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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 October 2007

Any spare cash?

DISPOSABLE INCOME, the amount of money a household has available to spend after all the must-pay bills taxes, utility bills, food, transport, clothing, communication, TV licence fees, insurance and housing has reached its lowest level for a decade.

Price comparison website uSwitch.com says the growing cost of utility bills is a major reason water and heating bills have risen on average by 33% and 46% respectively over the past decade.

Taxes, mainly indirect, and housing also hit finances. Housing costs still take the biggest chunk of household income after what some surveys say is a 231% average increase in house prices and a 44% average rise in rents over the past decade. Average household incomes have grown since 1997, but disposable income dropped 2% over the decade.

Retired and insolvent

THE NUMBER of insolvencies in Britain rose from 30,587 people who became bankrupt or took out an individual voluntary arrangement in 2002 to 113,445 in the year up to June 2007. Around 7% of these were retired people. One in five retired homeowners - 1.1 million people - are still paying off a mortgage as they enter retirement.

A confusing tax and pension credits system leaves many elderly people unaware of the benefits they are entitled to. Age Concern estimates that more than 50% of pensioners are not receiving all the benefits available to them. Some 4.2 billion of benefits are left unclaimed, 2.5 billion of it in pension credits that top up pensioners' incomes.

Child poverty growing

THE SAVE the Children charity says an extra 4 billion is needed from the government if its stated aim of halving child poverty by 2010 has any chance of being met. Otherwise the process would take at least until 2024.

At the same time, the Institute for Public Policy Research says that the number of children in working households in poverty has risen by 20,000 to 1.2 million since 1997. The incomes of the poorest 10% in society have fallen by 2.2% in the past year.

Tory bag 950

BUT OF course life's all right for some. A new fashion handbag is now one of the must-have accessories for the woman about town. The 'Nancy bag' costs up to 950. The bag, adored by Madonna and Halle Berry, was designed by Samantha Cameron, wife of 'caring, sharing' Tory leader Dave.

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In The Socialist 11 October 2007:

Unity with the postal workers

Gloucestershire shows determination

Marching in support of the Burslem 12

Anger at Leighton, Crozier and Brown

Picket line round-up

Determination to continue the battle


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Private hands off our NHS!


What we think

Brown's expedient election climb-down


War and terrorism

Anti-war movement upholds right to protest

Burmese students join London march


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007: Debates to sharpen your socialism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Windscale 1957

Super-rich super-donators

Any spare cash?

Beat back the profiteers

Cuts kill - no reductions in the fire service!


Socialist Party feature

1917 October Revolution: the working class took power


International socialist news and analysis

Darfur bloodshed fuelled by land and oil grab

Iraq occupation: Brown's token gesture


Workplace news and analysis

Civil servants march against cuts and privatisation

Bolton care workers fight on

National Shop Stewards Network holds meetings around the country


 

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triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

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