Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/854/20633
Them & Us
Rent control to stop excessive rents being charged by rip-off private landlords is very popular. A Generation Rent (a private sector housing campaign group) survey found that 59% of respondents backed rent controls with only 7% of people in opposition, while 34% had no opinion. Among private sector tenants, 77% backed controls and even a majority (56%) of homeowners supported controls.
A Ukip spokesperson responding to Labour's half-hearted measures condemned rent controls saying: "It was tried in Cuba and it didn't work". However, the same survey found that 58% of Ukip voters support rent controls!
Life is tough in Britain says banking giant HSBC. It has threatened to relocate its HQ from London because of 'tough banking regulations', despite posting profits of £12.2 billion for 2014. This is a 17% fall, after racking up fines for attempted manipulation of foreign exchange rates and compensation for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.
In 2012 HSBC was fined nearly $2 billion after being found guilty by US authorities of money laundering for Mexican drug barons.
This year HSBC admitted that its Swiss private bank held accounts for tax-dodging clients. Cheerio!
Price of austerity
The Trades Union Congress, using data from the Office for National Statistics, has found that the coalition government's period in office was the worst five-year period for living standards - when real disposable household income per head actually fell - for at least half a century.
Food for thought
While HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver took a hit on his overall pay last year - falling to a measly £7.6 million from £8 million in 2013 - the Trussell Trust (which operates the majority of foodbanks) says more than one million people, including almost 400,000 children, received three days' food from them, compared to 900,000 last year.
Land of make-believe
You couldn't make it up - unless you happen to be Grant Shapps. The Tory housing minister has been accused of secretly editing his own Wikipedia entry, and those of political opponents, using a fake online identity. Administrators of the online encyclopaedia discovered that the anonymous account had systematically removed references to his past dodgy business activities and instead cast Shapps in a positive light.
It seems that capitalism rewards failure if you happen to be a company executive. The latest example of this skewed practice concerns the ex-boss of Morrisons supermarkets, Dalton Philips. In addition to having his pay doubled last year to £2.1 million he will receive a £1.1 million 'golden handshake', despite being sacked after the company's sales and profits nosedived.
In The Socialist 30 April 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
May Day Greetings