Not a new problem

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Do you recall the banking crisis? It was more than 10 years ago, and Covid has probably obscured past memories – as has the more recent “energy crisis”. And another general election, and a new parliament, is not yet on our horizons.

But hundreds were on strike locally this week (and demonstrating in Hastings on Wednesday) because public service budgets and therefore pay have been cut back to fund a crisis about banks and investments in those banks, which were “dodgy”, and required lots of public support over 10 years ago which, sooner or later, had to be paid back by regular and persistent cutting back on national budgets.

Public sector budgets, and the workers in those sectors, paid the price, while the private sector went on with making money – and avoiding taxes, if they could, – even if they were an MP, or even a minister.

But workers in care, in schools, in wards and all the other public sectors do not have tax bills to avoid. They have to find the money for food, rent and other necessities – and that is why they have been on strike this week and seeking your support.

Trained and quitting

But, what is worse, many of them have been trained and educated, for fees they have to repay, to work in the public sector in jobs they cared about. Too many have quit now and in the past decade, because they did not have the support, resources and professional training to support them in their jobs, so society has lost lots of talent and investments because people have just quit the public sector since the banking crisis.

So there is anger on those picket lines, not just about their pay, but about being denied the ability to do their jobs to the best of their training and the experience.

However, the government may carry on trying to pretend it is all about pay, and will avoid the figures about how many people have simply quit the public sector in the past 10 years – because that is what the government wants – a weakened and shrinking public sector.

Similarly, and this may end in enquiries that drag on for decades, it was strange that the government ordered lots of “unsafe” protection equipment for the NHS during Covid from unusual sources when British manufacturers were yelling out, in daily press releases (which Rye News received): “We can help. We can do it.”

Perhaps this week’s demonstrators more than deserve our support – particularly if we rely individually on public services.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent letter, thank you. They do indeed deserve our support. There is after all no shortage of money – just not in the right place. Consider:
    Record oil company profits. The RAC says petrol prices are 10% higher than they should be.
    Electricity companies forcing entry into vulnerable people’s homes, to install expensive prepayment meters.
    Water utilities raising charges, while continuing to pollute rivers and beaches unchallenged by government.
    Rail firms raising fares while services decline.
    Over 40% of people who claim Universal Credit (National Audit Office Figures) are in work. The low wages paid by their employers subsidised by the State – a form of corporate welfare.
    Tax avoidance by the rich, including many people in power…

    .

  2. David, as someone whose mother was a nursing sister, who in the days of Eric Lubbock, the then Liberal MP for Orpington she lobbied Westminster, then as now over pay and conditions. Clearly, they need our support, BUT, what has now happened is virtually ALL the state services have gone on strike over pay and conditions. You know as I do their occupations are paid via taxes, if one gets what they want, it opens the flood gate, the situation is a political one. It has been mentioned that the private sector’s pay has increased way over the public sectors, yes, but they don’t have their pension paid for. I totally agree with your comments re. Water companies etc. I do get an impression that when politicians are elected they are in a different world.

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