20 per cent government cuts and wage-freezing being planned

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THE moment of truth is fast approaching for British capitalism.

The British capitalist economy is in its death agony with falls in production taking place greater than the 1930s, while the state is heading for a £1.2 trillion deficit.

Already, giant monopolies like BT are proposing to sack 15,000 workers and are urging others to volunteer for a one-year 75-per-cent wage-cut work holiday, or to become part-time workers.

Previously, rail privateers had a perspective that they would be private empire builders. Now, after National Express has crashed and its East Coast rail line has had to be renationalised, their future looks bleak.

Steelmaker Corus has decided to sack over 2,000 workers.

The motor car industry is on short-time working while Business Secretary Mandelson is preparing sackings in GM Ellesmere Port and closure for GM Luton.

While capitalist industry collapses, the slogan of the City, after Labour’s multi-billion rescue of the big bankers, is ‘Bonuses are Back’.

However, while they are imitating Marie Antoinette and the workers are suffering, the massive refinancing of the banks carried out by Brown is creating the conditions where up to £130 bn in cuts will have to be made.

Britain’s state apparatus is already drawing up the plans. Behind the parliamentary scene the top permanent heads of the civil service are planning the bail-out of capitalist Britain by imposing 20 per cent cuts in every government department, including health and education.

They have decided that this is what the next government of the UK will have to carry out, regardless of whether it is Labour or Tory. The day after the next general election they will hand their orders to whomever is to lead the government.

Devastating 20 per cent cuts will mean the end of the NHS and the Welfare State, with both being replaced by top-up payments, private contractors and charities, while hundreds of thousands of NHS and public sector workers will be sacked.

Meanwhile, both the leading parties are readying for the task ahead, with the Tories calling for 10 per cent cuts in government spending, while Labour’s Darling said yesterday that Labour has not ruled out a public sector pay freeze.

The Civil Service is quite cynical about both gangs of politicians.

Lord Turnbull, the former cabinet secretary, said yesterday that ‘The civil servants will have to assume that whatever both parties are saying today, in the end they will have to be bolder. What politicians say on the record will underestimate the magnitude of the task.’

David Halpern, Tony Blair’s former chief policy adviser, claimed yesterday in the Sunday Times that savage cuts in public spending of more than £130 billion will be needed to solve the crisis.

What is being planned is an all-out attack on the working class to maintain capitalism by turning them into paupers.

In the face of this assault, the leaders of the trade unions are paralysed. They refuse to oppose the closures, the mass sackings and the wage cuts.

They have suggested and supported wage cuts throughout industry. The CWU does not oppose the 75 per cent annual wage cuts plan at BT, while Unite refuses to call for the nationalisation of GM Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Workers must get rid of these misleaders and build the leadership of the WRP in the trade unions. They must refuse all wage cuts and oppose all sackings. They must occupy the plants and organise action to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers’ government.

The only fitting answer to the capitalist crisis is a socialist revolution.