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1 July 2009

Fast news

Blundering Boris

BORIS JOHNSON, the Tory London mayor, came into office on a 'clean up politics' and 'value for taxpayers' money' election ticket. Unfortunately for the Tory buffoon his deputy, Ian Clement, has been forced to quit after misusing a corporate credit card only days after Johnson publicly backed him.

Scotland Yard has opened a fraud inquiry over Clement's use of his official credit card for groceries, car repairs and meals with his girlfriend.

Clements' resignation is the third deputy mayor to depart since Johnson was elected in May 2008. These political embarrassments for Boris are on top of his chief political adviser being sacked and his Olympics adviser stepping down over a financial scandal.

Corus cuts

STEEL MAKER Corus has announced a further 2,000 job cuts at its plants in Teesside, Scunthorpe and Rotherham. These losses are on top of the 2,500 job cuts announced in January and come about despite a series of concessions made by workers to secure employment. Indeed, workers at Corus in Scunthorpe are currently balloting over the company's plans to introduce pay cuts and worsen working conditions. Unfortunately, the Community Union is not recommending a 'no' vote.

Corus is owned by the Tata Steel conglomerate which made a 2.8 billion profit in 2007-08, handing its shareholders a 22% increase in dividends.

Instead of accepting cutbacks, Corus workers should be taking militant industrial action against a ruthless employer.

Shrinking economy

THE LATEST ONS data shows that the UK economy shrank by 2.4% in the first quarter of 2009, the fastest rate in more than 50 years. This is in stark contrast to chancellor Alistair Darling's rosy economic outlook given in his recent budget speech.

Last week, an OECD report revised down its forecast for the UK economy this year. It now says the economy is in "sharp recession" with output set to contract by 4.3%, compared to its earlier prediction of 3.7%. And in 2010, the OECD predicts zero growth and a budget deficit of 14% of GDP (total output).

Network bonuses

WHILE WORKERS are being made to pay for the capitalist economic crisis with cutbacks in jobs, pay and conditions, top bankers, City bosses and MPs continue to stuff their pockets with bonuses and ludicrous expenses.

The latest group of shysters are Network Rail bosses. The top dogs at the publicly funded body (whose net debt is 22.3 billion) are set to receive bonuses totalling over 1.2 million. This outrageous news was buried on the day that Michael Jackson's death dominated the headlines.

Network Rail's chief executive Ian Coucher will pocket over 150,000 in 'incentive payments', based on the company's performance over the last three years - a period which has seen massive disruption to the rail infrastructure especially on the West coast main line.