This government are still hawking around the idea that they have reduced the deficit by a quarter since coming into power. This reduction has been overstated, but crucially the measurement does not include most of 2012, where the effects of austerity have really started to be seen in the double dip recession and increased unemployment.
So Austerity doesn’t work, but it certainly hurts. Cuts in services, jobs and benefits have real consequences in people’s lives. For disability benefit claimants facing ATOS assessments, this can be as serious as it is possible to be, as people declared fit for work die from their conditions. Reductions in working tax credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit leave more and more people in need of the services of food banks and we’ve also seen increasing homelessness. This problem is becoming common enough that Glasgow police arresting people shoplifting food have begun pointing them towards food banks rather than charging them.
Benefit sanctions – now up to a maximum of 3 years for unemployed people, or a loss of 70% of benefits for an indefinite period for disabled people – leave hundreds of thousands of people without money for food or heating each year. The “support” for unemployed people actually reduces someones chances of finding work. It is expected that Osborne will announce further cuts to the welfare budget tomorrow.
Vital services like Neighbourhood offices and the Citizens Advice Bureau face closure, along with childrens’ homes, women’s refuges and libraries. 50% cuts to council spending spell the “end of local government” according to Albert Bore, leader of the Labour Group in Birmingham. The Fire Service, NHS and schools all face budget cuts, and things like arts and sports funding have been decimated.The net effect of austerity is that government borrowing is rising, not falling, as spending is cut. The deficit is growing because of a drop in tax receipts and increased welfare payments. No gain, just pain.
If you think the deficit is a problem that needs to be tackled, come and join us to demonstrate against austerity which is increasing the deficit.
High Street, near Waterstones from 5pm, Wednesday 5th December. Demonstrations will also be taking place in other towns and cities around the UK. Austerity is not working, but it is hurting as services and benefits are cut. Join us to call for change, for investment in our economy towards an environmentally sustainable future and for alternatives to cuts, austerity and neo-liberal economics.
Following this demonstration, if you live in East Birmingham join us to discuss how we can work together to develop some local campaigning activity against cuts in Council services. It is intended to be an informal get together. We would also plan how we might involve people in attending and intervening at the Council organised budget consultation meeting in Yardley on Tuesday 11th December.
We aim to meet in Druckers café in the Bull Ring at 6.30pm, or sooner if the protest finishes earlier, for no more than an hour.
We are proposing to pre-meet on Tuesday 11th December at 5.20pm at The Costa’s in the Swan Centre before going to the Council consultation meeting for 6pm at South Yardley Library.