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Flooding


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From: The Socialist issue 883, 6 January 2016: Fight the flood of cuts

Search site for keywords: Austerity - Cuts - Government - Flooding - Local government

Fight the flood of cuts

Tom Baldwin

Parts of northern England, north Wales and Scotland were hit by severe flooding over the holidays, leaving many families wondering how to rebuild their lives.

Yet this was not simply a natural disaster. Government cuts to flood defences made the problem worse.

In 2014, following months of flooding, Prime Minister Cameron said lessons would be learnt, and yet the cuts continued. Now, he is cynically trying to generate good headlines by pledging 40 million, while cutting a further 115 million this year.

Once again the Tories are sticking rigidly to their austerity agenda in the face of all the facts.

Austerity means robbing from ordinary people to give to big business and the super-rich. This course is demanded by the capitalist system which always puts profits first.

Cuts

It's not just flooding where this is being felt. Local councils have had their funding cut by 40%, with more to come.

Even the Conservative councillor who heads the Local Government Association has warned: "If councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020."

This shocking prospect cannot be allowed to become reality. The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader shows there is an appetite to fight austerity. But we can't wait until 2020 to do this; the waters of cuts and privatisation are rising now.

The example of junior doctors, who have announced a series of strike dates, should be an inspiration to all those facing attacks from this government. The more we can stand and fight together, the stronger we'll be.

The struggle against austerity needs to put a socialist alternative, where it would be the working class which owns and democratically controls the wealth we produce and not a tiny super-rich minority who feel they can dictate to the rest of us.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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