Cuts increase ‘pain and poverty’: SWP attack austerity and set out blueprint for fairer Manchester

By Robbie Gill

Socialist Worker Party organiser Mark Krantz is attacking the government’s austerity measures for creating ‘pain and poverty’ through cuts.

After a successful march against austerity the SWP are now preparing their next step in fighting the cuts.

Speaking to MM, Manchester’s SWP organiser Mr Krantz looks ahead to the upcoming party meeting and talks about deficit reduction alternatives.

He said: “We do not believe that the ‘deficit reduction’ strategy of the coalition is needed at all. 

“The central aim has been to reduce the deficit. But the deficit has actually increased. After all the pain and poverty, even more cuts are now being demanded.”

Saturday saw the protests against cuts and austerity restart at the TUC ‘March For A Future That Works’ with tens of thousands from Manchester involved.

Mr Krantz said: “From this demonstration the voices of those calling for protests against austerity on the scale of what we have seen in Greece, Spain and Portugal grew louder.”

The effects of the cuts have hit many in Manchester the hardest with almost half of children in the city living in ‘extreme poverty’.

Furthermore many of the poorest people are earning wages so low that they cannot afford to live.

Mr Krantz added: “On top of the existing measures, 80% of the cuts already announced are yet to be implemented.”

He is particularly concerned with the effects of these measures on the NHS in Manchester, the birthplace of the health service.

The health and social care bill has divided opinion and moves towards perceived backdoor privatisation have been slammed by Mr Krantz.

He said: “Manchester is at the top of the league table when it comes to health needs. Now we face massive cuts.

“Last year in Manchester there was a big conference of private health care providers all looking for NHS contracts.

“When we see people who are ill we think of the help that they need, ‘any willing provider’ calculates how much profit could be made if they had the contract for their health care.”

After news that bus company Arriva has been awarded a contract for non-emergency transport and that A&Es may close across the city, he also expressed his dismay.

He said: “Awarding the Arriva bus company the contract for transporting patients is shocking.

“Unlike ambulance drivers who help patients in and out of their homes, Arriva will just drop them off. We support the campaign to stop this nonsense.

“Seven of the 11 A&E units are to close. Hospitals in Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Trafford and North Manchester all could shut.”

The SWP are also keen to unite with other bodies to halt the governments attack on the NHS in Manchester.

“They can be forced to shelve their deadly plans, but only if we build vibrant, broadly based, determined campaigns,” he added.

The SWP are now looking ahead to their upcoming meeting where they will set out their strategy to continue the fight against cuts in the city.

When asked what path he saw protests following, Mr Krantz was clear that people must unite behind his cause.

He said: “Change in Manchester will be achieved through collective struggles. Socialists can only make change if they are part of a collective fight back.

“The Manchester Sure Start campaigners won. They built a campaign that stopped the planned closure of all the Sure Start schemes.”

He also added his thoughts on wider SWP policies and how he sought to exact the change that will enable them to realise their vision.

He said: “A world run for need not profit would be a socialist world. To make this happen we would need the world to be run by the majority, in the interests of the majority.

“The central challenge for us all in the present period is to build a fight back to stop cuts and austerity.

“Today, more people than ever believe we need a change to the system. Our political vision is for the working class to gain political and economic power in society.”

“This assault on living standards and the welfare state is the greatest in living memory.”

“Only a united resistance can bring down this Tory-led coalition that has no electoral or political mandate for these cuts.”

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