Hardly a day goes by without more fall-out from the government’s emergency budget announced last month. Announcements of cuts, some immediate and some to come, abound. No service seems safe and we will all be affected, which is why I have tabled the following motion to the NEC which meets this weeekend.Coalition Government’s economic policy (Budget motion)
This NEC condemns the 22 June Emergency Budget which added £40 bn of cuts to the £73bn of tax increases and spending cuts inherited from the New Labour Government and that that the outcome of the current spending review will be announced on 20 October with further substantial cuts implemented from April 2011.
It notes the first report of the new Office for Budget Responsibility, released on 14 June, which downgrades UK growth forecasts for 2011 and 2012, highlighting in particular the weak recovery and uncertain prospects of our major trading partners in Europe
NEC believes that the fiscal costs of the 2008 financial meltdown are being used as the pretext for a concerted onslaught on public provision and welfare entitlements in the UK, across Europe and around the world. This will further depress our economies and compound the hardship, insecurity and injustice already suffered by working people and vulnerable groups.
It notes that the UK economy shrank by 6% during the course of the recession, and that growth has barely restarted in 2010. The slump in private sector investment shows little sign of lifting, with official unemployment now standing at 2.5 million, and inactivity rates far higher. Meanwhile the European economy is teetering on the edge of another downward spiral.
NEC believes that public investment and expenditure has been essential to preventing an even steeper decline in employment and demand, as well as providing vital help and support to all those struggling to cope with redundancies, reduced incomes, repossessions, and rising joblessness.
NEC notes that the UK coalition government plans to force through an unprecedented programme of cuts that will withdraw support at a critical time and will result in hundreds of thousands more people being thrown out of work. Combined with austerity packages now being imposed throughout Europe, the danger of dragging the continent and even the world economy as a whole into a second downward spiral is now very real.
Fighting the cuts is a high priority and to that end this NEC resolves to continue working with the TUC, the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group and through similar alliances within our regional and local TUCs, the STUC, the WTUC and the ICTU;
It reaffirms the importance for NUJ members of campaigning in our communities, with the broad alliance of trades councils, groups and organisations threatened by cuts and privatisation, and working closely with those who depend on these services.
We need to continue to develop, promote and organise around an alternative national, European and global economic model that reconnects a strong, dynamic economy to the living standards of all. More income equality, not less; a strong, innovative public sector delivering equality of opportunity and outcome, funded through progressive taxation of high incomes, corporate profits and financial transactions; defending jobs now through government intervention and creating sustainable and healthy jobs for the future through proper regulation, investment in manufacturing, housing and environmental technologies; planning a just transition to a greener economy and a fairer pattern of international development.
This NEC supports the ETUC’s call for a European Day of Action against cuts on 29 September by planning, coordinating and mobilising our members for local, regional, national and international demonstrations that will make clear the determination of workers and citizens to protect and build upon the social gains that the Coalition government in the UK and other European governments are attempting to roll back.
In addition we support and encourage our members to join the demonstration at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on 3 October called by the Right to Work Campaign and any similar initiative at the Liberal Democratic Autumn Conference in Liverpool on 18-22 September.