Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/787/17686
Them and Us
After the recent energy prices handbag fight between Labour and Tory MPs, expect a new bidding war for voters' attentions over water bills, which have soared by more than 60% over the past decade.
Like the 'big six' energy corporations, water companies have enjoyed mega-profits (Thames made £1.7 billion in the last five years) since the industry was privatised in England and Wales in 1989. Many water companies also use legal loopholes to avoid paying corporation tax.
They claim higher bills reflect higher infrastructure investment, yet leakage rates are a staggering 22%.
The water industry has also accumulated huge levels of debt overall to finance its operations - costing consumers £2 billion a year more than if it was publicly financed - or nearly £80 per household.
'Regulation' has failed miserably to curb these vulture capitalists. Only with nationalisation can water bills be cut and investment increased.
Who said in 1999: "Taxation is legalised extortion and is valid only to the extent of the law. Tax avoidance is not paying less tax than you 'should'. Tax avoidance is paying less tax than Parliament would have wanted"?
None other than Edward Troup, the six figure salaried and de facto head of HM Revenue and Customs, whose responsibilities include "shaping tax policy and strategy"!
Thanks to Iain Dalton
Free school fraud
Education secretary Michael Gove is accused of sitting on a departmental report revealing widespread financial fraud at a flagship free school.
Free schools are Gove's bright idea, guaranteed to reinforce social inequalities and wreck public education.
The Kings Science Academy in Bradford, previously lauded by Prime Minister David Cameron, spent £86,000 of public money without submitting invoices and used "fabricated invoices".
Auditors reported their findings to police on 23 April this year. However, a redacted report from this probe into the school was only published by the Department for Education two weeks ago after the National Union of Teachers had released its own document into the alleged financial fraud.
Austerity Britain continues to claim more victims. According to housing charity Shelter, 80,000 children in Britain will be homeless this Christmas, many forced into emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.
This shocking statistic follows the government's own figures which report the numbers of homeless families housed in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation being at a ten year high.
The supposed alternative 'cooperative model' to corporate capitalism suffered a humiliating setback after the Co-op bank went into meltdown with £1.5 billion of debt.
A 'rescue' package will force the Co-op's group of supermarkets, funeral homes and pharmacies into handing over 70% of the bank to bondholders led by the US hedge fund asset strippers, Silver Point and Aurelius. Thousands of jobs could be axed along with 15% of the bank's branches.
In The Socialist 6 November 2013:
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