The Socialist 21 June 2007 |
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Gordon Brown's 'coronation'
New PM... same old Bosses' agenda
Wealth gap widens
The wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain has more than trebled under Brown's stewardship. They had an income between them of £360 billion in 2006, which was £59 billion more than the previous year, an increase of 20%.
Britain's 54 billionaires last year paid only £14.7 million tax - just 0.1% of their incomes! The poorest fifth of the population pay nearly 10% of their income in direct taxes, and another 28% in indirect taxation.
Corporation tax on companies since 1997 has been cut from 33p to 28p.
Being known as 'Mr Prudent' hasn't stopped Gordon Brown wasting £76 billion of public funds on a replacement for the Trident nuclear missile programme.
He has also dug deep (£7.4 billion up to April 2007) to finance the bloody wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brown has made it absolutely clear he will continue with Blair's privatising policies.
He will accelerate 'reform' in the NHS, and has earmarked another £50 million worth of public assets for privatisation.
£5 billion annually is currently handed over to private contractors, for treatment centres, GP services, etc.
Attacks on public sector
Many public-sector workers are raging at Brown's 2% wage limit, effectively a pay cut. Other battles are looming, such as against Royal Mail plans to axe 40,000 jobs and close a further 2,500 post offices.
200,000 civil servants were forced to take strike action on 1 May against huge job cuts, privatisation and pay cuts. Brown has spear-headed the attacks on the civil service. In 2004 he announced the axing of 104,000 civil service jobs.
Public sector occupational pensions have been attacked. Many face having to work longer, pay more in contributions and receive smaller pensions.
In 1997 Brown gave big business the green light to cut workers' occupational pension schemes. Companies also took massive 'pension holidays' - they stopped paying employers' contributions - saving them £4,000 a worker every year.
A top UK company director can retire at 60 on a final-salary pension of £3 million. Whereas a majority of UK workers face retirement at 65 or later on inadequate pensions; a single person's state pension is a paltry £84.25 a week.
Brown's own pension will more than double when he becomes prime minister, to £123,000 a year.