Communists slam Conservative tax rise and call for social care reform and staff pay rise

Communist Party General Secretary Robert Griffiths yesterday (7 September 2021) called on workers to “reflect and regroup”, as the decision to tax workers to pay for social care (effectively twice as we do it already), “is the opening shot in a protracted struggle with attempts to shift the burden of paying for the breakdown of capitalism, onto workers and their communities.”

Mr Griffths pointed to, “major changes – sold to us as real long term solutions – which the government has in store for us. First they leak to the press, then they apply the scalpel. Prescription charges for the over 60s. Extension of fee paying road services. Removal of a cap on energy prices. The Policing Bill and the Health and Social Care bill, intensify the shift to privatised health provision and threatens repression against those who protest.

“In all this, the quiescence of the Labour leadership is inexcusable. Now is the time to take a longer look at how we want our services run and delivered, the rights and pay of those who staff them, and how such services can be made accountable. All opponents of government moves should link arms, the alternative is we are picked off bit by bit, one by one. We may have lost this opening battle. The point is to do battle in a way that wins the war for workers. The TUC General Secretary has echoed what Communists have said for a long time. Change is needed. It should be paid for by capital not labour.”

This week, pressure will build over government failure to reform and fund social care. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said this will be a dominant issue at the forthcoming Congress of the TUC. Communists are calling for reform of the service, a rise in staffing levels and a pay rise for those front liners who have held the line for all of us during the pandemic.

Johnson said he would fix it back in 2019. The situation has worsened since then. Staff have been lost, pay barely reaches the minimum, hours are off the scale, funding has been cut, there is a failure to oversee conditions across the service and elderly care is being syphoned off by insurance and USA owned hedge funds. For them, it’s a hugely profitable business. For working people, it’s a matter of the conditions of life.

The government increasingly uses the deficit and the size of the national debt to justify further rounds of planned austerity cuts. O’Grady too has insisted that capital, not labour should fund a new social care system and fix staff pay. The government plans to raise taxes on working people to pay for social care. It’s an either-or situation. Either we pay, or the capitalists do.

Don’t be misled by government pleading says the CP Political Economy Commission, “Debt interest payments as a percentage of GDP are at historically low levels. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast that they will remain so despite the increase in debt arising from the pandemic. The OBR expect: ‘interest rates on new borrowing to remain low and the government to continue to benefit from the Bank of England holding around 30% of government bonds,’ i.e. the wholly government-owned Central Bank owns 30% of government debt so the headline figure is exaggerated by 43%.

They can afford it. But they won’t cough up structural change to the social care system, or the desperately needed pay rise unless we organise to make them.

Challenge News Desk

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