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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 October 2012

Them & Us

Minimum wage

Breathe a sigh of relief everybody, the hard times are over - the minimum wage has been increased... by 11p an hour... for over 21s.

For young people the minimum wage remains frozen - it's a shame the cost of bills and food hasn't. According to the Low Pay Commission, the freeze is to make sure there is no incentive for young people to leave education early - except for there being no EMA and fees being 9,000 a year that is.

Even the 11p for older workers represents a 1.8% increase as opposed to at least 2.9% inflation - so a wage cut in real terms.

How many 'scroungers'?

Data from the British Social Attitudes Survey suggests that the average person in the UK thinks that 30% of claims for disability benefit are false.

In fact estimated fraud by those on Disability Living Allowance is 0.4%. Where have people got such a wrong impression from then? The Tory propaganda machine and the constant headlines in the Daily Mail and similar about 'scroungers' and 'benefit cheats' for a start.

And why? As it's such an insignificant number it's obviously not to warn all us hard working tax payers that we're being ripped off.

Much more likely that it's about turning the 99% against each other and getting us behind the Con-Dems' brutal attacks on disabled people.

Pensions for property

After a tough few weeks of bad polls and Youtube spoofs, Nick Clegg is desperate to re-gain ground. His solution? 'Pensions for property'.

In place of a deposit, parents and grandparents approaching retirement will be able to promise that the lump sum they are entitled to on retirement will go straight towards the cost of their children's homes.

This taking-from-peter-to-give-to-paul approach will only further impoverish pensioners and not make any significant dent in the housing crisis.

An online poll by the Telegraph showed 92% think it's a bad idea. Even trying to exploit the huge fear people have over their housing situation won't save the Lib Dems now!

Kick out the fat cats

West Coast Main Line is due to be taken over by FirstGroup from Virgin Trains in December after First bid 1 billion more than Virgin for the franchise, likely to be paid for through cuts in staffing, pay and service quality.

However, according to the Observer, there is a growing belief that First won't be ready in time, so the state company Directly Operated Railways (DOR) will have to 'step in for a while'.

DOR already runs the East Coast Main Line after it failed in private hands. Since being renationalised, East Coast punctuality is at its best for 13 years, with better passenger numbers and satisfaction.

It has also, during this time, made almost 200 million in profits. 200 million is also the figure that Virgin boss Richard Branson has personally made out of (lossmaking, taxpayer-subsidised) privatised railways!

Kick the fat cats off our trains - renationalise the entire rail network but properly under democratic workers' control and management.

Bob Severn

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In The Socialist 3 October 2012:

Education news & analysis

Tory education policy: 'This is just about making cuts isn't it?'

Building the fightback in the universities

Suspended student union president continues fight for reinstatement

NUT activists prepare for action

Barnfield College, Luton: Kick private profit out of education

Partial victory for international students at London Metropolitan

No to slave labour in universities

International socialist news and analysis

Europe: Class struggle returns with a bang

South Africa: Solidarity with miners

Algerian war of independence 1954-1962

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Action against Profit From Illness!

South West NHS workers want action against 'pay cartel'

Save Greater Manchester mental healthcare

Cut the Con-Dems - not our NHS!

Socialist Party workplace news

Bin workers calling indefinite strike brought results

Day of Action to save HMRC nurseries

Crossrail flashmob blocks London's Oxford Street

Arts and culture workers need to fight back

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

The fight of all our lives - For a 24-hour general strike

Councillors must resist all Tory cuts

Thousands march for an independent Scotland

March for Jobs in Scotland

Rape is No Joke campaign discussed

Socialist Party news and analysis

Scotland: Lamont throws Labour Party into crisis

Sickened by Labour conference? Build the anti-cuts alternative!

Council tax benefit - new and not improved

Squatting conviction paves way for rise in homelessness

Them & Us


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