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FEATUREMargaret Thatcher THEN…

Unemployment Deemed a ‘price worth paying’, unemployment more

than doubled throughout the 1980s to over three million – the first time since the 1930s. Youth unemployment rocketed. By January 1986 unemployment peaked at 3.1m.

Child poverty Doubled in the first years of the Thatcher government.

Housing Right to buy starts in 1980. Millions bought their

homes at discounted rates as part of her vision of creating a ‘property-owning democracy’. Sold-off homes not replaced.

Financial deregulation In 1986 the ‘big bang’ was a deregulation of the City

would lead to its rise as a global centre – and prepare the way for later financial meltdown.

Privatisation In 1984 BT was privatised – over 2m bought shares.

Privatisation was one of the totemic policies of Thatcher’s premiership and followed from the free- market economic ideology she wished to install in Britain. Later in 1986 British Gas privatised in a share sale worth over £5.4bn. Many other large monopolies and industries would follow, including utilities and the transport system.

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Where there is discord may we bring harmony. And where there is despair, may we bring hope

Margaret Thatcher 1979

Foodbank 1984 – Miner’s wife distributing food parcels at Christmas, at the Easington Colliery

18 uniteWORKSMay/June 2013 ...NOW

Unemployment Peaked at almost 2.7m at the end of 2011, its highest level

for 17 years. Now 2.56m. 1m young people on the dole echoes of her ‘unemployment to bring down inflation policy’.

Child poverty Government predicts this set to rise again by at least

200k this year.

Housing Number of people officially classed as homeless in England

has jumped by 14 per cent. Almost 70k children are in homeless households. There are 5m people needing housing and 600k are being displaced by the bedroom tax because councils sold off assets and forbidden to replace them with new stock.

Bankers’ bonuses Although top bankers’ bonuses were slightly down on last

year they were clearly still raking it in. Barclays announced on Budget day it was paying £39.5m in bonuses to its top bankers, including £17.6m to its investment banking head, Rich Ricci.

Utilities’ profits Shares are now owned by a few powerful globals with wealth

concentrated in the hands of an elite. CEO pay is running away while real wages are dropping. Former public utilities are now private concentrations with total fuel bills now £1,500 a year and Europe’s dearest train travel.

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We owe it to our kids to fight for an alternative rooted in fairness and co- operation, where people in need get a hand up and where the markets are the servants – not the masters of the people

Len McCluskey

Foodbank 2012 – Helpers at a Trussell Trust foodbank, Christmas 2012. Foodbanks are now opening at a rate of three a week to meet need

Keith Pattison/

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