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Welfare Cuts

Can the Welfare State Survive?

With the deepening of the world economic crisis and the inevitable increase in unemployment, homelessness and poverty, pressures on welfare agencies world-wide are increasing. Governments are being compelled to review their public spending budgets in an attempt to meet these problems.

Here in Britain the Chancellor, Norman Lamont, has emphasised the Conservatives' commitment:

    "to reduce the proportion of the nation's wealth pre-empted by the public sector . . . Recession inevitably makes that difficult for a while, as output shrinks while rising unemployment pushes up spending. So public spending as a proportion of GDP will rise for a couple of years. But as the economy recovers we need to get it back on a steady downward trend (Daily Telegraph. 24 July)."

He went on to say that the "total level of public expenditure must be fixed on the basis of what is affordable".

Editorial: Capitalism Doesn't Care

If there is one thing that capitalism is good at and that is generating crises.  A report by the charity, Age UK, has warned that  social care in England is facing collapse in certain areas. Increasing numbers of elderly people find themselves being denied the healthcare they need. Is this because there are not enough trained staff and care facilities available ? No, there are plenty of those. As ever in capitalism, the problem boils down to money, or in this case, the lack of it.

Book Reviews: 'Southern Insurgency', 'Cut Out - Living Without Welfare ', & 'Defiance - Greece and Europe'

Global class

'Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class', by Immanuel Ness (Pluto Press, 2016)

The author teaches political science at the City University of New York. He has also been a union organizer and an activist in various projects in defense of workers’ rights. He has shown particular concern with the plight of migrant workers.

Greasy Pole: Questions...? Answers...?

Greasy Pole

In the form which we know today, Prime Minister’s Questions began as recently as 1961. What a brilliant idea; a time when the person at the very head of the government and the British state machine made themselves available to be probed, exposed, ridiculed by an assembly of self-publicists operating under the title of Representatives Of The People. Very democratic and progressive; how did we survive before it was invented? But it has not turned out quite as promised. To begin with, at the appropriate time the House of Commons is always tightly packed and disciplined – by the Whips if not by that gaggle of competing ambitions – as required by their party.

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