from 2007 to 2019, the Sunday Times Rich List recorded the fortunes of the UK's richest 1,000 growing from 360 billion to 525 billion! But workers' wages have only just 'recovered' to their pre-crisis peak in 2008 - and our public services continue to decline.

This is naked class disparity. In former 'red wall' areas in the deindustrialised Midlands and North, the more affluent long-held Tory areas can look forward to 65 years of good health. Poorer Labour and ex-Labour constituencies can expect just 61. And the report "is concerned with England, but in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the damage to health and wellbeing is similarly unprecedented."

"From rising child poverty and the closure of children's centres, to declines in education funding, an increase in precarious work and zero-hours contracts, to a housing affordability crisis and a rise in homelessness, to people with insufficient money to lead a healthy life and resorting to food banks in large numbers, to ignored communities with poor conditions and little reason for hope...

"Austerity will cast a long shadow over the lives of the children born and growing up under its effects." A higher proportion of children now live in poverty in the UK than in the Republic of Ireland or Poland.

It is criminal that the richest 1,000 have gained hundreds of billions while the rest of us have lost years off our lives.

It is a consequence of capitalism, a system where private profit, not social need, is the motor force.

The Socialist Party demands an immediate end to all austerity. Restore full funding to the NHS and public services. Raise the minimum wage and benefits so they're really enough to live on. Scrap zero-hour contracts and bring in free education and childcare.

And nationalise the banks and big business, under democratic workers' control and management, to plan provision for all.

Coordinated trade union action can force the bosses to give us more. And councils must set no-cuts budgets to meet local needs, and demand that Westminster fund them. Capitalism kills - socialist policies are a matter of life and death.

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In The Socialist 26 February 2020:


News

Austerity kills

Average wages recover to pre-crisis levels - but we're still over a decade behind

Bezos gives $10bn for climate - nationalise the rest!

Weinstein found guilty


What we think

Immigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite


Universities strike

Solidarity with striking university staff

University workers' strike over pay, pensions and workload escalates


Council cuts

Coventry: A socialist councillor who will vote against cuts

Number of women killed by current or ex-partner rises

Leicester: We can't take any more cuts, any more misery, and we are fighting back

Students and workers out together on Budget Day, 11 March

Stop the council cuts

Council cuts could cost Labour another general election


Workplace news

Packed meeting of workplace militants, strikers, socialists and trade union leaders

All out to win Royal Mail strike reballot

PCS union relaunches pay campaign

Workers call on Interserve bosses to recognise union

Anti-academy strikes growing


International news

Germany: Right-wing terror attacks - fight racism, fight capitalism!

Northern Ireland's strike wave


The BBC

This is the BBC: fight the cuts - and the capitalist media


Campaigns

Congress 2020 appeal: Donate to help us renew vital resources

Housing cuts cost lives

Socialist sellers


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Austerity:

triangleCoronavirus and domestic violence: a double threat to women's lives

triangleCoventry socialist candidate wins votes against austerity

triangleCouncils must break austerity rules

triangleBook: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

triangleInternational Women's Day: Fighting sexism and austerity

Health:

triangleLeicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

triangleConstruction site bosses put profits first

Poverty:

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The politics of food poverty

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

triangleThem & Us

Children:

triangleCoronavirus and school closures: what needs to be done now

triangleAnti-academy strikes kick off in Redbridge

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