Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Today the Government will announce its “Autumn Statement”. They are not succeeding, everyone will say, in cutting the deficit. According to the BBC, New Labour's Ed Balls will say that unless wages are rising, the deficit won’t come down, and what is needed therefore is, “A plan for jobs and work”.

The apparent need to “balance the budget” (there is actually no need to do so) will be the subject of a later post. What concerns us here is that “plan".

A plan for “jobs and work” is indeed vital, but not to get the deficit down! It is vital because we need to end unemployment and lift living standards; to end the misery it causes!

But, does Croydon's “One Nation Labour” council, or Labour nationally, really have a plan to tackle unemployment? Take the Croydon party's flag-festooned manifesto, for example, where the plan should be.

In relation to youth unemployment, it says, “we are ambitious for our young people”. Good. So what is your strategy for tackling it? 

“Labour’s strategy is to create an ambitious and vibrant ‘place to be’ ”, it says.

This is pathetic! It encapsulates our complaint about New Labour, and what it has become. There is no “ambition” here for workers, at all!  None whatsoever! 

They will, the manifesto says, "work with" businesses to make Croydon an attractive place to invest. This is their best shot - do whatever it is that business wants, and then hope they'll employ Croydon’s workers.

But we think we already know what it is that big business wants. It says so itself often enough. It wants low wages, zero hour contracts, no trade unions, no health and safety legislation. In other words it wants workers who are easy to hire and fire, and who are cheap!

New Labour’s problem is that it accepts the limitations and permissions set by big business. Consequently it must go cap-in-hand to the leisure classes. Please, it says, please invest here. We’ll do whatever you want! And because we are “Labour”, we’ll be better able to persuade workers to toe the line.

The other part of their solution for the jobs crisis is improving the skills and education of job seekers. Nothing at all wrong with that. But there’s an issue here too.  According to the reports earlier this year, there are, "about 39 applications for every graduate job…”. Non-graduate job vacancies are just as over-subscribed. Some jobs attracts thousands of applicants!

So if ten people apply for a job, it hardly matters how skilled and educated they are. Only one person is going to get it!

The fact is, what is causing unemployment is NOT the absence of skills, but the unwillingness of big business - despite swimming in cash - to invest! They are sitting on their hands!

With the compliance of spineless “Labour councils, THIS is what is happening >

- Around 500,000 jobs have been lost in local government since May 2010. (Financial Times, 10 Nov, 14)
- Armed Forces - 11,000 redundancies since 2011.
- Portsmouth Naval Shipyard - 900 job losses, bringing an end to shipbuilding there.
- Remploy - factories and workshops for people with disabilities - around 1,700 job losses due to closure of most installations. (2013/14)
- Grangemouth oil refinery - 200 job cuts. (Early 2014)
- nPower - announced 2,500 cuts in August 2013.
- Royal Doulton ceramics - 1,000 UK jobs - Dec 2013 announcement.
- Blockbuster closure - 1,200 losses.
- Tie Rack closure - 200.
- “The big four banks have cut 200,000 jobs since the credit crunch. And another 50,000 or more are set to be cut in the next five years”. (CityAM, 5 Mar 2014)
- Post Office announces 1,300 job cuts (March 2014)
- Nottingham cigarette factory to close - 500 jobs. (Early 2014)
- Morrisons announce 2,600 job losses, June 2014.
- Phones4U goes into administration. Around 5,000 jobs. Sept, 2014.
- Birmingham's “Labour" council announces 6,000 job cuts over next few years.  Sept 2014.
- TfL wants to cut 1,000 jobs in tube network. Closing the ticket offices. Sept 2014.
- Unipart (Solihull) has gone into administration. 1,400 job losses. (Guardian July, 2014)
- Lloyds bank has lost around 30,000 jobs since financial crisis. (Guardian July, 2014)
- Tata steel is proposing 400 job cuts in Wales. (Guardian. July, 2014)
- Lloyds bank announces 9,000 more job losses. (BBC Oct, 2014)
- Murco's Milford Haven Oil Refinery - 340 jobs to go. And 200 contract workers also likely to go. (BBC. 5 Nov, 2014)
- Rolls Royce - 2,600 jobs to go - 1,700 of which in UK - mostly around Derby. (Guardian. 5 Nov, 2014)

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