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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 July 2012

Them&Us

UK swindlers plc

'Bankers' has become a byword for swindlers after these fat cats stuffed their pockets with bonuses while engaging in fraudulent activities and then received billions of pounds in bailouts from public funds.

But instead of marching these miscreants to the scaffold Tory chancellor George Osborne is reported in the Financial Times as saying he will fight for the right of UK banks to pay big bonuses when he attends the next meeting of European finance ministers.

Money talks

A 92 million lobbying campaign last year saved big finance capital billions of pounds by changing government taxation policies.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, finance lobbyists on behalf of City of London corporation, the British Bankers' Association and the Association of British Insurers secured from the chancellor the slashing of UK corporation tax and taxes on banks' overseas subsidiaries.

The Bureau identified 129 organisations engaged in some form of lobbying for the finance sector, with 800 people employed directly.

This big business firepower is in addition to political donations by City firms and individuals which totaled 6.11 million last year to the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem parties.

Cuts and cuts

The living standards of the working and middle classes and the public services they use are being squeezed mercilessly by the government's austerity measures. But it transpires that the Con-Dems cuts are even more draconian than first thought.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies the government spent 11 billion less than its budget between 2011 and 2012, rather than the 4.4 billion it had previously forecast. The biggest cut was in the health service budget which lost an extra 1.7 billion.

These devastating extra cuts follow Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood's comment that this age of austerity could last to 2020 and beyond.

Unacceptable incomes

Cuts to benefits such as working tax credits, along with rising childcare, transport and other costs, have impacted so hard on families that according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity, a couple with two children must earn a minimum of 38,000 a year to have a "socially acceptable" standard of living.

The government's Universal Credit system of benefits - 'to make work pay' - starting in January 2013, will push even more families into poverty.

Women hardest hit

The capitalist recession and government's cuts have resulted in a sharp rise in unemployment. And among those losing jobs the largest affected group of workers has been middle aged women.

According to figures from the House of Commons library, unemployment among women aged 50 to 64 has risen by 39% in the last two years, compared with an overall rise of 5%.

This age/gender group receives, on average, 10% less pay than male workers and has the added burden of responsibility of being an important section of society's unpaid carers.

Women in their mid-50s have also been hit hard disproportionately in cuts to pension entitlements.

Defence priorities

The astronomical Sliding Spring Survey, which scans the southern hemisphere for earth-bound asteroids, will close next month due to a lack of funding. Its replacement won't arrive until 2017.

Commenting on this lack of monitoring, New Scientist points out that the cost of maintaining this early warning defence of earth for the next five years is only $1 million. In the same period global 'defence' spending will be about $7.5 trillion.

Free fall

The 8 million west London 'free school' project of Tory Toby Young has run into the rocks when building contractors left last month amid concerns over costs.

Free schools and academies, as well as undermining local authority education provision, can be run by outside companies, thereby paving the way for privatisation.

Young's pet project is occupying a former council-owned building which used to house 20 voluntary groups serving the local community who were forced to move out.

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In The Socialist 11 July 2012:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

LOOTED! PFI empties NHS coffers

Fight Profit From Illness

Save Worcestershire A&E services


Socialist Party editorial

Libor scandal exposes rotten racketeering system

Lords reform - Abolish the House of privilege!

Save our server!


Youth Fight for Jobs and Education feature

Fight for a future for the 99%

The politics of fighting the racist EDL

Pride should be about protest, not profits!

Them&Us


Workplace news and analysis

London bus workers discuss new offer: "militant strike action pays"

Build the fightback against the Con-Dems: Join the lobby of the TUC on 9 September

Single status appeal: Victory for Vine workers

Sheffield recycling workers win victory against sackings

Vote no to the local government pension offer

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: Will Mursi's presidential election victory bring real change?


Socialist Party reviews and comments

TV Review: Britain on the brink - back to the '70s

The Shard: As useless as a hole in the ground

Ringing bells in the GMB

Minimum wage, minimum security


Socialist Party news and campaigns

TUSC continues to build support in Liverpool

Leeds protest at prison privatisation rally

Help boost sales of the Socialist

Socialist Party Summer Camp


 

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