SUCH is the crisis of British capitalism more than half of the adult population, 27 million people, have had to be financially assisted by the capitalist state, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak warning on Monday night that his ‘furlough’ scheme will soon cost as much, or even more than, the National Health Service.
Sunak added: ‘To anyone who is anxious about this I want to give them reassurance today that there will be no cliff edge to the furlough scheme.’ However, it is due to end on June 30th, when the UK will wake up to some 11 million unemployed.
Sunak’s version of the government frenzy to get the working class back to work, regardless of the coronavirus plague, was: ‘I’m working as we speak to figure out the most effective way to wind down the furlough scheme and to ease people back to work in a measured way.’
The government is in fact desperate to force the working class back to work, regardless of the coronavirus, to the point where even the right wing TUC, and transport unions the RMT, ASLEF and TSSA, have opposed any return with the virus still raging.
Sunak spoke as 100,000 small businesses applied for the new emergency loan scheme ‘Bounce Back’ to receive £50,000 from the government, making for an extra £5bn of lending in a single day!
Hotel tycoons Sir Rocco Forte and Richard Carin, the chairman of Caprice Holdings, are even demanding that financial support for hospitality firms be extended indefinitely.
Sir Rocco said, that to avoid the loss of millions more jobs, the furlough scheme ‘should not stop when lockdown is lifted. We will have to wait for international travel to come back to get back to normal.’
The massive financial crisis is driving the government to end the lockdown and force workers to return to work, whatever the conditions, or face immediate bankruptcy and a major collapse of the pound as the bosses demand permanent furloughing.
British Airways, and its chief executive at the IAG parent company Willie Walsh, plans to sack 12,000 BA workers, and has warned that IAG will abandon Gatwick Airport. He has also refused to attend today’s hearing of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee.
Alex Cruz, who heads IAG, condemned the fact that there has been no government-backed taxpayers bailout for the company and said that keeping staff on a state-funded furlough scheme is not a solution to the problems that the company faces. The big employers want a direct subsidy bailout for their companies!
Meanwhile, the Eurozone countries have started to end their lockdowns in ultra-crisis conditions, with workers returning to the factories in Spain and Italy. The Sentix Confidence Survey for the Eurozone has pointed to a ‘breathtaking crash’ in its economy with both new orders and exports crashing.
The Eurozone manufacturing PMI index fell sharply in March from 44.5 to 33.4 surpassing the previous record lows of the 2008 financial crisis. Both the UK and the EU are now gripped by a massive political and economic crisis.
In the UK, a bankrupt regime is now hundreds of billions in debt from propping up bankrupt capitalism, and must end the lockdown as a matter of life or death. It cannot extend the furlough. In the EU it is becoming more and more every capitalist state for itself.
What is required is the building of sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International throughout the EU to lead the European socialist revolution.
In the UK the Labour Party is aligning itself with the Johnson Tory government and is waiting for the call to join a National Government. The trade unions, led by the TUC and the rail unions, have refused to support Johnson’s return to work, since it endangers workers’ lives. They must condemn any National Government plan.
The time for workers’ action has arrived in the UK. Workers must make the trade unions and the TUC call a general strike and occupy all workplaces to bring down the government and go forward to a workers government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries under workers control and management and bring in socialism. This is the way forward both in the UK and throughout the EU!