IN HIS speech to the Tory party conference on Monday, chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to ‘use the overwhelming might of the British state’ in order ‘to create, support and extend opportunity’ to as many people as possible.
In fact, the Tories have used the might of the state to enrich criminals in both the underworld and the banks.
At the start of the coronavirus lockdown, the Tories rushed through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme that provided emergency loans to businesses of up to £50,000 to keep them from going under. These loans were made by banks and were underwritten by taxpayers’ money if these loans turned bad.
It turns out that 60% of these loans will never be repaid. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), taxpayers could lose as much as £26bn, from fraud, organised crime or default.
The Bounce Back scheme was introduced with virtually no checks on firms applying for loans and an investigation by the BBC has revealed that fraudsters simply set up bogus companies and claimed the £50,000 before closing up and moving on.
The BBC uncovered evidence of more than 100 bogus firms set up by scammers to make fraudulent applications. On top of this, of course, will be the huge number of firms, that have been kept going thanks to these loans, going bust when the furlough scheme ends at the end of this month.
Not that the banks who loaned this money are worrying or complaining, since it is the working class that will be forced to pay the bill pay through huge tax rises.
On top of this, the banks themselves have made a tidy profit out of the interest they are charging for making these risk-free loans. The UK’s five biggest banks, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander, which provided £31.3bn of funding are in line for £1.07 billion in interest payment.
The working class will pay for the fraudsters and bankers massive profits and the Tories are, as Sunak promised, prepared to use the ‘overwhelming might’ of the capitalist state to try to make sure that they do.
Sunak made this clear in his speech when he also warned that dealing with the effects of the pandemic would not be ‘cost-free’ and that ‘hard choices are everywhere.’
Tory ‘hard choices’ means imposing the massive debt – run up to keep a bankrupt British capitalist system going – on the working class, by inflicting mass unemployment of over 4 million along with wage-cutting and the most savage austerity cuts to public spending that will dwarf anything carried out by the previous Cameron government.
The working class meanwhile is beginning to make its own choices. This can be seen in the decision by Unite (the UK and Ireland’s biggest union) to cut its funding of the Labour Party by £700,000.
This move followed Unite general secretary Len McCluskey warning two months ago that the union’s support must not be ‘taken for granted,’ and that members were saying to the leadership that they were not sure ‘what Labour stands for’.
Workers have in fact reached the conclusion that the Labour Party stands for only one thing – complete support for the Tories and every single one of its policies to save British capitalism at the expense of the working class, including the mass unemployment and super austerity that Sunak is promising.
Labour leader Starmer is already rehearsing the role that he will play when Labour is invited to form a national government with the Tories.
Under pressure from the working class, McCluskey and the Unite executive can no longer just blindly go along with Keir Starmer and the Labour leadership in their drive to form a national government with the Tories to dump the cost of the capitalist crisis onto the backs of the working class.
McCluskey has been forced by workers to take the first step towards Unite and other trade unions breaking with the Labour Party.
With capitalism in the grip of a massive historic crisis and plunging into collapse, the only way forward today is for the working class to completely break with the Labour Party and to go forward to rapidly building up the Workers Revolutionary Party to organise bringing down the Tories, seizing the power through smashing the capitalist state, and going forward to a workers government and socialism.