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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 December 2012

Them & Us

Hot air from Starbucks...

The ever-generous Starbucks has agreed to carry out a review of whether it maybe possible, at some point, to pay a little more tax.

The main reason being that the company recognises the fury their customers feel at multi-billion Starbucks avoiding its tax bill while they're struggling to get by.

Yet they still claim they are paying the right amount. Funny that they might decide to pay more then.

It seems they've thought of other ways to scrimp and save though - 7,000 of the companies' staff have been forced to sign new contracts including cuts to paid lunch breaks, sick leave and maternity benefits.

...and the politicians

Eyebrows must be raised when George 'the slasher' Osborne says he's going to cut down on tax avoidance by rich individuals and wealthy multinationals.

On average, each Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tax inspector brings in 600,000 a year. Fat cat tax dodgers use complex schemes developed by greasy palmed accountants to avoid paying tax on their lavish profits.

Osborne's latest fool proof plan applies the same logic as his scorched earth cuts agenda. HMRC will have 10,000 of its jobs cut by 2015, unless we stand up and fight against it.

Ian Pattison

Wealth gap

A report by the Office for National Statistics has further shown the concentration of wealth in society.

The richest 10% of the population in Britain own 40% of the wealth. They are 850 times as rich as the poorest 10%.

The bottom 50% of households have just 4,400 of cash, property and pensions compared to the 1.2 million held by the top 10%.

But the biggest gap between rich and poor is in pensions savings - the top 10% have pension savings averaging 742,000 - compared to just 4,000 savings for the poorest 50%.

Financially stretched

A poll by the Which? consumer organisation has shown what was already becoming clear. Millions of people are financially struggling. 10% have defaulted on a loan, credit card or housing payment. 1.5 million households have had to use unplanned overdrafts or pay day loans.

With Osborne promising more cuts in his spending review and admitting that the attacks will continue into the foreseeable future, only more people will be pushed to breaking point.

Student suicides

Huge debt from extortionate fees, crippling housing costs, high graduate unemployment, cuts to courses and less and less contact time with lecturers.

It's depressingly understandable that between 2007 and 2011, as the economic crisis bit, student suicides rose by 36% among male students and almost doubled among female students.

The pressure of juggling university work with part-time work to get by, all the while fighting to maintain decent grades to make your thousands of pounds of debt worth it, mean that for the majority of students 'university' means depression and stress.

Gone is the ideal of university being about learning, life experience and finding meaningful employment.

Suzanne Beishon

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In The Socialist 5 December 2012:


 

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