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Year 2000 No. 162, September 29, 2000 Archive Search Home Page

The Debate About Tax Cuts and Investments in Social Programmes

The Working Class Must Put Forward its Own Agenda

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

The Debate About Tax Cuts and Investments in Social Programmes:
The Working Class Must Put Forward its own Agenda

People of Wolverhampton Fight to re-open Hospital

Midlands Farmers Struggle for Survival

News In Brief
Ford Workers' to Ballot for Strike Action
Fatal Accidents in Construction Industry Continue to Increase

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The Debate About Tax Cuts and Investments in Social Programmes

The Working Class Must Put Forward its Own Agenda

Tony Blair’s speech at the Labour Party conference established many of the issues on which New Labour believe the next election will be fought. According to the Prime Minister, New Labour merits a second term of office and his speech attempted to set out what he referred to as ‘the next steps of our journey to renew our country’.

Behind all the rhetoric was the assertion that whatever people may think of New Labour, there is no real alternative. The Conservatives are presented as a Party that might cut some taxes but would pursue the anti-social offensive even more vigorously. The government, on the other hand, is said to be attempting to invest more heavily in social programmes but has been unable to do so because of the necessity of paying of the national debt and maintaining ‘disciplined public finances’ and ‘economic stability’. According to Tony Blair, taxes cannot be reduced because this would jeopardise the future funding of social programmes.

In the run-up to the next election, all the bourgeois political parties are now making a big fuss about taxes and fighting amongst themselves on the pros and cons of tax cuts versus alleged investments in social programmes. All are claiming that their proposals are in the interests of the country and the people are asked to choose between them.

But the real issue is not whether to choose between so-called tax cuts and investments in social programmes, but who should decide the direction of the economy. The squabbling between the parties of the rich conceals the fact that the people have no say in determining policy. The political system does not even allow people to determine how finance for investments in social programmes and other public expenditure is raised, in whose interests it is raised and how it is spent. The political parties of the rich have their own agenda which precludes the participation of the people in governing. The current debates in the media and elsewhere show that it is this agenda which is kept centre stage with the aim of keeping the people outside the realm of politics.

At the same time, a false contradiction is created between the willingness of the people to pay taxes and the ability of the state to invest in social programmes. People are made to feel responsible if there is allegedly not enough money in the treasury to fund health, welfare payments and education because paying off the interest payments on national debt is said to be a greater priority. But who has decided this is a priority? Why should there not be a moratorium on debt servicing so that there are more funds to invest in social programmes? After all taxation is just one way in which the rich collect the wealth created by the labour of the working class itself. The whole economy is geared to paying the rich, who as the owners of the means of production take control of most of the social product at the point of production. A small part of this socially produced wealth is returned to the workers in the form of wages and then through taxation the ruling class reclaims this wealth and makes it available to itself as a class. It uses this wealth to ensure maximum profits through a variety of means such as paying back the interest on state loans and the national debt and as handouts to the monopolies. A part of this wealth may be used to invest in social programmes, which through PFI and other schemes are increasingly another means for the rich of securing maximum profits.

The fact is that more is being taken out of the economy by the rich than is put back, in the form of social programmes. Whether the total volume of taxes increases, or decreases, it will not affect the ratio between the amount off money taken out of the economy and the amount put back, unless the whole direction of the economy is changed. All the political parties of the rich agree that more should be taken out of the economy, as this is the only way that the bourgeoisie can continue to make maximum capitalist profits. They are in favour of the anti-social offensive, whether this is facilitated by increasing taxes, cutbacks in social programmes or by other means.

What must be concluded from the current debate is that the working class and people must see beyond the agenda set by the bourgeoisie. The working class must put forward its own agenda, demand that more should be put into the economy than is taken out, fight for a reversal in the cuts in public spending and call for more to be invested in education, health care and other social programmes. The working class must rally the masses of the people to its banner and push ahead on the line of march to a socialist society, where the working class control the means of production and the people are empowered to decide the direction of the economy and plan it for the people’s needs.

Article Index



People of Wolverhampton Fight to re-open Hospital

30,000 people signed a petition back in May in support of at least partial re-opening of the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital. The authorities are having to admit that the NHS is overstretched due to many hospital closures that have previously taken place. The pressure has been so great on the NHS that services have been heavily over burdoned at New Cross Hospital. Now the fight is having to be stepped up because viability studies on re-opening the Royal are to be held up. Discussions are taking place with TESCO over selling the land. The hold ups are reported to put back the decision until November. Campaigners are stepping up their fight out of necessity.

West Midlands Correspondent

Article Index



Midlands Farmers Struggle for Survival

Many small farmers in the region are on the brink of going under. Cattle farmers say high fuel prices mean that they cannot afford to go to market. Herefordshire representatives of ‘Dairy Farmers for Action’ are demanding that the Government take immediate action to cut fuel tax levies otherwise there will be disastrous consequences for many farmers. New Labour so far are not lifting a finger to assist. Bromyard Dairy farmer, Paul Thomas said, "If the fuel prices stay high then the industry simply will not survive."

West Midlands Correspondent

Article Index



News In Brief

Ford Workers' to Ballot for Strike Action

Last week it was announced that Ford Car workers are to be balloted on strike action to fight the plan of Ford to end car production at Dagenham. Already workers staged a 2 hour walk at the plant last week. In May, Ford announced that it would close the car assembly line at Dagenham and shift production to the European continent. Ford wants to end production of the Fiesta at Dagenham by 2002, with the loss of 1,900 jobs. Under Ford's plan the engine plant will remain and become Fords global plant for diesel engines.

Fatal Accidents in Construction Industry Continue to Increase

On September 25, a silent vigil took place at the construction site at Spring House, Glossop Road, Sheffield where two men died after a fall from a scaffold on 19th September.

It is reported that initial findings suggest that they fell when a lift hoist apparently gave way. One of the men died at the scene and the second died from serious head injuries later in hospital. This accident is the latest in an increasing number of fatal construction accidents with nearly as many being killed in the first four months of this year as were killed in all of last year.

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