The Socialist 11 April 2012
Rage against austerity
Them & Us
Open the books!
Nearly one-in-four books sold in Britain are bought from Amazon.co.uk - the company has made £7.6 billion of sales here in the last three years. How much corporation tax did they pay? Zero. Apparently the company's tax affairs are being investigated in six countries so far. But seeing as this is only a fraction of the £120 billion tax that is evaded or avoided each year, which the government consistently refuses to act on, we won't hold our breaths for a swift repayment.
Two Tory peers who were jailed for false expenses claims of over £11,000 each will be allowed to re-take their seats in the House of Lords after the Easter break. Unlike the House of Commons, there are no rules in the Lords which allow for peers to be expelled. Quite a cosy arrangement for them it seems. And meanwhile, the government has introduced legislation making it easier for companies to sack people.
Employees will now have to have worked at a company for over two years rather than one before they can claim unfair dismissal. No such life-long job guarantees for us then.
Not a happy (Easter) bunny
You might have found a few less Easter eggs in your basket this year - the price of chocolate eggs has risen by up to 50% in two years. Tesco's own brand milk chocolate egg hunt bag, for example, has doubled in price from £1 to £2. And Lindt's famous gold chocolate bunny has gone from £9.99 to £15! You might think that's because the cost of everything has gone up but actually the price of cocoa - the main ingredient in chocolate - has fallen by a third in the same period. So, poor farmers get paid less, we pay more...something doesn't add up...
Greece's Olympic troubles
It seems no section of Greek society can escape the effects of the country's dire economic situation. Only 75 athletes from Greece, the traditional home of the Olympics, will be attending this year's games in London because of funding cuts. Athletes are having to train in facilities without heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer and all domestic competitions are now indefinitely suspended.
In March health secretary Andrew Lansley ordered spot-checks of abortion clinics in a blatant bend-at-the-knee to right-wing anti-choice groups who have stepped up their campaigning recently. 300 abortion providers were visited over three days. Not only was this largely unnecessary and mainly a publicity stunt but now it has been confirmed to have had a massive knock-on-effect on other services. About 580 other inspections - of things like care homes and dentists - were not carried out as a result. Plus, the checks, carried out by the Care Quality Commission, cost £1 million - funny considering there's apparently no money for anything else from the government.
In this issue
Vote TUSC in May
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party reports and campaigns