Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

Poverty on the rise as Birmingham’s Labour council freezes burial fees!

An article carried in the Independent newspaper says the “Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)[i] found that Britain’s record on tackling poverty had reached a turning point and was at risk of unravelling, with nearly 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners living in poverty than five years ago. Their report showed a total of 14 million people in the UK currently live in poverty – more than one in five of the population.

Now the latest figures, collated by the End Child Poverty coalition through analysis of tax credit data and national trends in worklessness, estimate that child poverty in Manchester and Birmingham stands at 44 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. In the London borough of Tower Hamlets this reaches 53 per cent.

When broken down into constituencies, the figures indicate that Bethnal Green and Bow in London has the highest child poverty rate at 54 per cent, while in Ladywood in Birmingham 53 per cent are living in poverty. Among the 20 parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of childhood poverty, seven are located in London, three in Birmingham and three in Manchester.[ii]

Our Labour councillors last year wasted more than £6million of tax payer’s money attempting to attack the wages of local bin men, £6m that could have been spent on child services, looking after our elderly and preventing the worst effects of poverty in Birmingham. Now they announce plans to cut a further £53m off the budget despite hiking up the Council tax this year.

The Birmingham Post reported Council Leader Ian Ward saying “We have listened and, even at a time of continuing government cuts, we are investing in the services that matter most to the people of Birmingham.”

According to the Post “Labour bosses said they had listened on several key issues, including reducing the tax hike, freezing burial and cremation fees and not introducing charges for library book reservations.”[iii]

It will be little comfort for our poor and needy to know that what wasn’t spent keeping them alive has been kept back for their everlasting interment.

What you can do

If you want to fight for a better Birmingham, and a better world, join the campaign to elect Birmingham Worker candidates to the city council:

[i] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/poverty-britain-joseph-rowntree-foundation-report-theresa-may-social-mobility-commission-million-a8089491.html

[ii] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-poverty-uk-cities-london-birmingham-manchester-welfare-cuts-benefits-food-parents-households-a8174436.html

[iii] https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/birmingham-council-storing-up-tax-14280869

Promoted on behalf of SammI Ibrahem, Reuben Lawrence & Katherine Cremer by Birmingham Worker 274 B12 0BS

BIRMINGHAM GKN WORKERS NEED SUPPORT IF THEY CHOOSE TO RESIST

GKN

John Bull – long record of hypocrisy and back-stabbing, is clearly concerned only with the future of the British arms industry; the wokers should ditch him and look to the Communists who are the real allies of workers in struggle.

THE INTERESTS OF SHAREHOLDERS AND WORKERS ARE NOT THE SAME

On GKN’s website we are told that the company is “a global engineering business. Every time you travel by road or air almost anywhere in the world it is likely that GKN is helping you on your way. We design, manufacture and service systems and components for original equipment manufacturers around the world.” The company, which employs 58,000 globally and 6,000 in Britain, works with Airbus and Boeing on defence projects and supplies equipment to the RAF and the Army, whilst its automotive division supplies parts to around half the companies manufacturing cars and trucks. But right now all is not well with GKN.

Rumbling financial problems at the global company came to a head in the US aerospace sector when news broke at the end of 2017 that the company “would have to write off mountains of overvalued inventory and unpaid bills”, revealing a black hole in the company’s finances which has given shareholders the jitters. Subsequent panic-stricken management switches have failed to calm nerves, exposing the whole of GKN to a series of hostile bids from Melrose, a band of vulture capitalists. Melrose specialises in sniffing out businesses in trouble, breaking them up and selling parts quickly on. Unite calculate that if Melrose’s hostile bid succeeds GKN will end up over £1.3 billion in debt.

Hoping to forestall this ignominious conclusion to an industrial career which began in the eighteenth century, GKN first announced plans to hive off its automotive division, then days later proposed that said division be merged with Dana, a company with which GKN had previously collaborated. Whilst some see this as a smart move by the GKN board, others caution that separating the automotive from the aerospace sector could weaken the ability of the latter to resist being snaffled up in a future hostile bid.

Undeterred Melrose made what it said was its final bid for the whole of GKN on 12 March, hoping to get support from key shareholders.

Whatever the fat cat shareholders decide about the Melrose bid, and whether or not the merger of GKN’s automotive business with Dana goes ahead, what is clear is that the fate of thousands of workers depends upon decisions being taken in boardrooms and back offices by unelected managers and bureaucrats and shareholders for whom nobody voted. These decisions can affect not only the jobs and pensions of those in Birmingham and the West Midlands, but also can have a knock-on effect on those working for plants relying on parts and systems supplied by GKN such as Toyota and Jaguar. This is the real face of British “democracy”, in which the lords of capital dictate the whole productive existence of society on a throw of dice.

Workers need to organise to defend their jobs, their pensions, their rights. Resistance to capitalism will flourish when it is fought out as class against class, not “British jobs” versus “foreign jobs”, and certainly not “national security” versus the world.

PROTECT JOBS NOT PROFITS