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ROBERT GRIFFITHS: 'Chancellor hammers the poor to pay the rich and big business'

Statement from Robert Griffiths, Communist Party general secretary, December 5, 2012 on the Treasury programme of cuts, impoverishment and forced industrial decline.

One half of the Tory-LibDem strategy is on course, namely, to dismantle and privatise the Welfare State and to state education and the NHS in England over to big business. But he wants a little extra time to complete the job of throwing Britain back socially by 100 years.
  The other half is in chaos, because Chancellor Osborne relies on the private sector, dominated by spivs and gamblers in the City of London, to revive economic growth.
  He does not appear to understand that smashing the public sector and slashing working class incomes destroys demand in the private sector.
  Adding to the £213 billion cuts programme, which began under New Labour, will postpone economic recovery rather than stimulating it. Nobody should be fooled that mildly reducing pension tax relief for the wealthy justifies hammering the poorest one-fifth of the population still harder. 
  More tax cuts, especially for the rich and big business, are being funded by three-year real-term cuts in benefits for the poor, unemployed and single parents. 
  The energy, retail, transport and banking sharks are fighting to squeeze maximum profits out of millions of people whose wages, pensions and benefits are shrinking.
  Ripping off consumers is creating bigger profits for rich shareholders, not more demand, investment or jobs in the economy. 
  No wonder the Chancellor's fiscal and growth forecasts have all gone wrong. Those of his supine Office for Budget Responsibility owe more to the sunny optimism of Pollyanna that to the science of political economy.  
  Rather than using public money to guarantee super-profits for private investment, through revamped PFI and similar infrastructure wheezes, the government should fund direct public investment from progressive taxation and, if necessary, low-interest borrowing. The top priority for capital spending should be a massive construction programme for new public sector housing.
  Windfall taxes on monopoly profits in the energy, retail, armaments and financial sectors would raise much of the money needed.
  So, too, would a Wealth Tax on the super-rich and the closure of all overseas tax havens under British jurisdiction.
  Water, gas, electricity and the railways should all be taken into public ownership and prices reduced. 
  If the City of London, bloated with public sector subsidies, objects then the whole gambling den should be taken into public ownership.
  This is the kind of left-wing programme needed from the Labour Party leadership, not the feeble 'fair capitalism' drivel we get from current spokespersons.
  In the meantime, the struggle against austerity and privatisation and for the People's Charter as the real alternative must be stepped up. The TUC should commit itself to winning the case among workers and the general public for generalised strike action in defence of public services and the welfare state.