End the failed austerity programme.
The coalition government of 2010–15 claimed it tackled the abuse of the welfare state and restored employment levels. In reality, this meant appalling hardship for the most vulnerable and cuts in living standards for those in work. Meanwhile, people desperate for employment were offered low paid and often casual jobs. By contrast, a small wealthy class remained untouched.
The research in this book is drawn from two booklets published by the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group. These are nine, largely politically unaffiliated unions that have campaigned vigorously against government policy on behalf of their own members and the wider public.
Author Michael Calderbank, who led the Unions’ research, examines why costs have risen for all items of expenditure, ranging from housing and child care to food and transport. He makes practical proposals on how these costs can be reduced. He also delivers an uncompromising message to the leaders of all mainstream Westminster Parties: it is time to end the politics of austerity, an ideological project to cut the size of the state permanently.
A positive programme must replace austerity, with priority given to defending the public services, curbing excessive profits, taxing the obscenely rich and, at the same time, stimulating the economy by increasing the spending power of all wage earners.
Michael Calderbank is also joint editor of Red Pepper.
The Cost of Living Crisis is being published on February 27 £9.95)