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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 June 2013

Them & Us

A façade, literally

In preparation for the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, £2 million was spent on tackling dereliction. Not by building or renovating new houses or services, but, in the main, by covering any undesirable looking buildings with painted boards to hide the effects of the recession away for the duration of the meeting.

Stickers and paintings showing bustling and booming shops cover the empty ones that now litter most streets across Northern Ireland.

Elitism

We're constantly told that life is getting easier and easier for young people - these days everyone can go to university if they work hard enough, no matter what background they're from.

But a new study shows that the top Russell Group universities are getting more rather than less elitist.

They're letting in fewer state school students now than they were a decade ago. This is despite a separate piece of research recently showing that, on average, state school students do better at university than private school ones.

The government's social mobility tsar Alan Milburn was quoted as saying that the increase in the cap in tuition fees to £9,000 a year might have something to do with it, but not necessarily. Hmmm.

Cave living

It has been widely reported that desperate eastern European migrants are living in sheds and even in old fridges across the country.

Now it has been revealed that one group have taken up residence in a squalid network of caves near Stockport.

The caves, used as shelter during air raids in World War Two, are thought to 'house' possibly hundreds of people who came to Britain hoping for a better life than was on offer in their home countries.

Maternity shortages

Shortages of midwives and maternity beds lead to maternity wards closing 1,000 times each year. Thousands of women in labour have to travel miles to find an open ward.

The Royal College of Midwives estimates that an extra 5,000 midwives are needed to cope with the rising birth rate - the "efficiency savings" being squeezed from the NHS won't allow for that.

Racket

Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth has recently taken up a part time (paid at least £15,000) consultancy job with QuickQuid - the payday loan racket infamous for charging up to 1,734% annual interest rates.

The company was recently named by the Office of Fair Trading as being responsible for widespread irresponsible lending.

Not to mention that most of the people forced to use payday lenders are there because of the cuts carried out by Howarth's party in government.

Deep freeze

The public sector pay freeze in place since 2010 has caused misery for millions. But it's just not enough for the government - pay needs to be more frozen, it seems.

Some public sector workers have seen pay progression in that time as it was contractually obliged. In the upcoming spending review this will be ended, with an extra £1.5 billion cut from wages. And the government has told workers to expect more pay cuts from 2015 too.

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In The Socialist 19 June 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cuts can be beaten!

Why we're going to the NSSN conference: Coventry communications workers

Fight the Tories for right to a decent education system

Student loans threat: Action needed on student debt mountain

Lowest living standards in a decade

Sir 'sell-out' Brendan

Them & Us


Fighting the bedroom tax

We can beat the bedroom tax - Supplement to the Socialist

Let's axe the bedroom tax


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: Eyewitness to Erdogan's state terror


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton byelection: Labour vote halved

Fire cuts - public will support strike action

Stopping the BNP from meeting

Home care: Cuts and outsourcing equal abuse

Wales campaigners fight for NHS

Socialist Party news


Socialist Party workplace news

Bin workers strike for seven days

NUT members strike to defend teaching assistant posts

Housing support workers say 'enough is enough'

Unison Local Government conference: Leadership faces delegates' anger

Support for socialist alternative to pro-cuts New Labour at GMB conference

Wales Shop Stewards' Network conference

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reviews

Budding trade unionists and passionate Chartists

BBC 'unbalanced' on Liverpool 47


 

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Related links:

G8:

triangleG8 Summit - what were the decisions?

triangleNo to G8 austerity

triangleMarch against the G8

Maternity:

triangleMidwives march against unsafe staffing and for adequate funding

triangleSave Leicester General Hospital

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

triangleCovid and pregnancy

Pay:

triangleNapo ballots for trade dispute, but members need strategy for industrial action

triangleNottingham and Mansfield trade unions rally against cuts and for better pay

triangleSouth Yorkshire Stagecoach drivers strike against measly 1% pay offer

Government:

triangleTories strengthen repressive laws

triangleKickstart scheme 'insufficient and flawed'

Midwives:

triangleReverse the GP cuts

Cuts:

triangleKhan threatens further London transport cuts

Northern Ireland:

triangleSocialist candidate wins NIPSA general secretary election

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