“Pots and Pans” protest v Autumn Statement (cos Austerity ain’t working!)
1730hrs 3rd Dec outside Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Peoples Assembly event supported by Sheffield TUC
Brings some pots and pans to bang on Wednesday to make somne NOISE against Austerity. We always said it wouldn’t work – now the facts apeak for themselves!
When George Osborne announces his Autumn Statement on Wednesday 3rd December he’ll no doubt claim his Austerity plan to “fix” our economy is still on course. But Austerity isn’t working – well it’s not working for the majority of us anyway!
· wages have fallen in real terms by up to 10% since 2010 – the first actual fall in working peoples’ living standards since the thirties
· the state pension has fallen in value to just 15% of average earnings – the lowest in Europe after Malta, Estonia and Latvia!
· more than 5 million people languish on the minimum wage – many on zero hours contracts. 4.5 millions are so-called “self-employed” with no workers rights at all!
· the dreaded bedroom tax, and cuts in the real value of benefits, has seen evictions rise to record levels – and poor people displaced by some London councils to cheaper housing hundreds of miles away
· a vicious regime of benefits sanctions has led to an explosion in the number of Food Banks in UK – a disgrace in the 6th richest nation in the world!
· a housing crisis that puts the price of putting a roof over your head beyond the means of millions of working poor – and a housing benefit bill that has literally gone through the roof as private rents soar
· our public services are failing due to spending cuts (£20B cuts to our NHS alone) and privatisation is costing us a fortune!
· workers’ rights and trade union rights under attack
It’s no wonder tax receipts are down (because of a real fall in incomes) and government spending on supporting poverty is up (in spite of cuts in real value of benefits). The stark fact that George Osborne dares not admit is the austerity spending cuts don’t reduce the deficit – they actually increase it!
But Austerity is working for some – the very wealthiest in our society!
· the richest 1000 Britons increased their wealth by £70B – just in the last year!
· millionaires received an average £107,000 tax cut per year under this Government
· corporation tax was slashed from 28% to 22%
· £120B worth of taxes is avoided, evaded or simply uncollected by the Treasury from rich individuals and wealthy corporations -and that’s every single year!
· austerity has seen a massive shift in wealth from the poor to the rich!
· increasing VAT to 20% helped switch the tax burden from the rich to the poor
FACT: the biggest drop in the deficit occurred in Labour’s last two years of office (2008-2010) – when not a single penny in public spending was cut!
FACT: it wasn’t excess public spending that caused the deficit – it was the banking crash of 2007/8 and the huge cost of bailing out the banks
FACT: spending cuts are depressing the economy, reducing tax income to the Treasury and increasing spending on poverty – causing the deficit to grow!
FACT: capitalist corporations are sitting on reserves of £700B as directors’ salaries soar, bankers’ bonuses boom and share prices increase
There IS an alternative. We should use the public sector as a motor for recovery and invest in a programme of jobs and sustainable growth to kickstart the economy. We could print money (quantative easing) or borrow money (interest levels are at record lows) or recover the missing tax billions to do the following:
· build 1 million council homes at affordable rents putting people back to work and massively reduce the cost of housing benefits – and solve the housing crisis!
· invest in 1 million green jobs – in public transport, renewable energy and building insulation. That’s great fro the economy AND the environment!
· raise the minimum wage to £10 per hour which would massively reduce Government spending on working tax credits – reduce the deficit AND stimulate the economy!
· reverse privatisation of our public services which has cost us more e.g. our railways cost us 4 times as much as a publicly owned one!
· increase benefits and pensions to distribute wealth to those who need it most – gving money to those who need it who would spend it goods and services
· regularise collective bargaining as the best means of redistributing wealth and delivering safer more productive workplaces
So we’ve got plenty to bang on about! Bring you pots and pans to make some NOISE for a better future – and tell George Osborne where to go with his hated Austerity!
1730hrs outside the Town Hall Pinstone Street Sheffield Wednesday 3rd December
(the protest is expected to last around one hour)
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