Austerity in the Wake of Covid-19 Is Not Inevitable

Cllr Freddie Bailey discusses why alternative measures to austerity must be implemented to deal with the economic impact of Covid-19.

They always say every 10 years Capitalism is bailed out by Socialism. Even the Conservative Party have to concede that this reality got us through different crises; from the 2nd World War to Covid-19. Covid-19 has brought people and communities together but current Conservative Party policy will try and ensure that that won't last.

The Conservative Party have had to commit billions of pounds to get us through Covid-19 but how is that money going to be paid back? In the past 10 years, the wealthiest 1% have tripled their wealth. People have never been so wealthy, it's pretty much impossible for some people to get rid of their wealth. Personally I would increase their taxes, even if it might mean some wealthy folk don't upgrade their heated leather seats on their 4th Range Rover.

Unfortunately, the Conservative Party will disagree with this. They want to target the vulnerable, those pesky single parents claiming money from the state to feed their children, how dare they. The Conservative Party seem to question why do communities need a youth zone or another school or another social worker rather than questioning if their rich friends really need a 3rd gardener.

But I guess that is the unfair mindset the Conservative Party have and the kind of society they want to create. They wrap it all up and stick some bells and ribbons on it and call it aspiration. Using the media (of which 85% is owned by 6 billionaires) the Conservative Party have managed to convince people that austerity is the only option. People should blame their neighbour for claiming disability allowance rather than a tax-avoiding billionaire.

But at the end of the day, the Conservative Party will choose to hammer those who are struggling to make ends meet. Now with the next General Election feeling like decades away, we need to prove to the electorate that there is still money out there. That we can afford to live within our means as a country but still invest in people. That we can afford to build another hospital and give NHS staff a pay rise and it won't bankrupt the country. We can increase taxes on the wealthiest 1% and clamp down on multination corporations that avoid paying taxes. We need to ensure this remains a hot topic of conversation to try and sway the Conservative Party away from inflicting more cuts, cuts and more cuts.

A fairer world that isn't a race to the bottom is possible. The Labour Party will always fight for a fairer world and I will make sure of that! We must continue these conversations and I am sure that one day it will all be worth it.

Freddie Bailey is a Labour Councillor for Preston City Council and a Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building.

He tweets at @FreddieBailey96

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