The UK banks were rescued – Now the Tories are throwing the steel industry to the dogs!


LABOUR PM Gordon Brown, after the financial collapse in 2008 and with the full support of the Tories, rescued the UK banks from their financial disaster.

Funding was made available to an aggregate total of £500 billion in loans and guarantees. £200 billion was made available for short-term loans through the Bank of England’s Special Liquidity Scheme, while the government underwrote lending between British banks, giving a loan guarantee of around £250 billion.

The Brown government established the Bank Recapitalisation Fund with £25 billion available in the first instance, with a further £25 billion to be called upon if needed. The ruling class was determined that the banks had to be saved, and they are still being propped up! In October 2015 the Tory government said it would sell its final stake in Lloyds with shares offered to private investors. However, in January 2016 Chancellor George Osborne said the sale was being delayed owing to turbulent markets. The government still owns 73% of RBS and just under 10% of Lloyds.

The Tories are definitely the faithful servants of the banks! Their austerity programmes since 2010 have been to pay the costs of the great bank rescue! Meanwhile, the capitalist world economy is entering into an even deeper and more desperate crisis than in 2007-8. As the ex-governor of the Bank of England, King, has warned a new catastrophe lies ahead and a new banking crash.

The Tories have been carrying out a massive austerity programme for the last six years, and are absolutely determined that the working class will continue to pay for this crisis-ridden system. Their attitude to the crisis that grips Tata Steel and the steel industry is that steel can go to the dogs – and the working class with it. Only the banks matter, as they once again get ready for a new banks bail-out.

Steel workers at Scunthorpe are now balloting, with the union leaders telling them that the only way to save their jobs is to accept a three per cent wage cut and cuts in their pensions to begin to satisfy the requirements of the venture capitalists Greybull Capital, who have purchased the Scunthorpe plant for £1!

They are being urged to accept a one year deal, and to trust Greybull Capital, with Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke declaring: ‘The workforce is making great sacrifices and we expect Greybull to stand by assurances that it is in it for the long term.’ The truth is that Greybull will make savage cuts, blackmail workers with the threat of closure, bank its profits, and then close the plant!

The Tory government is standing back and saying that it may extend loans on a commercial basis to the Greybull pirates. The real basis for any loans will be that Greybull attacks the steel workers on all fronts and, once again, threatens closure every time its proposals are challenged.

Meanwhile, thousands of steel workers in Port Talbot are being told that Tata is looking for a new buyer ‘for them’ but that big changes will have to be made to make the acquisition more attractive to the banks and financial asset-strippers.

The Tories are opposed to even a temporary nationalisation of the plant – after all it is not a bank! They will extend loans to any would-be buyer on a commercial basis, that is, that they will take the trade unions on using the jobs blackmail to the full.

The Tories are, in fact, washing their hands of the steel industry to concentrate on securing the fortunes of the big bosses and the banks. In this they are being aided by the trade union leaders and the TUC who are refusing to lead any struggle to defend the steel industry, preferring to believe the ‘assurances’ of the bosses, while their members are fighting for their lives.

Instead, they are seeking to cuddle up to Cameron by going softly on the steel issue and supporting him in the EU referendum, in order to try and get some compromise over the new anti-union legislation. They are selling out their members! This kind of trade union leadership is capable only of organising disasters and surrendering all of the gains that the working class has made in the UK since 1945.

We urge Scunthorpe steel workers to reject the wage cutting, pension cutting plan of Greybull Capital, and to unite with the Port Talbot workers in occupying the plants and demanding their nationalisation under workers management, and a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and a socialist planned economy!