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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2012

Them & Us

Taxing issue

'Only the little people pay taxes' appears to be chancellor George Osborne's mantra after allowing, from 2013, UK-based multinational corporations to avoid paying taxes on profits from offshore operations.

This hand out to big business will cost the Treasury an estimated 1 billion in lost taxes, despite the government's insistence on cuts in jobs and services and other austerity measures to plug its budget deficit.

Bank of Blair

Tony Blair, the former prime minister whose gung-ho invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq by western imperialism have left an enduring legacy of death and destruction, is nowadays scraping a living as an adviser to the world's biggest financial and industrial corporations. This 'work' includes financial giant JP Morgan which, despite suffering an estimated loss of $2 billion, continues to pay Blair an annual $2.5 million for advice.

Indeed, JP Morgan's enthusiasm for Tony's 'skills' shows no signs of dimming as the investment bank recently gave him a $4.2 million mortgage, an act of generosity which must have warmed the hearts of many would-be first time house buyers.

The messianic Blair has also mediated eleventh hour multi-billion dollar merger talks between commodities giant Glencore and mining corporation Xstrata, netting the ex-Labour leader a cool $1 million. Glencore is most notorious for making vast sums by speculating on rising food prices.

But Blair's wealth doesn't only reside in consultancy (including advising Kazakhstan's despotic regime) and speaking fees, he also enjoys a property empire worth over 17 million.

Bugger off

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, London's mayor, has described the strike action of trade unionists in defence of jobs and services as "endless buggeration".

Johnson, with one eye on the Tory party leadership, wants to legally prevent general strike action, public sector strikes and picketing. He also is intent on getting onto the statute books the long-held Tory ruse of demanding a 50% threshold of union members, rather than a simple majority of members who actually vote in a ballot, to validate strike action.

Of course had such a threshold been applied to the last general election then the Tory led-coalition would be deemed illegal - as too would Johnson's mayoral election when the turnout was only 38% of the electorate.

Heroes to zeros

The 2010 Healthcare Financial Management Association winner of the Efficiency Award was Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS foundation trust. The trust said it was "thrilled to have beaten off nationwide competition to win the well respected and coveted award."

In 2011 Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made the final shortlist of four trusts for this 'coveted award'.

The two trusts with the biggest forecast cash cuts in annual income 2011/12 to 2014/15 are... Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals, losing 36 million (13% of its annual income) and Sherwood Forest Hospitals, losing 34 million (also 13%). Both trusts face punitive Private Finance Initiative charges that have to be paid before a patient is treated.

This is another telling example of how efficient market forces are in delivering public services!

Jon Dale

Housing crisis

The latest manifestation of the UK's deepening housing crisis came in figures showing that the number of families forced into B&B accommodation have risen by 44% in the past year - some 3,960 families.

Campaign group Housing Voice says 250,000 new housing starts in England are needed each year to begin to address the current crisis, where affordable house building is down 68% and homelessness up by 26%.

Those qualifying for assistance with homelessness have risen to 50,290 in the last year compared with 40,020 in 2009/10.

This dire situation reflects the failure of the private sector to provide affordable accommodation to buy or rent, the unwillingness of banks to provide mortgages, the government's reluctance to invest in social housing and the effects of its benefit caps.

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In The Socialist 19 September 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

We can beat Con-Dems' austerity

All forces to the point of attack against austerity

NHS: Condition critical

Cable launches new attack on workers' rights

Global warming: Capitalists skating on thin ice

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Marikana miners remain defiant


Stop the deportation of London Met students

Interview with NUS vice-president for union development

No to Gove's counter-reforms

Socialist Party feature

Hillsborough disaster: Truth is out, now justice

Socialist Party workplace news

Sparks' picket blockades Crossrail site

Workers die on tower cranes - Con-Dems cut safety regulations

HMRC seeks to axe workers' childcare

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Oaklands Pool - "This is what we pay our council tax for!"

Salford: Uniting to save mental health services

Fight Tameside library cuts!

Save Hampshire residential care homes

Stop the fire service cuts in West Yorkshire

NSSN supporter invited to address RMT

Socialist Party women

Rape is no joke

Slutwalk: there's NO excuse for rape

Sexism - a product of capitalism

Socialist Party review

Review: "From dole queue to corner and back again"


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