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Welcome to the real Manchester
NEW LABOUR leaders will queue up at this week's Labour Party conference to proclaim Manchester an economic success story. The true picture makes grim reading.
Jim Cessford, Manchester Advice senior Unison steward (personal capacity)
In a current report entitled "Review of advice services in Manchester," which ironically looks like leading to proposed cuts for advice services, there are damning statistics on the reality for working-class communities.
Under this government a million jobs have been lost in industry, continuing the devastation begun by Thatcher. The report says only 15% of jobs are in manufacturing as compared with 40% in the 1960s, and there is a trend towards casual, part-time and temp jobs.
Every week it seems another news story announces the loss of better-paid skilled jobs, with low-paid service sector employment a so-called 'replacement'. Even before recession really bites, over a quarter of the population of the city are workless. If 20,000 to 60,000 jobs are lost every month around the country, as the bosses' organisation the CBI predicts, Greater Manchester will get hammered.
Under Manchester's Labour council our communities are almost entirely ignored, while the councillors only seem bothered about the city centre 'boom'. Councils in other parts of Greater Manchester have done no better. Running down social housing and giving a free rein to cowboy private landlords means 47% of Manchester homes don't meet the government's "decent homes standard".
Official homeless figures are more than twice the national average. An appalling one-third of Manchester households, 57,863 people or families, are likely to spend over 10% of their income to heat and light their homes. Almost two-thirds of wards are amongst the poorest 5% in England with all but five wards in the poorest 10%.
Minimum wages, long working hours and run-down housing means Manchester men on average die younger than men anywhere else in England. In only four other parts of the country do women have a lower life expectancy.
This is a terrible glimpse of the reality for working-class people struggling to make ends meet, while politicians and their big-business friends have never had it so good. New Labour's "success" story has only benefited the rich. It's high time we built a party to benefit the majority through socialist policies to create real improvements.
In The Socialist 17 September 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Labour Party conference protest
Privatisation and closure
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review