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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2011

News in brief

Dishonourable member

Tory education minister Michael Gove attacked the 30 June pensions strike by teachers on the grounds that taking such action would sully the good name of the teaching profession. This is rich coming from an MP whose 'profession' is reviled for ripping-off the public purse with bogus expenses claims, cash for questions, honours and influence, and then claiming a gold-plated pension to boot!

The average pension for a teacher after a lifetime of work is around 10,000 a year - while an MP's pension is over 37,000 a year after 20 years.

Children's homes axed

Tory-run Essex county council has formally decided to close its six remaining residential children's homes leaving 131 staff and 29 children facing an uncertain future.

The council claims that "the best interests of the children" were paramount in the decision but the closures will destroy the accumulated professional knowledge of the children's service, which has been praised for its pioneering approach to child development.

Moreover, as the Socialist previously pointed out, while some children may be found placements in foster care this does not suit every child. One of the children affected wrote to David Cameron and told him he had 15 foster placements before settling in his current home.

The real danger though is that children find themselves in the private residential sector where profit is the main focus.

Exploding costs

The government says it hasn't got the cash to fund public services but it seems to have a bottomless purse when it comes to bombing Libya. Since the coalition government joined Nato action in Libya it has spent 250 million in an attempt to oust colonel Gaddafi and bring about regime change. Some estimates suggest the bill could easily rise to 1 billion as the civil war between Gaddafi's regime and the Libyan rebels drags on.

Back in March a sanguine chancellor, George Osborne, told the UK parliament that the costs of the military operation would be in the tens, not the hundreds of millions.

Wealth gap

The world's richest individuals have seen their wealth soar nearly 10% last year to reach a staggering $42.7 trillion. Of these 'ultra-high net worth individuals' the top 1% (roughly 103,000 people) control fully some $15 trillion.

However, for ordinary mortals the years since 2008 have been characterised by wage cuts, rising unemployment and massive government austerity measures. According to the Financial Times: "Fork-lift truck drivers in Britain could expect to earn 19,068 in 2010, about 5% lower than in 1978, after adjusting for inflation. Median male real US earnings have not risen since 1975. Average real Japanese household incomes after taxation fell in the decade to mid-2000s. And those in Germany have been falling in the past ten years."

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In The Socialist 29 June 2011:

30 June pensions strike

Next step: one-day public sector strike

Socialist Party editorial

Con-Dems' pension attack demands coordinated and determined response

Unison conference

Unison conference Socialist Party meeting spells out action needed

Unison delegates reject leadership proposals

Socialist Party news and analysis

Universities on the cheap!

Trade unionists must fight for LGBT rights

Western governments more concerned about business deals than human rights in China

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

'Hard lesson' for tube management as driver wins reinstatement

Shafted By AEI cables

'No redundancies!' say Forest Hill school teachers

Trade union news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save heart services for children!

Jobs threat at Derriford hospital

Nuneaton: exterminate the cuts!

Marching against cuts in Haringey

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Who speaks up for workers?

Socialist Party news

Why I left Labour - and joined the socialists

Public money into private firms' hands

International socialist news and analysis

Greece, Spain, Britain... We won't pay for their crisis

Syria: Regime steps up repression... but opposition continues to grow

Socialist Party review

The Pitmen Painters

Socialist Party features

Workers say: Renationalise the railways!

Private railways rip off fares

National Pensioners Convention parliament

Socialist Party events

Socialist Party summer camp - bigger and better than ever!


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