Friday, 13 February 2009

Do we have to accept a £500m budget cut?

According to news reports Wales could face budget cuts of 'up to £500m' next year. The reason - the bank-bailouts have to be paid for, and so public spending across the UK is expected to be squeezed.

The fallout from the inadequate local government and further education funding settlements was bad enough. 2010 and beyond will be a nightmare. The public sector provides more jobs pro rata in Wales than it does in other parts of the UK and so these cuts will have a bigger impact here. They'll destroy attempts to raise the GDP of the EU's Objective 1 area, West Wales and the Valleys.

The financial crisis has led Governments across the world to rewrite the rules of capitalism, contradicting the economic doctrine that they have been fighting wars over for the past fifty years. Isn't it now time for the rules to be rewritten in favour of working people? Shouldn't jobs should be the top priority? Large-scale long-term unemployment causes deep social problems which can last well into any recovery period, as many of our former mining communities know only too well. Public sector jobs are the easiest ones for the government to save. We simply can't take these cuts lying down.

Mark Serwotka of the PCS Union has said that we need a united front of politicians and trades unions, to challenge Gordon Brown. What is needed is an emergency rescue deal for the public sector. Or will the bankers continue to be the UK government's top priority?

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