Once again, the champagne corks are popping for Britain’s millionaires, if not for the rest of us. The Tories are determined to ensure that the so-called Hard Brexit will be a bonanza for the rich. At the same time, the poorest will be well and truly hit. The only way out for the working class is to fight for a socialist Europe.
Once again, the champagne corks are popping for Britain’s millionaires, if not for the rest of us. The Tories are determined to ensure that their so-called Hard Brexit will be a bonanza for the rich. At the same time, the poorest will be well and truly hit.
The millionaires are jubilant at the prospect of seeing more profits coming their way from Brexit, as the Tories use the departure from the EU to undermine workers’ conditions.
Just before Theresa May finally triggered Article 50, Swiss bank UBS conducted a poll of 400 British millionaires to gauge their attitudes towards Brexit. Not surprisingly, this elite are licking their lips at the coming windfall. Of those interviewed, each of whom have at least £800,000 in liquid assets in addition to their expensive properties, 78% thought that Brexit would be beneficial for their financial plans. The poll also revealed the hopes of young millionaires – aged 18 to 34 – who have even higher hopes: a massive 83% believe they’ll be even richer after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Britain’s millionaires are now warming to Brexit, with its promise of further deregulation and increased money-making. Theresa May has envisaged Britain being a deregulated low-tax haven, along the lines of Singapore. This prospect is music to their ears! It will mean firstly a sharply deregulated internal market; and then, following from this point, a new squeeze on workers, through further attacks on wages and conditions, increasing job insecurity, and an all-out offensive on trade union rights. Big business, therefore, is set to use Brexit to line their pockets. The main strategists of international capital did not want Brexit but are happy to find ways to still profit from it.
Squeeze on the poor; tax cuts for the rich
This month also sees important new changes – that is cuts – to benefits. The Tories are out to attack the weakest and most vulnerable of society. The Child Poverty Action Group has calculated that new benefit rules coming into effect will mean that some families will be almost £3,000 per year worse off. As a result, 200,000 additional children could be pushed into poverty.
In the meantime, tax cuts taking effect this month also represent a huge boost for the rich. According to the Resolution Foundation, 80% of these tax cuts will benefit the most wealthy in Britain. According to David Finch, senior economic analyst at the Foundation: “The overall package amounts to a £1bn net giveaway from the public purse. But the skewed nature of this generosity means that better-off households will receive four-fifths of the gains, while the poorest third of households will be worse off overall.” (the Guardian, 1/4/17)
Torsten Bell, also from the Foundation, concludes: “These amount to unwise giveaways to richer households and unjustifiable takeaways from less well-off families. The result is higher inequality and a decision to squeeze living standards for low- and middle-income families at a time when rising prices are already outstripping wage growth.”
Fight for a socialist Europe!
Since 2008, living standards have fallen for workers, especially in Britain’s ex-industrial heartlands, which have been ravaged by privatisation and closures – areas that returned the highest opposition to the EU, and understandably so. The austerity imposed upon them is the same that has torn through the Greek working class over the past few years. Now it is clear that the Tories intend for these areas to be further hit in the fallout from Brexit.
The Tory government has thrown down the gauntlet. It is imperative that workers organise to fight back. The EU – a bosses’ club – can provide no answers to the woes of workers in Britain, or in the rest of Europe. But it is clear that Brexit also offers no way out either, doing nothing to address the inequality that swathes of Britain’s working class have raged against.
The only solution is to do away with this rotten system and fight for a socialist Britain, limited not by its natural borders, but in full co-operation with a socialist Europe and a socialist world.