Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/530/4032
The rich get richer... and we foot the bill!
Tax cuts for the rich
Big business has received a corporation tax cut from 30p to 28p this month (down from 33p when New Labour was elected in 1997). They already help themselves. A National Audit Office study revealed that almost one-third of the UK's 700 biggest businesses pay no corporation tax whatsoever. Revenue & Customs estimates that over £41 billion is lost every year in unpaid taxes.
£50 billion bail-out for the banks!
£50 billion, and probably more, is to be made available to the banks to protect them from the credit crunch. The public purse is coming to the rescue after the banks messed up. As economist Martin Wolf put it: "in the good times the profits are privatised and in the bad times the losses are socialised". Where is the money for the 123 families per day who are seeing their houses repossessed? What about
average household debt of £56,234? Why are banks not using the bail-out to significantly cut mortgage interest rates?
Over the last two decades the earnings of the bosses in the biggest companies have gone from 17 to 75 times the average employee's pay. The last year has seen a 40% increase in dollar billionaires, from 35 to 49 in the UK. Shell Oil's profits, at £13.9 billion, were correctly described as 'obscene' while it costs us more and more to keep cars going. UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline reported an 8% profit rise to £7.9 billion for the year 2007.
We foot the bill
Since 2003, the average gas bill for British Gas customers has risen by 76.7% to £653 per year, according to consumer group Energywatch. Electricity bills have risen by 74.3%, to £413. Last year British Gas reported profits of £571 million, up from £95 million in 2006. In some areas water bills have gone up by 7.8%. Last November Thames Water's profits saw a six-monthly rise of 49.8% to £199.7 million.
Public sector workers' pay
Public sector workers have been offered wage increases that lag well behind the increased cost of living. Meanwhile big business is making enormous profits out of privatising our public services. The strike on 24 April is an excellent start but more is needed to win. The Socialist Party calls for a 24-hour strike throughout the entire public sector against low pay.
Food prices are accelerating at their fastest rate since records began, fuelling a rise in the average family's shopping bill of £750 a year. 17 million tonnes of food goes into landfill every year. Supermarkets and agribusiness prefer to dump it than to sell it cheaper. Tesco announced record profits of £2.8 billion this year.
Ending the 10p tax band
5.3 million people have lost out from the end of the 10p tax band. Combined with the poverty minimum wage you can see why support for New Labour is in a downward spiral. But the problem is the other main parties offer no alternative. Workers need their own party that will stand up for their interests. Help build the Campaign for a New Workers' Party and build the fightback!
In The Socialist 23 April 2008:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis