Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Welcome to 2009

Figures released later this month are expected to show that unemployment has breached two million. Almost every day so far this year hundreds, if not thousands, of job cuts are announced by UK companies. Youth unemployment is at its highest level since 1995.

At the end of the month, Government figures will also show that the UK is officially in recession. Manufacturing is declining at its highest rate since 1980, down by 2.3% in the last month and by 5.5% over the last six months. The annual rates of decline accelerated to 7.4% and 6.9% for industrial and manufacturing output respectively. Even the weakened pound is unable to aid UK exports.

Tomorrow lunchtime, the Government will unveil its Welfare Reform Bill threatening workfare, cutting entitlement for lone parents and privatising yet more of Jobcentre Plus and welfare provision.

Despite the fact that there are 1.86m unemployed (at the end of October) and less than 400,000 vacancies, apparently more lone parents and disabled people need to be forced back to work with the threat of sanctions for non-compliance. Thankfully there is growing opposition to the Government's welfare proposals.

The Government is floundering. It has no idea how to deal with this crisis, because its guide - neoliberal ideology - has no solution.

Let's make it a new year resolution to all unite for a socialist response to the crisis. If we don't, we will all suffer.

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