OFFICIAL figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released yesterday show that gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 20.4% in the three months to June this year – the biggest quarterly decline since records began in 1955.
This followed a decline of 2.2% in the first three months of 2012.
GDP is the measure of the total value of all goods and services produced by a country over a specific time, and two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP is official confirmation that British capitalism is plunging into the deepest recession in its history.
In fact the UK economy shrank by more than any other major country in the G7 nations during this period underlining the desperate weakness of British capitalism in the face of the world crisis.
Spain’s GDP fell by 18.5%, Germany by 10.1% and the mighty US economy suffered a drop of 10%.
Britain has been hit hardest in this crisis because of its almost total reliance on the service sector and banking for generating GDP.
These are the sectors that have been crashing ever since the onset of the world crisis in 2008 which has been vastly accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Output in hotels, restaurants, banking and finance sector fell by 19.9% with the construction industry collapsing by 35%.
Manufacturing, mining and energy provision fell by 16.9%.
Bourgeois economists seized upon a modest upturn in GDP in June as the Tories started the process of forcing a return to work.
All this does, however, is underline the fact that for the Tories and the bosses driving workers back to work, including opening up schools in order to free-up families, in unsafe, dangerous conditions that will certainly lead to another surge in the virus, is an absolute imperative for capitalism.
Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘I’ve said before that hard times were ahead and today’s figures confirm that hard times are here. Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs and, sadly, in the coming months many more will. But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.’
There won’t be any opportunities for the hundreds of thousands slung out of work when furlough ends turning the recession into the biggest slump in history, greater than the Great Depression of 1929–1933.
In 1933 unemployment in the UK rose to 2.5 million – last week the Bank of England optimistically calculated that unemployment in the country would reach 2.4 million this year while all other analysis’ of the state of the economy estimated the level to be 4 million.
Capitalism will not just leave workers behind but drive them into the ground through mass unemployment, throwing millions onto the streets to survive on a pittance from Universal Credit, and the charity of food banks.
This is the only prospect the Tories are holding out to the working class and youth – being driven back to the hungry thirties, to the the days of the Jarrow hunger march on London, begging the government for food to feed the starving families of the unemployed.
The working class today will not accept mass unemployment and starvation as the price to keep the bosses and bankers in profit.
Nor will they accept the treachery of the trade union bureaucrats who capitulate to every demand from the bosses for job and wage cuts.
These leaders are not only refusing to fight job and wage cuts but are actively collaborating with the bosses to push their members into accepting these treacherous deals on the grounds that workers must sacrifice their lives for the greater good of capitalism.
These leaders must be slung out and replaced with new leaders who will organise the massive strength of the working class in strikes and occupations to prevent mass unemployment.
What is urgently required is the building of the WRP to provide the leadership in the unions that will put an end to this bankrupt capitalist system by calling a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the capitalist class and go forward to socialism.
There is no other way forward!