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AltAusterity Digest #41 March 29 - April 4, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Apr 07, 2018

In the UK, youth workers have claimed austerity is in part responsible for the increasing murder rates among young people. As youth services have been rolled back and poverty has increased, teenagers are increasingly ‘vulnerable’ to being pushed into cycles of violence. London in particular has seen its highest murder rate since 2011 – putting it above New York for the first time ever – with 47 murders recorded this year.

Rail workers in France have scheduled strikes for two days out of every five until June 28th protesting Emmanuel Macron’s pro-business plans for France’s state rail network. Regional, local and international trains have all been disrupted by the strike and millions of commuters were affected. Macron’s economic liberalization push has proposed cutting rail workers’ employment rights and turning the state rail network (SNCF) into a publicly listed company. While the French government has denied any plan for rail privatization – they plan to own 100% of the shares – the unions and those on the left are skeptical of the restructuring of the public service.

The most recent spending bill passed by the GOP includes an expansion of a controversial Obama-era program called the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). The program works by allowing private companies to restore and manage public housing in exchange for tax credits and subsidies. Many affordable housing advocates have been cautiously optimistic about RAD due to the $49 billion in backlogged repairs and maintenance that public housing faces in the US. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report has identified numerous problems with the program including uncertainty over whether tenants can exercise all their rights, an exaggeration of the capital generated, and issues concerning the long-term affordability of units.

In a speech on Spain’s economic recovery IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton celebrated the nation’s policies of internal devaluation. While Lipton praises the strong growth of Spain as it currently stands, he goes on to identify certain “downside risks” that need to be addressed. These include reducing the debt burden, strengthening balance sheets in the private sector, further labour market flexibility and increased active labour market policies.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation!