Them & Us

Missing billions

New government figures show that only £3.3 billion a year is paid in UK corporation tax – compared to £14 billion paid in bonuses to top staff.

The government is losing £1 in every £10 due to it from companies through tax avoidance and evasion. The total being uncollected by the government is £35 billion a year (and this doesn’t even include the ‘profit-sharing’ schemes of Amazon, Google and Starbucks). Some of the worst culprits have been revealed…

Stick the Boots in

Chemist chain Boots is using a loophole to avoid £1.1 billion of tax. Unite the Union has pointed out that this could pay for 78,000 nurses, two years of prescription charges or 5.2 million emergency ambulance calls (Boots earns £2.2 billion from prescription medicines and other NHS-funded services).

Wonga rip off

Pay-day loan company Wonga, infamous for its interest rates of nearly 6,000%, has allegedly moved part of its business to Switzerland to avoid millions of pounds of corporation tax.

A similar approach is being taken by Google, which saves itself billions in global taxes by funnelling money through Bermuda and the Netherlands.

Breaking point

The medical director of the NHS in London, Dr Andy Mitchell, has said that health services are at “breaking point”.

Echoing a national report which states that hospitals cannot afford a safe level of staffing, Mitchell said the capital’s NHS services are “unsafe and unsustainable”.

Unfortunately Mitchell and the national report seem to suggest that the solution is to stop trying to have hospitals which provide a fully staffed full range of services.

The Socialist argues the solution is to properly fund all health services as needed and stop draining the NHS budget through privatisation like PFI.

Luxury cars

While the rest of us are struggling to pay for the basics like food and fuel, the super-rich seem to be doing ok.

Sales of luxury cars have continued to rise throughout the recession. Jaguar Land Rover, for example, reported record sales in September and has experienced a 16% rise in sales since last year.

Woldwide deliveries of Bentleys have increased by 9% in the first nine months of the year.

What we heard

Helen, a Lewisham school rep, rang me to update me on support in her school for the strike in London and elsewhere on 17 October.

One colleague (under management pressure) had told her that she had joined the ATL instead of striking. Helen asked her how a history teacher of all people could think we had ever made the gains that we are trying to protect without struggle?

The colleague came to see her the following week: “I thought about what you said. I’ve rejoined and I’ll be on strike on Thursday.”

Martin Powell-Davies

Tweets this week

Tony Saunois

Labcons will be tougher on benefits than Tories and not close free schools. Why don’t they just merge with the Tories. It would be clearer.

PCS Union

Lowest paid civil servants far more likely to have been targeted for job cuts, @statisticsONS figures show

Ronnie Job

1,200+ in Swansea in arrears due to #BedroomTax Will our Labour council give no evictions pledge to reassure them?