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(en) Ireland, Organise! Working Class Resistance #8 - Budget Blackmail

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 19 Feb 2005 08:16:20 +0100 (CET)

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A ten-year framework for regeneration announced by direct rule
Finance Minister Ian Pearson along with claims to be responding to
the outrage that met the proposed cuts announced in his October
draft budget. The draft set out an agenda of cutbacks in the
Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, affecting spending on the
voluntary sector, sport and children.

Having listened to the main political parties Mr Pearson delivered a
budget for the next three years that promises the delivery of £16
billion in key investment on such things as roads, schools and
hospitals. Public spending will top £9 billion a year in the province
by 2007-2008 - up by 20% in real terms over the six years from
2002 - and infrastructure investment will grow by 30% alone next
year, he told us.

Our cash strapped health service is to benefit from 40% of the
annual budget but with further "belt-tightening" in other
departments. When things sound to good to be true they generally
are, and "belt-tightening" is a massive understatement when it
comes to government proposals to pay for this "unprecedented
expansion of investment".

The rolling out of familiar promises about reducing waiting time at
our hospitals and promises of improved public service delivery,
education, services to children. Promises to half the number of
children living in poverty give this announcement the appearance of
a major exercise in wealth redistribution. And yet the
announcement was made, and welcomed, at the headquarters of
the Construction Employers Federation. Any wealth redistribution
coming out of this package will follow the same all too familiar
upwards path.

To pay for this "comprehensive and far-sighted" investment 2,300
Civil Servants are to be forced out of work over the next three years,
inflation busting rates rises of 9% over the next 2 years and 6% in
the third, water charges (which Pearson tells us are essential to the
carrying forward of major improvements in infrastructure) will
increase household bills by several hundred pounds a year.

The proposed ‘investment’ of £16 billion will be based on
borrowing, through a combination of public-private partnership,
and increased financial hardship, job losses and "belt-tightening"
hitting, as usual, us - the workers. The delivery of services will
suffer as staff are axed. This is an massive attack on working people
and one that contradicts any claims that the government want to
tackle poverty. Our politicians will be convinced to accept and at
some point help implement a policy which sees working people
robbed to cover years of under-investment and bring in private
investors looking for maximum profit from our public services.

This is indeed a "comprehensively and far-sighted" policy, not for
investment, but for asset stripping, private profiteering and shafting
us comprehensively over the next three years.

J. Brannigan
[Ed. Note: Organise! is an anarchist group]

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