Notts Save Our Services
PRESS RELEASE: January 17th, 2012
Anti-cuts campaigners condemn government of “haves and have yachts”
Nottinghamshire Save Our Services (Notts SOS) have condemned Education Secretary Michael Gove’s suggestion that a new royal yacht be gifted to the Queen to mark the diamond jubilee.
Gove made the suggestion in a confidential letter sent to Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary and minister overseeing the celebrations, and to the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.
In 2007, when the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned, the cost of a new yacht was estimated at £60m.
Downing Street has been quick to insist there will be no government money for the project, despite the suggestion in Gove’s original letter, that might be a possibility. It appears that the key source of funding will be millionaires and corporate sponsors.
The government apparently feels it cannot tax these organisation and individuals to fund public services, but is happy to ask for sizeable donations for a new royal yacht. Whether public money or not, campaigners believe that this is a kick in the teeth to those affected by the vicious cuts imposed by the coalition government.
Rather than directing money to help those afflicted by their policies, the coalition would rather fritter it away on an oversized bath toy for one of the richest people in the country.
Brian Hocknull from Notts SOS said, “We keep being told that there’s no money, which is why services have to be cut. But apparently there’s money enough for the Royal Wedding; money for tax breaks for Philip Green, Vodafone and Goldman Sachs; money for wars in Libya and Afghanistan; money to turn London into a police state during the Olympics; and money for a new royal yacht. It seems the only thing there isn’t money for is ordinary people.”
“So much for all being in it together. My local Authority has had its central government funding cut by at least 28% over 4 years which will lead to decimation of services and privatisation of many remaining ones – both resulting in many redundancies” said Richard Buckwell, Ashfield UNISON’s branch secretary.
“My members also face pay cuts over 4 years, and the government is in the process of stealing £900 million from our pension funds – will this be going to fund a new royal yacht? We should be told”
Claire Taylor from Notts SOS added, “The reality of the government’s so-called austerity drive is that it those at the top are shielded from it. Public sector workers see their pensions under attack and their jobs at risk; disabled people fear being forced off benefits by welfare privateers such as Atos; and unemployed people are expected to work without pay under the Work Programme.
“Meanwhile the rich keep getting richer. Despite a stagnating economy, the number of millionaires in the UK rose by 17% from 2008-11. Bankers continue to rake in massive bonuses. FTSE 100 directors have seen their total earning rise almost 75% since the 2009 recession. We are very definitely not all in this together. This is a government defending the interests of the haves and have yachts.”
Notts SOS was launched in September 2010. They oppose cuts to services, job losses and cuts in benefits and aim to support workers organisations, service users, community groups in fighting cuts in Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire. They hope to inspire confidence to think, meet and act. And to be inspired.
Notts SOS website: http://nottssos.org.uk
Notts SOS Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/nottssos
Notts SOS Indy.im feed: https://indy.im/nottssos
Contact email: nottssos [at] gmail.com