The Socialist 15 February 2012
Them & Us
31% of private sector firms are planning to make redundancies this quarter according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This makes their prediction of unemployment reaching 2.85 million by the end of the year even more likely. In fact the TUC says that if we include those who cannot find full-time work, the real figure would be as high as 6.3 million.
The CIPD's public policy advisor said companies "have decided to push the redundancy button in response to worsening economic news." But the 'worsening economic news' never seems to affect big companies, only the rest of us. We're told our jobs are unaffordable but they've got £130 billion just sitting in the bank!
See www.youthfightforjobs.com for how to fight back.
The government employs all sorts of do-gooders, wanting to help make the country a better place, to fix our so-called 'broken society'. Take Emma Harrison for example. She is apparently a 'families champion', appointed by Cameron to advise on getting 120,000 jobless families back to work. With unemployment still sky-rocketing, it doesn't seem she's had a resounding success.
Harrison runs A4E, one of the private companies contracted to run the government's work-for-your-dole schemes. The company, which she owns 87% of, paid £11 million in dividends last year. That's despite missing all their targets. So remind us again why we're paying Harrison and her cronies that money rather than investing it to actually create some jobs?
The beautiful game
Deloitte's Football Money League has shown that the top 20 football clubs in the world earned €4.4 billion between them last year. Four English teams featured - Manchester United (€367 million), Arsenal (€251.1 million), Chelsea (€249.8 million) and Liverpool (€203.3 million). So how come ticket prices for watching these clubs are going through the roof? The price of a season ticket to Liverpool has gone up by (taking into account inflation) 1,100% since 1990! Working class fans, with finances squeezed by everything else going on, are excluded from football grounds.
One rule for them...
Recognising the crippling effect of childcare prices, the Social Market Foundation think tank has helpfully suggested that parents should be able to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the costs. They would then have the repayments directly deducted from future pay checks, much like student loans.
But hold on, when the banks were in trouble in 2008, there was no talk of loaning them money, the government bailed them out to the tune of £37 billion, little-to-no questions asked! And as a result parents are losing tax credits, Sure Start and nursery services. They might be forgiven for questioning why they don't also deserve a 'bailout' - free childcare for all.
Cashing in on Whitney
Everyone knows that an artist's work becomes more valuable after they die. But not quite to the extent that fans saw after the death of Whitney Houston on Saturday 11 February. The price of purchasing The Ultimate Collection on iTunes increased by 60% from £4.99 to £7.99 a matter of hours after the singer was pronounced dead. Sony music claim the original price was wrong and Houston's death just made them realise their mistake. But with her records expected to top charts in the coming weeks, that seems just a little too convenient.
The Con-Dems promised us lower energy bills. They've even taken the unusual step (for them) of spending money to make homes more energy efficient. But the Guardian has revealed that bills will still go up for two thirds of households, by even more than the increase in oil prices.
That's more off the top for the energy companies, who aren't exactly struggling as it is - they're already making an average of £125 a year profit from each household!
In this issue
Fighting the cuts
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns