Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/774/17127
The Socialist 17 July 2013 |
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Them & Us
A third of the country is now effectively a no-go zone for low-income families because of high rents.
A recent report from the Resolution Foundation shows that a couple with one child and an income of £22,000 would have to spend more than 35% of their income on rent in all but a third of local authority areas in the UK.
Rents that bear no relation to what people can afford to pay are the main reason for the rocketing housing benefit bill - essentially a huge subsidy to private landlords that allows them to charge whatever they like.
A rent cap combined with investment in building affordable social housing is the only sensible solution.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics:
- 36% of income paid in tax by poorest fifth of households
- 35.5% of income paid in tax by richest fifth of households
Being knighted wasn't quite enough for turning his back on the trade union movement for former TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.
Now it's emerged that he received a one-off payment of £104,379 when he retired in 2012. It's alright for some - the public sector workers who he failed to lead to victory in the dispute over public sector pensions won't be living quite the same retirement lifestyle as him.
What type of jobs?
Whenever unemployment figures show a tiny increase in the numbers in employment, the government cheers its success at solving the jobs crisis.
But what type of jobs are people getting? More than 75% of the net rise of jobs in the last three years has been in low-paying sectors like retail and care.
Most of these new jobs are paying below £8 an hour - in reality well below what people actually need to live, particularly in the cities and the south east.
Looks like a corporation...
The committee set up to investigate tax avoidance by companies like Google and Starbucks has also challenged Prince Charles on his tax affairs.
A landed estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, pays Charles £19 million a year but pays no capital gains or corporation tax itself.
The aide who represented Charles at the committee insisted the estate is a "force for social good" and should not be counted as a corporation. Yet its properties include a distribution warehouse used by Waitrose.
We can't help but agree with the MP on the committee who commented: "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck you sort of assume it's a duck."
A record number of children may be left home alone this summer because of unaffordable childcare costs.
The average cost of just one week's childcare during the summer holiday this year is expected to be £109.23.
Many childcare centres have closed completely after local authority cuts. And youth services have been ravaged by austerity so parents with older children are likely to particularly struggle.