TORY chancellor Rishi Sunak dropped any pretence that British capitalism would stage a miraculous ‘bounce back’ when he confessed that the country faces ‘a severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen before.’
Sunak, speaking after the latest figures showing that unemployment has surged and is now six times higher than at the height of the banking crash in 2009, admitted ‘no doubt there will be more hardship to come’.
Speaking to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, Sunak exploded the myth that there would be an immediate recovery of the economy after the lockdown ended and workers were forced back to the factories and businesses.
He told the Committee: ‘The question which occupies my mind and in the long-term is more relevant is what degree of long-term scarring there is on the economy as a result of this recession?’
The chief economist at the bosses’ organisation the CBI, Rain Newton-Smith, echoed Sunak, warning: ‘I’m afraid we’re in the early days of pretty dire economic statistics that are going to get worse and worse.’
While the Tory chancellor was admitting that the Tories would soon have to cancel the Job Retention Scheme as it was unaffordable and both the Tories and the bosses agreeing there is no escape from a cataclysmic economic crash, the TUC yesterday published a report entitled ‘A Better Recovery’.
Launching this report alongside Labour shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, TUC general secretary Francis O’Grady claimed that while there can be no return to ‘business as usual’ after the pandemic, British capitalism can prosper again if the Tories formed a National Recovery Council.
This council would be made up of union leaders, the Tories and bosses – in fact it would be nothing short of a national coalition government.
To prove their worthiness to the Tories, the TUC leaders praised the government for its Job Retention Scheme and called for a similar ‘Olympic-style plan’ of industry bailouts and state investment to rebuild the economy.
O’Grady said that the TUC was calling for a return to the ‘unity’ with the employers and government which she claimed took place in the aftermath of World War Two and led to economic recovery. But there was no unity then between the working class and the employers or their political parties.
The Great War Leader Churchill and the Tory government were thrown out of office and Labour elected in a landslide victory in the 1945 general election.
With the working class in a revolutionary mood and determined not to return to the mass unemployment and poverty of the 1930s, the capitalist class was forced to retreat and concede massive reforms.
The creation of the NHS, cheap social housing, the nationalisation of certain major industries, were concessions won by the working class under the threat of social revolution.
British capitalism was able to afford these concessions only because America still had the economic strength to bailout the shattered economies of the UK and Europe thorough massive billion dollar loans – loans incidentally which Britain only finally paid back in 2006.
Today US capitalism is in no state to bailout anyone as it crashes into recession along with the entire capitalist world. Far from maintaining any of these gains, bankrupt capitalism is driven to smash them and go much further in imposing brutal austerity to make the working class pay for its world crisis.
When O’Grady boasted that ‘Unions are back ….but the state is back too’ she is offering up the trade unions to become active partners in imposing the entire cost of this crisis onto the backs of the working class.
The Tories, along with everyone in the country, are acutely aware this crisis is set to erupt in a revolutionary confrontation between workers and the capitalist system and there is nothing on earth that can prevent it.
In this revolutionary situation it is absolutely crucial for the WRP and Young Socialists to grow rapidly and provide the leadership necessary in the struggle for the working class to put an end to bankrupt capitalism through the victory of the socialist revolution. Only by seizing the power can workers and young people have any future.