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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2010

'Get on your bike'

AT THE height of the 1981 recession Tory cabinet minister Norman Tebbit infamously demanded that the unemployed 'get on their bikes' and move to areas where, supposedly, there were jobs.

Last week, the current Tory work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, also told unemployed council tenants to move to areas where there are jobs. The Tory MP hinted that he wanted powers to force them to move.

IDS says millions are trapped in "ghettos of poverty" with high unemployment, unable to move for fear of losing their homes. But his strategy of turning the unemployed into industrial nomads wandering the Home Counties in search of work is deeply flawed.

Even if jobs in areas of low unemployment were readily available, there clearly is not enough social housing in these places to enable council tenants from unemployment hotspots to swap their council houses and move.

And in areas like the south east the high cost of housing means that workers would need to be earning over 50,000 a year to think about applying for a mortgage on a modest-sized house in the cheapest London borough.

It is already the case that due to the lack of social housing many essential workers such as health workers, firefighters, teachers, etc, cannot afford to live in high cost areas in the south east but are forced to commute long distances.

Rising unemployment is not the result of uncooperative council tenants refusing to travel but the result of a deep capitalist recession made worse through government spending cuts.

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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 30 June 2010:

Only one choice... Fight back!


War and occupation

Western strategy on Afghanistan in tatters


Socialist Party editorial

From stimulus to austerity at dizzying speed


No Job Cuts

Academies: Fight the Tories' offensive on state education

Opposing the slash and burn budget

Spending cuts increase deaths

'Get on your bike'

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison general secretary election: Prentis vote falls despite Con-Dem attacks

Tube workers ballot for action

Thousands of jobcentre workers threatened with dole

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

United for Education day of action 21 June

Students say no to rip-off graduation ceremony

No to cuts in EMA!


National Shop Stewards Network

National Shop Stewards Network conference: An urgent call for united working class action


International socialist news and analysis

France, Italy: Workers struggle against savage austerity cuts

Australia: Gillard replaces Rudd but Labour's right wing policies remain


Socialist Party review

Trotsky admirer copies his idol


Global Warming

Challenging the global warming sceptics


 

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