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From: The Socialist issue 847, 11 March 2015: Save our schools!

Search site for keywords: Them & Us - London - Taxes - Cuts - Government - Council - Berkshire - Transport - Freedom of Information Act - Austerity - Boris Johnson

Them & Us

Misery heaped on misery

The Tory/Lib Dem coalition has imposed massive council spending cuts with Labour-run authorities in the poorest boroughs dutifully wielding the axe.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) overall council spending has fallen by a fifth since 2010 with the hardest hit areas being the north east, north west and London.

The IFS also reckons that the next tranche of savage government austerity cuts will fall disproportionately on those boroughs that have already been hit the hardest.

Global warning

60% more greenhouse gases were pumped into the atmosphere (largely from capitalist industry and transport) in 2014 than in 1990, the year against which most reduction targets are measured.

Interest-free loans

Coming in at number three on the Forbes Rich List is US tycoon, Warren Buffet. Buffet's wealth rocketed $14.5 billion to $72.7 billion, due to his Berkshire Hathaway company's rising share price.

Another feature of Berkshire Hathaway is its ability to delay paying corporate taxes. Astonishingly the company has deferred $61.9 billion - around eight years' worth - of taxes. Whereas a US worker can be fined 25% of the tax due for late payment, it seems that large corporations are allowed to record profits on investments that are not taxed until later in the life of these assets.

During the recent 'great recession' Congress expanded these incentives for business investments. So Buffet is able to use the money for other investments - an arrangement he has described as 'an interest-free loan from the government'.

Never mind the 'b......s'

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the UK's 50 worst air pollution hotspots are located in London. Each site exceeds the EU limit for nitrogen dioxide - linked to asthma, lung infections and other respiratory diseases - by at least two, and in some cases, three times.

Last year, Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson dismissed as "bollocks" claims by King's College researchers that Oxford Street was one of the most polluted streets on the planet.

Research by the Campaign for Clean Air found that 1,148 schools in London are within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 or more vehicles a day.

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