I have been finding out more and moer about the speakers who spoke tonight at the meeting in Stevenage against the cuts. This was Billy Hayes's speech he delivered tonight. Here it is in full if anyone would like to read it
I want to start by congratulating Stevenage and District TUC on tonight’s event. We are in the early days of the cuts programme that the Coalition Government intend to introduce.
So it is important to form a really broad based opposition. Tonight’s event is obviously going to contribute to building the fight back from the community in Stevenage and Hertfordshire.
At the moment the Government appears to be strong. It is certainly receiving a very easy ride from the media – Murdoch and his friends are using their influence to ensure that the working class accepts that its living standard must go down.
But I think we are beginning to see the start of real opposition. The demonstration of the students, and the school students, have been an inspiration to the Trade Union Movement.
Clearly, the Coalition Government’s programme is going to have an impact on many people outside of the Labour Movement.
It is then very important that we aim to build broad based alliances against the cuts. The Trade Union Labour Movement cannot do this on its own.
We have to win support in a wider community.
In some ways there is plenty of ground for this. –
The Coalition Government cuts will be most felt by the 90% of the population whose earnings are less than £45,000 a year. This is a big majority of the population.
But power resides alongside wealth.
And so the Coalition Government is hoping that the cuts in living standards will be accepted because the majority feel they have no chance to stand up to the cuts.
It is to the students, and school students, that the honour falls of showing that there is a powerful opposition.
But we also have to show that there is an alternative policy.
Our argument needs to be that we need investment in our economy to grow out of recession. Cuts deepen the problem – making a renewed recession more, not less, likely.
The real reason there has been a recession is because private sector investment collapsed.
In the UK, 56% of the fall in GDP was a fall in fixed investment.
So with less investment, there is a rise in unemployment amongst workers. With less investment there is less tax paid to the Treasury.
With the rise in unemployment there is a rise in welfare spending. With a fall in revenue to the Treasury, and with an increase in Government spending, there is a gap in public finances – the famous deficit.
But the deficit is a result of the collapse in private investment – the rise in unemployment, and the increase in welfare spending.
We have to address the root cause – which is the collapse of investment. –
So we say “investment not cuts” is the alternative.
If the economy grows, more workers are employed, tax revenues to the Treasure increase, and the deficit comes down and disappears as a natural process.
Now, if you take the policy of the Coalition Government, you make cuts not investment.
The result of this we can see in the return of the Irish economy to recession.
Until very recently, George Osborne had been lauding the Irish experience as the route that it is necessary to follow in Britain.
He said that we should learn lessons in the manner in which the Irish Government was carrying through its economic policy. Suddenly he has gone quiet on this.
It is a national catastrophe for Ireland, that the Irish Government has allowed itself to be bullied into accepting the IMF dictates on their economy.
The so called “helping hand” comes at a price. The interest being charged on the loan to Ireland is up to 9%.
Meanwhile George Osborne glibly talks of acting as a friend to the Irish Government. Yet he is acting to guarantee returns to British investors over the needs of the Irish people.
On the so called aid package of £8 billion from Britain is a loan with an interest rate of over 5%, which is a punishing rate. Some friend.
So it is necessary for us to organise against these cuts as consistently and strongly as we can.
The Communication Workers Union supports all those who want to take a stand against the cuts.
But we also have our own battles to wage. The CWU is fighting to Keep the Post Public.
The Coalition Government wants to privatise Royal Mail. This would mean that the services would get worse, and become more expensive.
Private investors will not want to continue with the industry’s “one price goes anywhere” stamp prices.
Private investors will only be interested in the bottom line of the accounts - how much profit can the services bring to the shareholder.
Today it costs the same price if you send a letter from Stevenage to a local address as it does to Scotland.
But a private company will make you spend more to send it to Scotland.
At the moment, Royal Mail offers postal services to you through your local Post Office branches.
A privatised Royal Mail are not going to use Post Office Counters, which are to remain in the public sector. A privatised Royal Mail wants to use private retail outlets.
Your local Post Office branches are dependent upon Royal Mail services. If these services go – then there will be massive numbers of Post Office closures.
Privatisation will lead to higher stamp prices for domestic customers and small businesses.
TNT and Deutsch Post are privatised postal companies in Holland and in Germany respectively. They deliver letters at twice the price of Royal Mail, in their home markets. –
So for these, and other reasons, we are urging people to support our campaign to Keep the Post Public.
There are some simple steps that you can take. We have a range of campaign material which we would like the Trades Council to use.
You also have Stephen McPartland as your Tory MP for Stevenage. He has a majority of 3,578. So he will be under considerable pressure. Why don’t you arrange a lobby, the CWU would be happy to assist in any way to make such an event a real success.
These are difficult times but I am convinced with broad based activity and united action we can Keep the Post Public, and overturn the Coalition Government’s cuts programme.
Thanks for listening.
Posted by Billy Hayes
THis can be found on his blog linked directly from the CWU - the postal service union website if you look it up on google if you are interested.