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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 June 2014

Them & Us

PFI profit machine

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes in the NHS, schools, councils, etc, are notorious for being a gigantic rip-off of the public purse. Introduced by the Tories and rapidly expanded under Labour, PFI schemes are simply a license to print money for big business.

In the latest twist to this public finance disaster, companies have been selling on their original 25+ years' contracts - a practice known as "flipping" - after only a few years, allowing them to make huge financial gains. Four such companies - Balfour Beatty, Carrillion, Interserve and Kier - alone have made profits in excess of 300 million from flipping.

Moreover, many of these contracts are being bought up by front companies based in offshore tax havens. So while profits are going offshore to avoid corporation tax many health trusts are being driven to the wall by crippling PFI service charges.

Chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, admitted Labour's multi-billion pound 'error'. "I'm afraid we got it wrong. I was a supporter at the time but I have completely gone off the whole concept. We got seduced by PFI", she said.


Ukip scoundrel

'Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel'. The Samuel Johnson adage fits well the behaviour of care home provider businessman and Wales Ukip MEP Nathan Gill. This odious xenophobe while railing against immigration is, it seems, quite happy to exploit migrant workers to benefit his business.

Gill is cited as charging workers from Poland and the Philippines 50 a week out of 200-300 weekly wages for "bunkhouse" accommodation. He lamely defends this rip-off saying: "I wish I had that proportion of spending money left after paying my mortgage". As an afterthought Gill said: "I can see how this could look bad"!


Big six rip-off

Toothless energy 'watchdog' Ofgem has pointed out that the 'big six' energy suppliers in the UK are expected to more than double their profits this year to 96 for every dual-fuel energy customer as a result of falling wholesale prices.

Industry fat cats are always vocal in regurgitating the argument of rising wholesale prices to justify ramping up customer prices, but they are silent when world energy prices tumble. The Tories, unsurprisingly, as champions of the 'free market,' have also kept their heads down as they kowtow to the big six.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said an incoming Labour government would freeze energy prices for 20 months. Hey Ed, why not reduce prices? But that would require public ownership of the industry which pro-big business Labour won't consider.


Child poverty

As reported in the Socialist last week millions of children in Britain will be condemned to poverty by 2020 due to welfare cuts, flatlining wages and soaring living costs. Now the government's own Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission admits that targets to reduce child poverty by 10% by 2020 are "doomed" to failure.

The Con-Dems' plan was always wishful thinking, based on an expanding economy providing well-paid jobs. The commission also pointed to the devastating effects of welfare cuts on families' living standards.

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In The Socialist 11 June 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: Private profit kills

Newark byelection: capitalist parties in crisis

'Trojan Horse': who is attacking education?

World Cup carnival can't hide corruption and injustice

Them & Us


Anniversaries

Tiananmen Square 1989

The battle of Orgreave


International socialist news and analysis

Spain: European elections redefine political map

Greece: CWI councillors elected


Socialist Party workplace news

10 July: United action can beat austerity

Bakers' union calls for general strike

Unison: No waiting for Labour - fight the job cuts

Housing workers strike against rep suspension

Firefighters to walk out for 24-hours

Care UK workers continue dispute

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Now is the time to join the Socialists!

Why I'm a socialist

Stevenage: EDL not welcome here

Cuts consensus: Labour joins with Ukip to back Tory council


Readers' comments and reviews

Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall

Obituary: George Duff


 

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PFI:

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Labour:

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Energy:

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