Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/195/8116
Cough Up The Cash Gordon
GORDON BROWN'S election war chest is overflowing. He's got a budget surplus of at least £18.9 billion to add to the £22.5 billion from the auction of mobile phone licences.
£42 billion is the equivalent of £1,000 for every household. It's almost equal to the total annual budget for education and just £12 billion less than total spending on the NHS.
We've heard that Gordon's having trouble spending this embarrassment of riches. So we thought we'd give him a few suggestions.
Flo Allen, pensioner
"All I want to say to Gordon Brown is when are you going to restore the link with earnings for pensioners. Money does not have to go on shells to bomb people. You seem to have money to kill people but do not give any money to keep people alive."
Linda Taaffe, teacher
"He could start by increasing every teacher's wage by £2,000 a year with no strings attached. There's a chronic teaching shortage - at least 1,000 unfilled vacancies in London alone. The only way we can even begin to tackle these shortages and their effect on children's education is by paying teachers a decent wage."
Mick Griffiths, health worker
"In 1998 my union UNISON quoted the Family Budget Unit, saying that the minimum pay rate needed to avoid poverty was between £5.40 and £6.96 an hour. As a hospital porter on £5.10 an hour, how does Gordon Brown expect me to meet the family household bills?
"Instead of giving more tax breaks to benefit the rich, he should be increasing the minimum wage to at least £7 an hour. Anything less than that is leaving me and my union members in poverty".
As Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist says:
"Schools, hospitals and transport are desperate for more investment. The government has got all these billions in the bank but they say they can't spend it because the economy will 'overheat'. This just underlines what a crazy system capitalism is and why people should join our party and fight for socialism".
In The Socialist 2 March 2001: