end austerity now

Why we are marching against cuts

publicity for end austerity now demo

Hundreds of thousands of people will be marching together at the June 20th People’s Assembly national demo against austerity – and CAAT will be there. Here’s three¬†reasons why:

1. Austerity hits the most vulnerable and benefits the richest

picture showing the rich getting richer

The cuts of the last five years have devastated people’s lives and they’re about to get much worse. The government’s plans for an¬†extra ¬£12 billion in welfare cuts will increase the hardship faced by people on low incomes. At the same time, the richest look set to get richer. Indeed, since¬†2010¬†the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain have doubled their wealth, while¬†more working families than ever before are reliant upon housing benefits as a result of poverty wages.¬†As research by NEF shows, not only does inequality damage our social structure, it is also bad for long term economic growth.

2. Austerity economics don’t add up

Continued and severe austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Moreover, if¬†we judge austerity¬†by what the Conservatives’ economic objective was in 2010 – to cut the deficit- then it’s been a clear failure.

man holding placard saying 'austerity that's enough'

The Coalition¬†realised this and eased off austerity as its time in office was coming to an end. However, the new government’s commitment to further and deeper cuts will likely lead to a repeat of the stagnation we saw in¬†2010-2012, a larger deficit and rising household debt.

3. We need to shift investment away from the arms industry to the low-carbon sector

The austerity mantra is that there is no alternative but we know very well that there’s plenty of money out there- just think of the ¬£100bn that the government plans to¬†spend on Trident and the massive subsidies the arms trade receives every year from taxpayers while vital public services are being cut. Although military spending has declined recently,¬†Britain is still spending far more on war (¬£35 billion per year) than most of Europe, let alone the rest of the world.image showing that the government spends 25 times more researching weapons than green energy

Supporters of¬†military spending usually frame their argument by referring to national security, conveniently¬†forgetting about the security in the UK¬†of the¬†3.5 million children growing up in poverty and the thousands of people who die every year because of fuel poverty. Most importantly, despite¬†what some sensationalist headlines might suggest, the UK doesn’t face conventional military threats.¬†Real security involves tackling the causes of problems, not creating more, and climate change is one of the biggest that we face.

If we¬†really¬†want a safer world, we must cut carbon emissions¬†fast. A¬†new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week called for more policy support for the renewables sector because the current rate of progress is not fast enough to meet the 2¬įC climate target.

The UK is in a powerful position to play its part. It is crucial, as highlighted by Oxford Research Group, that we  transform high-tech industries from military to civilian production that is environmentally beneficial. Shifting investment from arms to renewables would increase our energy security and create jobs for thousands of workers.

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