Austerity cuts

How austerity hurts women

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Underlying the sexism women experience is a structural oppression based on women’s role in the family, exacerbated by austerity, writes Jan Nielsen

The #MeToo campaign has rightly shone a glaring light on the misogyny and discrimination that women experience. Less publicised has been the striking increase in inequality that women are experiencing as a result of austerity, cuts to services and changes to the benefits system.

Recent government statistics show that women will shoulder a startling 85 percent of the burden of the government’s cuts to social security and tax changes by 2020. They also show that women’s incomes are being hit twice as hard as men’s as a result of changes to the tax and benefit system.

Knife crime on the rise: what’s behind the violence?

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A recent spate of knife killings in London, often involving young black males, has led to much anguish and debate about solutions. Weyman Bennett argues that more stop-and-search or “bobbies on the beat” are definitely not the answer. Instead we must look to underlying causes in the way that austerity and racism have ravaged communities in cities like London.

In the first few months of this year there has been a series of murders, particularly in London and particularly involving knives and young black people. The heartbreak and pain experienced by the families and friends of those who have lost their lives will be enduring. And the consequences will be felt far beyond them into the communities affected, who will feel fear and anger at the loss of life.

The Tories' war on us all

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Siobhan Brown looks at the likely impact of the Tories' welfare reforms.

The introduction of the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill in July marked the ongoing viciousness of the Conservative government intent on destroying the lives of some of the most vulnerable in society.

Touted by the Tories as making it “pay more to be in work than out of it”, they are now trying to pose themselves as the real party of working people.

The failure of the Labour Party to mount any serious challenge to the bill shows its continuing inability, in its current incarnation, to provide any opposition to austerity.

Water meters tap into Irish workers' anger

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The autumn of 2014 saw a massive revolt by the Irish working class against the attempt by the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition to impose swingeing water charges. The charges were the latest in innumerable austerity measures imposed at the behest of the Troika — the EU, IMF and European Central Bank — as part of the immense bail-out of the Irish banks.

Revolt in Bosnia

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Twenty years ago Bosnia was at the bloody heart of the Yugoslav civil wars. The war ended when the country was divided along "ethnic" lines by the Dayton Accord, leaving two eparate entities and one mixed "district".

Bosnia has since become a plaything of the West, with the US and the EU acting with the IMF and World Bank to impose austerity in return for increased and unsustainable levels of debt repayments.

Labour's surrender to austerity

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In June Ed Miliband and Ed Balls signalled that a future Labour government will accept the framework of the Tories' austerity plans and put a cap on welfare spending. Iain Ferguson looks at Labour's shift to the right and challenges the myths about the welfare state used to justify this turn.

"Even in these hard times, is it too much to expect an opposition to oppose now and again?" (Sunday Herald, 16 June).

For historians of the British Labour Party, June 2013 is likely to be remembered as a key milestone in Party's political and ideological evolution.

Can we beat the bedroom tax?

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In 1990 when Thatcher brought in the "Community Charge" we were told it was only "fair" that the "duke and his gardener pay the same". The Community Charge was a flat rate council tax imposed on every individual in Britain, regardless of income.

We called it the "poll tax". Millions did not pay. Local anti poll tax groups were organised everywhere, forming the national anti Poll Tax Federation, and after two years of struggle, with organised mass non-payment, protests outside the courts, and a demonstration that led to rioting in central London, the poll tax was beaten.

When will Labour councillors fight the cuts?

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Over the next few weeks councils across the country will meet to vote on budgets that, if passed, will instigate the most savage cuts to services in living memory.

Budgets will be cut by an average of four percent (not the 1.7 percent that Eric Pickles, the Tory minister in charge of councils, suggested when he announced this year's local government budget in the minutes before his office closed down for Christmas on 21 December).

The announced settlement will also mean vicious cuts in 2014-15. An additional average cut of nine percent will kick in for the financial year 2014-15.

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