Speaking at a meeting in the House of Commons on the financial crisis this evening, Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), will warn that the bailout for banks shouldn’t come at the expense of public services, the public who rely on them, or the hardworking people who deliver them.
Speaking at this evening’s, Left Economics Advisory Panel (LEAP) emergency rally, he will say:
"The thought of New Labour nationalising banks would have seemed absurd even a few weeks ago. Now up to £500 billion is being made available to prop up the banking system in these unstable economic times.
"We should look at the conditions attached to the massive injection of taxpayer’s money into the banking system. There should be controls on top pay, and restrictions on repossessions, with future profits from the banks going to the public purse. The trend of offshoring to avoid taxation must be brought to a rapid halt too.
"The arguments for more free markets, less regulation, and more privatisation have now been found wanting and hollow. No one trusts the smooth tongued financiers anymore. Although, amazingly, New Labour still seems keen to bring them into government roles, such as David Freud, formerly at merchant banker UBS Warburg, now advising the DWP on welfare reform.
"The money provided by the state is mostly for institutions. The protection for savers will help only a minority of working people: 60% of households with income of less than £500 per week have no more than £1500 saved and half of them have nothing. If you consider lone parents, 88% have no more than £1500 put away.
"The commitment of so much cash to banks will inevitably mean pressure on other areas including welfare, jobs and pay."
"This year nearly half of those working for the Department for Work and Pensions, who help people back into work and who deliver pensions and benefits, will get no pay rise at all this year and just 1% next year.
"The government pay freeze will not only exacerbate poverty, it will hold down saving and retail spending.
"And James Purnell’s planned attacks on lone parents, long term unemployed and those with disabilities, contained in the welfare reform green paper, cannot hope to help them into work when thousands are losing their jobs. They will simply make them poorer too.
"It’s not only the banks that need refinancing. It is time to recognise that those at the base of society will be the ones that have to pull us out of crisis. When PCS members take up the fight for better pay, they are part of a struggle for a better society, which is not subject to disasters caused by the unregulated greed of the City."
The Left Economics Advisory Panel (Leap) emergency rally, ‘Who pays for the credit crunch?’ starts at 7.30pm in Committee Room 10, the House of Commons. Chaired by John McDonnell MP, speakers include: Brian Caton (POA) - Jeremy Dear (NUJ), Kelvin Hopkins MP, Prem Sikka (Prof. of Accountancy, University of Essex).