Solidarity 183, 21 October 2010

Questions and answers on the cuts

Published on: Tue, 19/10/2010 - 12:04

Martin Thomas

Q. The Lib/Tory coalition says that the government just has to make social cuts, in the same way as anyone who has "maxed out" their credit cards needs to cut back. Is that true?

A. No. In the first place, there is nothing impossible about the government continuing with a large budget deficit for a while. Governments can't "run out of money" in the same way that households or businesses can.

In the last analysis the question "where can the government get the money from?" can be answered simply: from the Bank of England printworks. There are limits on printing more cash, but the government is

AWL news

Published on: Tue, 02/11/2010 - 14:21

A carload of AWL members is going to France on the weekend 22-24 October, taking messages of solidarity with the strikes there from union branches such as Lambeth Unison, but also planning to bring back ideas, inspiration, and reports to the labour movement in Britain.

AWL conference on 16-17 October opened with a report from Ed Maltby, who had gone over to France the week before to find out about the developing movement.

Another feature of AWL conference was a hall much more extensively decorated than usual with displays and posters, thanks to the efforts of South London AWL member Jill

Life in Kim's kingdom

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 14:38

Tom Unterrainer

By the entrance to the British Museum’s Korea gallery is a case displaying a stone dagger dating from 1000-300 BC and a collection of stone arrow heads from 6000-2000 BC.

Next to these artefacts is a razor dating from the Koryo Dynasty of the 12th-13th century. The razor, used by Buddhist monks to shave their heads, was forged in the closing years of the Koryos — a ruling line from which the name “Korea” is derived.

Contrast the social, economic and technological dynamism of the besieged Koryo Dynasty — where the world’s first moveable metal type was developed — with the decrepit, kitsch

School support staff: action stops cuts

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:44

Jack Yates

Up to 2000 school support staff protested in central Nottingham on Monday 18 October in opposition to the local authority’s plans to slash their pay and conditions.

Nottingham’s Labour controlled city council — a clique of un-reconstructed Blairites — attempted to change the contracts of this overwhelming women-dominated, low paid and previously poorly organised section of the workforce to term-time only contracts, resulting in pay cuts of between £3000 and £7000. The council claimed that this blatant attack was forced upon them by “legal advice” that they were breaking the Equal Pay Act —

Schools are not safe from the cuts

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:40

Patrick Murphy, NUT Executive (Personal Capacity)

If you were to take media reports at face value you would think that schools were protected from the cuts being imposed by the Coalition government. The reality is very different.

While the money allocated to local authorities for distribution to school budgets seems likely to be protected from cuts, there is a whole ranges of services which are in real and imminent danger.

Local councils hold some money centrally which they use to maintain support services which could not be afforded by individual schools and are not needed in equal measure by all schools. The level of need in each school is

What will Browne mean?

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:33

Solidarity asked J, a UCU activist at York University, her views on the Browne Review.

The Browne Review’s proposals could open the door to an American-style system. Universities will, with a few caveats, charge whatever they like. We will have a marketplace where certain institutions pitch for working-class students by charging lower fees, while the more prestigious universities are essentially closed off to anyone who can’t afford yearly fees of £10,000 or more. Is that a fair assessment?

I’m not sure about “lower fees”. Browne is talking about a fee of £6k as a way of nearly paying the

Higher education: students gear up for fight

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:27

The Browne Review of higher education funding has, as expected, recommended the abolition of the cap on university tuition fees (as well as more private universities and other privatising 'reforms').

Since 1998 we have gone from free tuition to fees of £1,000, to upwards of £3,000 – and now we face unlimited fees, regulated only by the market.

Browne was always going to recommend higher fees; his “independence” was just a way of drawing fire from the Government. The proposal is, in any case, an integral part of the Lib Dem-Tory coalition’s broader assault on public services and working-class

NHS White Paper: a charter for mass privatisation

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:24

Todd Hamer

The white paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS proposes some of the most devastating changes to the NHS since its creation in 1948.

If the coalition manages to implement these proposals then we will lose the NHS as a publicly owned, universal and comprehensive health service.

Since the 1980s, both Tory and New Labour governments have sought to break up the NHS and sell it off to private business. The Tory-Lib Dem government are now poised to take a massive leap forward. What are their plans?

Every Trust will become a Foundation Trust. FTs are run like commercial businesses. Instead

Local government: "The Tories want to smash the unions"

Published on: Thu, 21/10/2010 - 11:12

Pete Davies, senior GMB organiser in Sheffield (where local government workers are facing savage cuts and the threat of mass redundancies), spoke to Solidarity.

We’re still locked in negotiations with the council. We’ve had two half-days of talks this week and we expect those to become regular.

We’re braced for the announcement of a 30% cut, which will be between £211 and £220 million depending on which accountant you listen to. The council will be looking to introduce those cuts over three years, with 15% in 2011-12 then 7.5% the following two years.

We find it extremely worrying that

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