Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/583/7429
News in brief
AN 'OVERSIGHT', a 'mistake' or being 'badly advised' are the typical lame excuses offered by expenses grabbing MPs. Now, however, Manchester Gorton Labour MP, Gerald Kaufman, has trumped the excuses league table. He blames his outrageous expenses claims (a pair of Waterford crystal bowls and an £8,865 TV) on being afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Poor old Gerald, he simply couldn't stop himself ripping us off. Clearly, he doesn't need opprobrium but our help.
RECENTLY, THE Daily Telegraph urged HM Revenue & Customs to pursue claims of tax avoidance by MPs over their expenses claims. Tax avoidance is something the Telegraph knows a lot about as its owners - the Barclay brothers, Sir Ian and Sir David - are registered as 'non doms', thereby avoiding paying any. Now the brothers are exploiting another tax loophole, allowing their Channel Island based companies to avoid paying VAT on CDs, DVDs and video games sold on the internet. This scam will undermine high street retailers and cut government tax revenues.
Another fine mess
IN A bid to avoid 'government interference' from Chancellor Alistair Darling's multi-billion bailout package for the banking industry, Barclays - the UK's third biggest bank - turned instead to the Abu Dhabi royal family, owners of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Manchester City FC.
Offered extremely lucrative returns compared to other investors, IPIC bought £4.75 billion worth of Barclay's shares only to sell £3.5 billion worth a few months later, netting the company a cool £2.5 billion profit and causing Barclays shares to plummet 13%. Other sovereign wealth fund investors may also pull the plug on Barclays.
Having screwed up its investments Barclays managers are making workers pay by announcing 1,550 job losses.
LDV VANS looks doomed after private equity company Weststar pulled out of a rescue plan, leaving 850 workers unemployed and threatening thousands more jobs in the car components industry. Weststar is hanging around, hoping to pick up LDV at a bargain price now that it's in administration.
Business secretary Peter Mandelson refused a £60 million bridging loan but the cost of closure to the Treasury will be £53 million in unemployment benefits and lost taxes in the first year, while the economy will lose over £200 million of wages, purchases and export revenue.
A delegation by workers to Westminster to ask for a bailout was called off because, scandalously, the Cabinet reshuffle meant no ministers were available to meet them.
In The Socialist 10 June 2009:
Socialist Party election campaign analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party publication
International socialist news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs