More attacks upon the working class to come
The poor are set to pay the price for Covid in more ways than one. As the death toll in the UK continues on its tragic path to hit 150,000 – and Tory incompetence goes unchecked – the poor will end up carrying the financial burden as well.
While all the evidence indicates that the majority of those catching and dying from Covid are from communities in deprived areas, the same communities face footing the bill for the Government’s cavalier spending on outsourcing the Covid response.
As hedge funds bet on Brexit and Tory MPs’ chums cash in on the Covid supply bonanza through VIP lane corruption, Sheffield Council is set to raise the council tax for 21/22 by the maximum allowed of 4.99 per cent.
Once again, the poorest will suffer most as they struggle to make ends meet in a world denuded of any sense of equality when it comes to workers being bailed out.
Councillor Terry Fox, cabinet member for finance, told the media: “I want to reassure people protecting the most vulnerable and supporting strong recovery and growth for the city remains our priority.”
But we are now in year twelve of austerity and local councils – Tory and Labour alike – are now hitting the financial buffers as Covid plunges them further into debt just as Government propaganda claims that austerity is over.
Section 114 notices – better known as “we have no more money” – are set to be announced in a raft of councils – not all Labour as the austerity carnage reaches even parts the Tories didn’t imagine it would reach.
A recent article in Tribune told the story: “Annual core funding for local government is currently £15 billion less than it was in 2010. In practice, this amounts to around 50 percent of the core funding for services available to local authorities than was once the case.”
The article goes on to say: “The overwhelming costs associated with deprivation and poverty are more than beginning to take their toll; in addition, it’s becoming clear that despite being far less invested in outsourcing, Labour-controlled authorities are still suffering from systemic weaknesses due to lost services that only aggravate financial woes.”
So, despite Councillor Fox’s brave promise, there is no doubt that councils are at the end of their financial tether and that a decade of cuts has left them unable to cope with further cuts.
You might remember that Robert Jenrick, the local government minister, made a promise a year ago that no council would be out of pocket as a result of Covid. What he didn’t say is that would only be because the residents of every council in the land would be asked to make up any shortfall.
As the Tory government bails out businesses, it is not willing to do the same for local councils. The working class, as always, will pay the price for this latest crisis of capitalism.