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From: The Socialist issue 929, 14 December 2016: NHS crisis: we're fighting back

Search site for keywords: Them & Us - US - Poverty - Wealth - Minimum wage - Children - Rich - Pay - Austerity - Super-rich

Them & Us

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon

Them and us fishes, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

Billions for them...

What might the super-rich pick up as stocking fillers this Christmas?

It's been a good year. According to poverty charity Oxfam, the wealth of the wealthiest 62 billionaires equalled the bottom half of humanity this January. Six years ago, it would have taken 388 of them.

You can buy a plate from Tokyo Design Studio for 13,200. For the equivalent of a year's gross salary on the minimum wage, it must be a really good plate. The Socialist assumes it makes the food itself and washes itself up afterwards.

Or if you're more the festive clothing type, how about a fox fur and Swarovski crystal woolly hat? The 'Jennifer Behr Narcissus Pom Pom' cashmere beanie is just 677. You can pick that up for three weeks' net pay on the minimum wage.

Of course, for the buyer on a budget, there's the perennial favourite: socks. A cashmere pair hand-cranked to order in Devon from a 19th century 'Harrison Sun' sock machine goes for 60.

That's just a shade more than a week's under-25 jobseekers' allowance. Useful for walking to the dole office when you can't afford the bus.

... beans for us

Meanwhile, 120,000 children will be homeless at Christmas this year. That's a rise of 15% on last year, according to poverty charity Shelter's figures.

One in eight UK workers now lives in poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. That's 3.8 million people.

That means that of all those in poverty, 55% are in working households. The charity says that's a record high. In fact, since 2010-11, when the establishment claims the economic 'recovery' began, it has risen by 1.1 million.

A total of 7.4 million people in the UK, over a third of them children, are in poverty. This is despite their families working.

It's clear the wealth is out there, it's just concentrated at the top. It goes on 13,200 plates, or more often lies idle awaiting more profitable times for investment. Take the wealth off the 1% - end austerity - 10 an hour minimum wage now.

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