Homeless by a wall. Photo: Flickr/Garry Knight Homeless by a wall. Photo: Flickr/Garry Knight

Campaigners are preparing for a new wave of activity to match the mood on the streets, reports Steph Pike

At her conference speech at the beginning of October Theresa May declared that ‘austerity is over’. No celebration, no dancing in the streets; this must have been the only time in history that Abba’s Dancing Queen failed to get the party started. Because no amount of faux fandangoing could hide the fact that May’s declaration was a blatant and deliberate lie. 

From the moment they got into power in 2010, the Tories have implemented the most savage programme of cuts, hell bent on destroying public services, the welfare state, the NHS and the rights and conditions of workers. Since 2010 there has been a 54% rise in homelessness with a 134% rise in the number of people sleeping on the streets. At least 440 homeless people died last year.

Council budgets have been slashed by up to 60% leaving many local authorities on the verge of bankruptcy and struggling to provide even the most basic services, with the cuts disproportionately and deliberately targeted at the poorest areas. Since 2010 there has been a 90% increase in child protection plans and a 130% increase in care proceedings, a direct result of the Tory cuts and the subsequent increase in poverty. The NHS has been increasingly privatised and it’s funding cut by 31 percent. The consequences for ordinary people have been devastating; the impact murderous. A landmark study in November 2017 has linked austerity measures to an extra 120,000 deaths and life expectancy has started decreasing for the first time in decades. Austerity is literally killing people.

Unless they are reversed the consequences of Tory cuts will be felt for decades. Ending austerity will take more than just stopping further cuts. The damage already caused will require reversing the cuts the Tories have already implemented; ending privatisation, investing properly in the NHS and public services, ending the benefits freeze and scrapping Universal Credit, ending the scandal of low paid insecure work and restoring the rights of workers. Austerity or no austerity, the Tories will never do this. Austerity has never been about balancing the books, it is an ideologically driven project to redistribute wealth from the poorest to the richest.

This is why the People’s Assembly Against Austerity have launched their campaign ‘Britain is Broken – We Can’t Afford The Tories’. The campaign is supported by Trade Unions and a broad alliance of community and campaign groups and will be launched on November 8th at Congress Hall. It is more important than ever that we build a massive campaign not only against austerity,but to kick the Tories out. We need a Labour government committed to the needs of ordinary people and with the political will to reverse nearly a decade of Tory cuts; a government who will tax the rich who have got fat on the suffering of the majority to provide a decent life for everyone and properly funded services. A government for the many, not the few.

Find out more about the Peopleís Assembly campaign to fix a Broken Britain at www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

Steph Pike

Steph Pike a is a revolutionary socialist, feminist and People's Assembly activist. She is also a  published poet. Her poetry collection 'Petroleuse' is published by Flapjack Press.