During this election campaign almost everyone we have spoken to has expressed their genuine fears of a very bleak future ahead. Most fear for there job security in both the public and private sectors. Those unemployed or in part time work have little confidence in securing proper full time employment in the years ahead. This fear is based on £4 billion to be removed from the public sector, that the previous Northern Ireland Executive have already passed in the Draft Budget. We are witnessing only the tip of the ice-berg. Upwards of 20,000 jobs will be axed in the next four years, inevitably resulting in compulsory redundancies. Youth unemployment which is already at 20% and is certain to increase. Most of the 58,000+ people on benefits have either been informed or are currently experiencing a reduction in the social safety net. Some people have had their benefits completely removed without a genuine reason being given. This is only the beginning of the billions of pounds to be removed from social security over the next four years. Along with new social movements across the UK and Ireland such as Benefits Claimants Fightback and we support the N.I. Union of the Unemployed in organising the most vulnerable against this assault on their living standards by making the Welfare Reform Bill 2011 unworkable. Beginning on the 9th of May we will help them build a campaign of civil disobedience with direct actions against Atos Origin.
People Before Profit are different from any of the five main political parties in this election. We are opposed to the massive cuts that the Unionist and Nationalist parties are currently implementing. These cuts are unnecessary as are the Northern Ireland Office proposals following the economic madness of Cameron and Clegg’s free market philosophy which is entailed in the consultation document Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy. Not one of the five main parties have varied from this consensus as shown in their manifestos and public pronouncements which makes cuts to jobs and services inevitable even though doubts have been raised over the actual economic benefits envisaged by the NIO itself.
People Before Profit have an alternative to these cuts, which would make big corporations, banks and only the richest individuals pay for this mess. The five biggest UK banks are set to make £52 billion in profit this year – that’s £1 billion every week. Bankers’ bonuses this year were £7 billion. Vodaphone made £3.4 billion in profit last year and paid just 1% in tax. This is the real scandal. Over £125 billion in tax is avoided by big business each year – a fraction of this would wipe out all the cuts proposed by the Tories. There is no crisis or recession for the rich and powerful. Instead, wealth is flowing into their back pockets and we are being made to carry the cost. The arguments among the parties in Stormont are over HOW MUCH and HOW FAST to cut. Not one of them has said that there shouldn’t be cuts at all. In recent weeks they have all been trying to appear to oppose cuts in their departments and hold onto their seats at the Executive table. If and when elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, People Before Profit candidates will demand that the billions of cuts be restored to the block grant overall and in particular to increases in the benefits system paid for by progressive taxation, public sector employment, wages with guarantees of at least a living wage and the repeal of Thatcherite anti-trade union laws.
“I urge everyone who is supportive of the alternative message People Before Profit offer to turn up on May 5th and vote against the cuts. I also urge people to help this new left movement progress in Northern Ireland.” – Harry Hutchinson; People Before Profit Assembly Candidate for Mid-Ulster