The Socialist 3 December 2014 |
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Them & Us
Home care crisis
A new report by former care minister Paul Burstow has slammed the home care system in England as putting people at risk because of underfunding and the exploitation of care workers.
The report found that 60% of care workers were on zero-hour contracts and a third effectively earning below the minimum wage because they are not paid for travelling between clients.
Some 500,000 elderly and disabled people rely on council and privately run services but rubbish pay and working conditions are causing an annual 20% turnover of staff.
Cash for peerages?
£39 million has been donated to political parties by members of the House of Lords since records began in 2001. Of these, a mere eleven ermine-clad peers gave nearly £14 million to political parties before being enobled.
Tory Lord Fink handed over £2.4 million before getting his peerage in 2011. According to the Sunday Times, Fink runs an offshore investment firm and "has lobbied (Chancellor) George Osborne to ease tax on wealthy foreign hedge fund owners".
On the opposite red leather benches, Labour's Lord Haughey donated a cool £1.3 million to the party before his enoblement last year.
'Plebgate' Tory MP Andrew Mitchell is facing a £1.5 million bill over his failed libel lawsuit against News Group Newspapers. However, the potty-mouthed former cabinet member won't have to hit the streets with a collecting tin as he earns up to £10,000 a day on top of his Commons salary as a City investor and a consultant, as well as owning four properties which includes a £3 million pad in Islington, north London.
No conflict of interests
Before Tory Stephen Dorrell quits as an MP at the next general election, the former chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee will take up a lucrative post as an adviser to accountancy giant KPMG. Coincidentally, KPMG is expected to bid for a £1 billion NHS contract - the largest in the health service's history.
The privatisation of NHS services has accelerated following the government's 2012 Health and Social Care Act (England) which opened up the multi-billion pound health budget to for-profit companies to exploit.
Haves and have nots
With the general election just months away Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip are all promising to slash income tax in order to woo voters. All these establishment parties pledge to ease the tax burden on the low paid. However, an analysis of their tax plans by the Resolution Foundation shows that the main beneficiaries will be the top income earners.
Ukip's package, costing £13 billion, would benefit the richest 10% of households by £1,143 a year but only by £35 for the poorest. The Tories would boost the richest by £649 and the poorest by a paltry £17. Even Labour's plan benefits the better off, while five million of the lowest paid workers will gain nothing at all from any of these parties.
What We Saw
St Louis Rams US football players giving a 'Hands Up' show of solidarity with Ferguson protesters before game
Five Rams players came out of the tunnel with their hands up in a demonstration related to community anger in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson - after a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.