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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 February 2010

Fast news

It's all for the best

THE NUMBER of housing repossessions for 2009 was the highest since 1995. Some 46,000 homes were repossessed last year, an increase of 6,000 on the total for 2008. In addition, 188,300 homeowners were in serious mortgage arrears.

With people in this recession losing the roof over their head or getting into major financial difficulties paying off their mortgage, Labour housing minister John Healey told Radio 5 Live: "It is impossible for the government to help everyone, it is impossible for everyone to avoid the risk of repossession. It may be, in the end, for some, the only option."

True, the government hasn't helped everyone during the downturn - mainly rich bankers with billions of pounds in bailouts!

And as an MP Healey also helped himself by claiming mortgage interest of 690 a month on his second home in Lambeth, south London.

The flat was sold for 198,000 last year, making Healey a huge 88,000 profit.

He also claimed 1,317 to replace a door. It is unconfirmed that the door was kicked in by irate homeless constituents.

Barclays bonus shame

HAVE THESE people no shame? Despite the government spending billions of pounds from public funds - our money - on bailouts and other costly financial guarantees in order to stabilise the failed banking system, yet another group of rich bankers have awarded themselves a huge bonus pot.

This time it's Barclays bank who announced profits of 11.6 billion for 2009 with 2.7 billion to be paid out in bonuses (nearly 200,000 for each investment banker).

Barclays' justification for paying out bonuses is that the bank didn't accept a direct government bailout. However, according to BBC economist Robert Peston, the bank indirectly benefitted "from a windfall generated by the emergency rescue of the global economy undertaken by governments and central banks, an emergency rescue that was needed in large part because of the havoc wreaked by the excessive risk-taking of banks".

Egypt textile strike

800 textile workers at the Tanta Linen, Flax and Oil company in Egypt recently began an indefinite strike sparked by the sacking of the plant's union president.

Around 400 of the workers later demonstrated outside the Egyptian cabinet office in Cairo and were attacked by the police.

The company was sold off by the Mubarak government four years ago and since then the pay and conditions of the workers there have worsened. Their demands include the reinstatement of the union official, the renationalisation of the company, rehiring workers fired during previous disputes and the handing over of unpaid wages.

This dispute takes place against a background of growing workers' struggle in the country.

Trade unionists and socialists internationally should be campaigning in solidarity with Egyptian workers for basic rights including trade union rights.

Paul Callanan

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In The Socialist 17 February 2010:

Fight council cuts!


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Nominate Roger Bannister: Council workers need a fighting union

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Fast news


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Wales: New challenges for socialists

Celebrate May Day this year with The Socialist


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Massive public sector workers' strike against savage austerity plans

Capitalist crisis threatens the eurozone project

Winter Olympics: Shortage of snow but no shortage of debts?

Protests as Canada's Tories suspend parliament


 

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