OVER 250,000 small firms and companies are destined to collapse this year according to research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed have already cut staff in the past three months and one-in-seven expects they will do so in the next three months.
This puts the jobs of the 16.8 million people who work in this sector at risk.
The response of the FSB to the complete collapse of small businesses, and the mass unemployment that will inevitably result, has been to call on the Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak to hand out more money to keep them going.
Last week, Sunak announced a further £4.6 billion to be given to businesses after the new lockdown measures were introduced but, according to FSB chair Mike Cherry, even this is nowhere near enough to prevent a wholesale collapse. Cherry said: ‘The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions.’
The FSB warnings were echoed by reports from accountancy firm BDO that manufacturing output in the UK last year sank to its lowest recorded level.
Not just small businesses but the entire manufacturing industry of the country is in a state of collapse with millions of workers across every sector being thrown out of work.
This appeal for the Tories to step up support has also been made by the TUC with its general secretary Frances O’Grady saying: ‘Ministers must act quickly and provide the financial help hard-hit industries badly need. They can’t watch from the sidelines as companies go to the wall and redundancies mount.’
Both the TUC and the FSB got short shrift from Sunak.
In an interview on Sunday he outright rejected calls to continue public borrowing and increase the national debt to keep companies and industry going.
Sunak said that while low interest rates made repayment on the massive national debt – standing at over an eye watering £2.1 trillion – just about affordable, he had a duty to manage the public finances in a way that was ‘sustainable over time’.
Incredibly, Sunak claimed not to know why interest rates are at historically low levels saying: ‘No-one really knows exactly, there are a lot of competing hypotheses on interest rates. We should have some humility about saying what we think will happen, how long (low rates) will last and what might happen to them in the future.’
Sunak knows full well why interest rates have been slashed to the bone – it was done by the Bank of England and all the other central banks throughout the capitalist world precisely to make debt cheap in the aftermath of the 2008 world banking crash.
Along with printing trillions of worthless paper money through Quantitative Easing (QE) near zero interest rate levels provided the bankers and bosses with unlimited supplies of debt to keep capitalism from collapse.
All this debt went straight into the pockets of the speculators and hedge funds to drive up the stock markets of the world while industry and businesses survived only through accumulating more and more debt.
Now capitalism has reached the crunch point where all this debt must be repaid – and the capitalist class is determined that workers will be the ones to pay.
Sunak has already announced a pay freeze for public sector workers and this will just be the beginning. At his budget due March 3rd Sunak will launch an all out war on the wages, benefits and services of workers and their families while at the same time ending even the paltry support to the small shopkeepers.
Workers and the middle class will be thrown to the wolves in order to save the bankers and the big capitalists.
The leaders of the trade unions, who are complicit in keeping this Tory government alive by refusing to lead any fight, must be expelled and replaced by a new revolutionary leadership that will organise the huge strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and a socialist planned economy.
This is the only way forward for the working class.