Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/528/3996
News in brief
CIVIL SERVANTS union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has called for trade unionists to pile pressure on the Labour government later this month. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has made the first move in what must be a generalised attack on the Brown administration's public-sector pay policy, he told a meeting in Plymouth.
Mark is pushing for sections of his union to take strike action on 24 April, the day of the NUT national strike. Mark urged every trade unionist to support strikers on the picket lines and "make it clear we want something to change. That will be a major contribution to building pressure." He was speaking at the launch of a Public Services Alliance for the south-west.
THE TREASURY Select Committee of MPs has attacked the abolition of the lowest, 10%, rate of income tax. From 1 April this year, many of Britain's lowest paid workers will now have to pay 20% of their taxable income instead of 10%.
Standard income tax has gone down from 22% to 20% but the lowest rate of income tax has gone. Many workers earning under £18,500 a year will lose out, some by as much as £232 a year, particularly households without children or those over the age of 65.
Some MPs think Brown's last budget as Chancellor opted for a 2p headline tax cut and paid for it with attacks on the living standards of the low-paid. Even some Labour MPs are critical of this ratcheting up of class inequalities and are talking of opposing the Finance Bill which confirms the tax changes.
WATER INDUSTRY regulator Ofwat aims to fine Britain's second biggest water company Severn Trent Water over £35 million (2.9% of total turnover) for deliberately giving false information to its customers.
The company admits misreporting how much water had leaked from its system in 2001-2002. False figures affect customers' bills as Ofwat compares water company performance to fix prices. Previously the company had been fined large sums for exaggerating bad debts to justify inflated price rises for customers.
Since Thatcher's government transferred Britain's water and sewage system totally into the private sector, such companies have had huge powers and huge profits. The costs of this are clear. Our solution? Nationalise the water companies and other privatised utilities under democratic working-class control.
In The Socialist 9 April 2008:
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party workplace news
Post Office closures
International socialist news and analysis