On the frontline?
With the national debt now standing at the highest in British history, the Con-Dem coalition are not hiding the fact that they wish these £6 billion to be the first trim in a radical new look for the British economy. The trend is towards austerity. With the debt standing at £741.6 billions the clippers have only just begun to whirr. In Greece, people have taken to the streets as their Government calls in the IMF. In Britain, proposed welfare reforms to force the unemployed to work could end up subsidising the private sector wage bill with welfare payments.
Currently, what passes for debate about cuts in this country consists of echoes from Gordon Browns failed election campaign; there are rumblings about the priority of ‘front line jobs’ and the importance of protecting the education, health and the police budgets. But, at a time when the public sector is in perilous danger, are these the right questions to be asking?
Can the private sector go cold turkey from Government support? Will the coalition make the sorts of cuts it says we need? Will the British Public act ‘in the national interest’ and go along with the cuts? What public services and jobs, if any, are more important than others? Is an outsourced job less important than one directly funded from the public purse?
But perhaps most fundamentally of all: Who or what is the public sector for?
Introduced by Kate Moorcock-Abley.