SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH

Commenting on social, political, economic and general topics

Archive for the ‘manufacturing’ Category

Fifty Plus? Then it’s the Benefits Bus.

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A Telegraph report (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8728179/100000-older-workers-forced-to-retire-early.html) suggests that if you are 50+ and lose your job, you are likely never to work again and be forced into early retirement, with a consequently lower pension- and perhaps dependence on state benefits?
That’s bad enough, but what about the manual workers who cannot get their pension until they reach whatever arbitrary age the government decides on?
I though this government was all about reducing public spending, in particular the benefits bill to improve the countries finance? Surely this will place a greater burden on the public purse. Or maybe their plan to slash benefits, irrespective of the human and economic cost means this will have little overall impact?
And I have to ask the Telegraph, why have you said “…the Institute of Public Policy Research, which has links to the Labour Party”? What relevance does having links to the New Labour Party (correct title, if you please) have? Either the report is a reasonable assessment from a reputable body, or it isn’t and if it isn’t, explain why they are wrong; don’t try smear tactics by associating them and the report with New Labour.
I am of the opinion there is too much emphasis on getting the young into work. There should be no emphasis on helping any group back to work. The government must ensure the jobs are there, that they are secure and that anybody receiving benefits takes any reasonable job offer. This will only be done with the rebuilding of British manufacturing, at tax payers’ expense (initially) if necessary. But if there must be an emphasis, it should be with the older worker with a proven track record who, as the report suggests may find themselves unemployable.
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Written by Smiling Carcass

29/08/2011 at 11:45 AM

PEOPLE’S BANK BONUS. (DON’T FORGET TO TELL SID!)

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The Tories have come up with a plan to pay back the public for the investment in failing banks. The idea is to sell shares at discount prices to the public, with extra discounts for those on low-incomes and the young.

How will this help? With shares at hundreds or even thousands of pounds what kind of discount will they offer? If it is a large discount, selling shares at a few pounds then the banks will be disadvantaged and we will find a similar situation that the public investment was designed to ease. If it is a small discount, once again it will not be the less well off, but the Tories rich mates that will benefit.

Even if we ignore this and the obvious publicity stunt this is to catch a few votes, and accept it is a good thing and will help, we will see the shares bought up at slightly inflated prices that the small shareholders will see as attractive and a quick profit by the biggest and richest players and we shall be back to square one with the banks owned and run by a few rich individuals who care only about quick profit, whatever the cost.

Mainly, however we should look at the shares fiasco of the 1980’s. It is obvious that the Tory Party has not learned anything, that it has not changed and is dogmatically following the tenets of Thatcherite monetarism. If that’s what you want, vote for them. I want something different. Something none of the three major parties are offering. A return to the manufacturing base that made Britain great and paid high wages to ordinary people. A return to a system that put people before profits, not the utopian ideal that the benefits of capitalism and profit will inevitably trickle down to the less fortunate.

Written by Smiling Carcass

21/02/2010 at 1:10 PM

£16m Rover Report

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An independent report into the collapse of MG-Rover has been handed to the government. It cost £16m and took four years.

In 2005 Andrew Johnson and Steve Bloomfield for The Independent asked MG Rover Closure: ‘What happened to all that money?’

The cost of support packages had £171m allocated and a projected likely spend was £146m. (Figures are from the National Audit Office. (Download Links in PDF format.)

It seems while the workforce were working overtime, seven days a week to try to make the plant and the company profitable and save their jobs, the ‘Phoenix Four’ were busy lining their pockets as quickly as possible in advance of the collapse.

When you look at the amount of money spent on closing the plant with the loss of 6,000 jobs, at least £187m (not counting the extra costs to the NHS treating depression and related problems, neither the lost revenue from 6,000 taxpayers or the impact on local communities, both financial and social.) it really doesn’t seem to make economic, political or social sense. Even if they all got a job at Tesco’s (suggested by Margaret Hodge, work and pensions minister at the time) the difference in wages, and therefore the tax they would pay would be considerable.

It seems to be just another case of the workforce making all the effort, the bosses taking all the credit and profit and the workforce paying the price. Oh yes, while the government stand back, with their gold-plated unassailable wages, expenses and pensions doing nothing but spout rhetoric and commission expensive ‘independent’ reports that give their pals a ‘raison d’être’.

And I ask, what good will the report be? Will it highlight how things might have been done better, perhaps saving jobs? Probably not, but too late if it does. Will it highlight the failings of the Phoenix Four? Maybe, but will anything be done? Doubtful. Will it change government attitudes or produce a different strategy to save jobs in future? Well, ignoring the fact that this was the last big employer, certainly in the car industry, definitely in the West Midlands and so a similar situation is unlikely it won’t change government attitudes until there is a change in political, social and economic thinking. The recent closure of LDV with a refusal to help from New Labour proves this. The banks got billions, changed little though this was a requirement of the funding and are now shedding staff. Yet the relative pittance LDV asked for as a bridging loan while takeover negotiations continued was refused.

This country was once great because of the industrial revolution; because of its strong manufacturing base and because of engineering skills this manufacturing base produced. This country is now collapsing socially, economically and politically because we are allowing these strengths to fail Lack of investment has led a decline (often blamed on unions and the workforce). In the 1970’s I was milling cylinder heads on pre-war milling machines, drilling sumps on pre-war radial drills. We need to reverse this trend by injecting money into engineering and manufacturing alongside new technologies. It will be expensive and painful. But we might once again lead the world and make a better future for our children and our children’s children.

Written by Smiling Carcass

27/06/2009 at 1:16 PM

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