Austerity is the controlled demolition of the welfare state

Published on Socialist Unity, by SU Editorial Team, June 13, 2013.

The breadth and depth of cuts in public sector jobs, pay and frontline services might lead some to believe that austerity exists and public spending is being reduced. However, public spending is actually 4% higher today that in 2010. We are not experiencing short term disruption to balance the books, we are experiencing the controlled demolition of the welfare state – transferring the UK from a social democracy to a corporate state.   

Schools:

  • Successive governments have dissolved the model of state owned schools, staffed by public sector employees. Today, our children largely attend privately owned schools, where the majority of services in the schools are delivered by private sector staff. The results have seen costs soar and quality plummet.
  • Academy Schools are publicly funded independent state schools (limited companies)– this means they receive their funding from central government and are accountable directly to central government, rather than their Local Authority. Contrary to the ‘Localism Agenda’ lauded by both mainstream parties, the trend is towards centralising control in Westminster. The schools are also able to make changes to staff pay and conditions, that is pay less.
  • During thirteen years of New Labour government, 203 state schools were turned into Academies. In just three years of the Coalition – this has risen more than twelve fold, to more than 2,600 (with a further 500 in the pipeline). This might suggest the programme was so successful it called for rapid national roll out. But it doesn’t.
  • A recent report by the Public Accounts Committee, the parliamentary select committee responsible for ensuring value for money for the tax payer, condemned the programme as ‘complex and inefficient’, leading to more than £1bn over spending. This £1bn had to be met by the budgets for other non-academy schools.
  • The report does not mince words and reports major issues across the programme including: poor cost control, a lack of transparency over expenditure, a governance and compliance framework prone to failure (exacerbated by significant staff cuts at the Department for Education), and confusion over roles, responsibilities and accountability.

Yet the programme continues apace … //

… Health: … //

… Social Security: … //

… It’s Not Temporary, It’s the New World Order:

  • All this is happening in what is purported to be one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. What is the point of having the world’s 22nd largest GDP, if we cannot feed our children?
  • Meanwhile, the fortunes of the FTSE100 companies is at record highs, Chief Executives are seeing 23% pay rises, taxes are being reduced for or simply not collected from the wealthiest individuals and corporations, MP expenses rose 25% last year and the Queen is about to receive a £5m pay rise from the public purse.
  • This is not a case of poor people suffering austerity while the wealthiest live large. It is a case of poor people suffering austerity in order that the wealthy live large.
  • Austerity is nothing more than the controlled demolition of the welfare state, and social democracy itself. The nation we are turning into is a less compassionate, less equal, less just nation than we have been before. This is a great step backwards and will cost us not only in human suffering, but in human lives.
  • Click here to read Part II – Law and Justice.

Take Action: … //

… (full text inclusive many hyper links).

Links:

The Bottom Line: Regulation, 7.20 min, on Econ4, by blog owner, timeless/not dated (video, text and list of signing economists);

Statement on OWS: Occupy Economics, 3.16 min, on Econ 4, by blog owner, timeless/not dated (video, text and list of signing economists);

The Geeks Who Leak, on TIME magazine, by Michael Scherer, June 24, 2013 – Correction Appended: June 13, 2013: The 21st century mole demands no payments for his secrets. He sees himself instead as an idealist, a believer in individual sovereignty and freedom from tyranny. Chinese and Russian spooks will not tempt him. Rather, it’s the bits and bytes of an online political philosophy that attract his imagination, a hacker mentality founded on message boards in the 1980s, honed in chat rooms in the ’90s and matured in recent online neighborhoods like Reddit and 4chan. He believes above all that information wants to be free, that privacy is sacred and that he has a responsibility to defend both ideas …;

G8 summit 2013:

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