Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/835/19752
Them & Us
The Con-Dems austerity cuts have pushed hundreds of thousands into poverty. According to the Trussell Trust that operates emergency food banks, 492,641 people were given three days' food between April and September this year - a 38% increase on last year. Benefits sanctions, cuts and delays accounted for 45% of food bank referrals.
It seems that the spirit of Scrooge - the fictional tight-fisted employer in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol - has arrived early this year.
Nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London have been told by their employer to work for nothing following an accountancy mess-up resulted in them being overpaid by six and a half hours a year - an average overpayment of £82.
Tony Blair - warmonger, adviser to tyrants and multi-millionaire - is trousering some additional pocket money courtesy of a taxpayer funded £115,000 allowance for 'carrying out public duties'. Apart from standing to attention at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday for a minute, can a reader recall any other public duties performed by the at-large war criminal?
Mental health crisis
NHS workers have denounced the savage cuts in mental health provision. According to the Royal College of Nursing there are now 3,300 fewer posts in mental health nursing (an 8% decline) and 1,500 fewer beds, than in 2010. Inevitably, patient care for some of the most vulnerable people will suffer.
Minimum wage delay
According to the Office for National Statistics 287,000 workers were paid below the legal minimum wage, currently £6.50 an hour. The Trades Union Congress reckons the figure is nearer 350,000.
Despite this blatant flouting of the law the government has only prosecuted two employers for paying less than the minimum wage since coming into office. At that rate it will take 700,000 years to deal with the current case load!
Polluters don't pay
Fracking - the environmentally damaging but highly profitable method of extracting shale gas and oil - is a central part of the government's energy agenda. But they tell us not to worry too much as any potential pollution or earthquakes caused by fracking as the process will be monitored by drilling hundreds of boreholes. However, the cost of this 'reassurance' won't be met by 'big oil' but instead from public funds costing £60-£80 million.
In The Socialist 26 November 2014:
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