Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/790/17804
Them & Us
Millions of hard-pressed households have just had their energy bills ratcheted-up to stratospheric levels by the 'big six' companies, accompanied by apologetic letters saying their 'hands are tied' due to government taxes, transportation costs, etc.
However, this disingenuous drivel has been blown apart by the publication of their latest profit figures from Ofgem, the toothless 'industry regulator'. It shows that the big six' profits have risen from £30 to £105 per household - over a 300% increase in three years!
Never mind Labour's limited price freeze, nationalise them now!
Deleted from the Tory party's website are David Cameron's 'vote blue, go green' speeches when in opposition. But the PM is only being consistent as he recently told aides to "get rid of all the green crap" from energy bills. Any suggestion that big Dave is submitting to the demands of the big six energy giants is just socialist paranoia.
The minimum wage of £6.31 for adults isn't a living wage but some employers aren't even paying this statutory requirement. In the privately run social care sector, HM Revenue and Customs inspectors found that, in 183 investigations, 48% of employers had paid workers below the national minimum wage. Some £338,835 in back pay is owed to 2,443 workers.
But this is the tip of an iceberg. Out of around one million care workers, an estimated 220,000 are paid less than the minimum wage.
The head of the Low Pay Commission told the Guardian that cuts in council funding had left rising numbers of care firms with 'little option' but to break the law by paying below the minimum wage.
The only 'option' is to organise workers to fight for a decent living wage.
Christmas, so the adverts constantly remind us, is a time for giving. But for tax avoiding companies and rich individuals it appears to be all year long - at the expense of charities and the public.
Offsetting tax through the government's Gift Aid scheme is, according to the National Audit Office, actually costing the public purse a hefty £940 million a year. At the same time the total sum received by charities, £1.04 billion, actually fell by £20 million since 2000. As the saying goes, charity begins at home!
Targeting the vulnerable
Seriously ill patients, including people suffering cancer, are being threatened with the loss of benefits under new government rules.
Not content with imposing the hated bedroom tax and driving through the unworkable universal benefit scheme, welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith is reportedly keen to scrap work-related activity benefits (Wrag) and push claimants onto Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
Wrag is designed to assist 550,000 people with illnesses providing that they participate in training or practice interviews. However, if pushed onto JSA they would be subject to benefit sanctions if their illness results in them not attending enough work interviews. Yet again, vulnerable people are being made to pay for the government's austerity.
What we saw
"Re-tool Boeing to produce mass transit instead of destructive war machines"
Video of Kshama Sawant, winning Socialist Alternative city council candidate for Seattle, addressing Boeing aerospace workers during the election campaign
In The Socialist 27 November 2013:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party review