The Socialist 4 July 2012
Kick 'em out!
Tax haven in the city
The 'event of the summer' will be treated just like the tax havens of Jersey or the Virgin Islands. Olympic sponsors are being given temporary exemption from corporate tax. It could mean companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds avoid paying up to £600 million in tax.
Even the London Organising Committee has got itself a £100 million tax concession. Presumably the low-paid catering, security and stewarding staff can't expect the same treatment. This is yet another bailout for the super-rich.
Newham, the borough containing the Olympic Park, was promised the world when London won the Olympic bid back in 2005. Billions of pounds of public money have been spent within its borders and yet residents are still waiting to feel the effects.
A study by the London School of Economics has shown that the gap between household income in Newham and the rest of London grew between 2006 and 2011. Between 2005 and 2010 unemployment in Newham grew 44%.
The Olympic Games are starting to look something like a James Bond film at best: An 5,000 volt electric fence will separate the area from the rest of London. 9,500 police officers will be on duty at peak times and the security team will include 23,000 officers including 13,500 military and 1,000 US diplomatic and FBI agents. Boats on the Thames that get too close to restricted areas will be caught in 'entanglement mechanisms'.
Even the air over east London is a no-go zone. And the military will be pre-authorised to shoot down anything that violates this order - presumably using the ground-to-air missiles planted on people's roofs across the capital. And all this for a snip at an estimated £1 billion.
People who live and work in the Olympic boroughs are putting up with a lot for the Olympics - a transport nightmare, price increases, long working hours. But when the Games are over, we've been told we'll be re-paid in kind - five brand new neighbourhoods, 11,000 new properties built on the Olympic site in the next 20 years, and more than a third of them affordable.
But changes introduced by the Con-Dems mean that affordable can be anything up to 80% of market rate. So in Newham, one of the Olympic boroughs, an 'affordable' two bedroom property could be £762 a month.
A Newham housing worker was quoted in the Independent saying: "There are 32,000 people on the social housing waiting list here and we don't expect the Olympic Park to make a dent in that."
In this issue
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party LGBT
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party appeal
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party review