Fight back now

Or we’ll be facing even more of the same kind of Thatcherite crap the UK has now:

George Osborne moved to deregulate the labour market by announcing big fees to deter workers bringing employment tribunal action such as unfair dismissal and race discrimination cases.

In a move condemned by the unions as an attempt to silence the vulnerable, workers will face a £150 to £250 charge to make any employment tribunal application and a further £1,000 for starting a hearing. The sums would be higher for compensation claims of more than £30,000.

The charges, recoverable if a case is won, come on top of a move to deprive access to tribunal for all workers with less than two years’ continuous employment.

The announcements came alongside a novel plan to avoid a second credit crunch by the Treasury buying corporate bonds from small businesses, the first time it has intervened so directly to get money to business. Details of the credit easing plan suggest a Treasury-underwritten multibillion pound line of credit to small firms – an admission that Britain’s battered banks, assaulted by the euro crisis, are simply not in a position to deliver.

In a sombre speech Osborne repeatedly insisted Britain can ride out the economic storm so long as the government does not retreat from its determination to cut the deficit.

Addressing the Keynesians in his own cabinet and in the Labour party, he said: “Borrowing too much is the cause of Britain’s problems not the solution. Let’s say we added to the structural deficit with more borrowing. We’d be gambling the priceless fiscal credibility that this government has earned with the international markets on the bet that borrowing a few billion pounds would make all the difference. We’d be abandoning the deficit plan that has brought the stability other nations today crave for say five, 10, 20 billion pounds of borrowed spending on the illusion that such sums would transform our economy when we’re already spending £3tn over the next few years.”

In a neat moment of theatrical timing, the credit ratings agency S&P selected the halfway point during Osborne’s speech to reaffirm the UK’s triple A credit rating.

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