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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 September 2008

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.

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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.

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In The Socialist 17 September 2008:


Credit crunch

It's time to fight back!


Socialist Party editorial

Capitalist crisis - Karl Marx was right


Anti-racism

No to racism: Yes to decent jobs, homes & services!


Socialist Party campaigns

Socialist candidate gains 40% of vote, stuns Usdaw leaders

Conflict in Georgia - independent position needed

Brown's feeble fuel package


Labour Party conference protest

Protest at war and occupation

Welcome to the real Manchester

Fighting city needs a fighting party

Panicky MPs turn on Labour


Privatisation and closure

No to post office closures

Protesters tackle Metro privatisation


Socialist Party feature

Middle East: End imperialist aggression!


Socialist Party workplace news

London bus strike: "Showing them our power"

Pickets cheer in West London

Ford workers meet to defend jobs

Journalists win union recognition victory

2008 Trades Union Congress: Pressure from below begins to show

Swansea rail workers fighting for a living wage

fastnews


International socialist news and analysis

Interview with Cindy Sheehan: "Some kind of populist uprising needs to happen"

Scotland: Tactical questions for local government pay battle


Socialist Party review

'Bob Marley' reviewed by Jason Toynbee


 

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