Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/862/21003
From The Socialist newspaper, 1 July 2015
The corporate welfare state
Photo by Liz West (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Chancellor Osborne's savage attack on welfare benefits has been accompanied by Tory propaganda in the right-wing media, accusing low-income families of being part a 'something-for-nothing' culture holding back the country's economic recovery.
But how then does the government explain the 'corporate welfare bill'? Research by Kevin Farnsworth at York University calculates that the grants and subsidies paid directly to companies in 2011-12 amounted to over £14 billion - nearly three times the £5 billion paid out that year in Jobseeker's Allowance.
When other businesses' 'in-work' benefits are included (such as tax benefits, quantitative easing, export guarantees, public procurement from private companies) then direct corporate welfare amounts to a minimum £85 billion a year - a large proportion of the government's total budget deficit.
Unsurprisingly, the super-rich friendly Chancellor has remained tight-lipped about this corporate welfare bill.
Between 2005 and 2011, of 44 companies that received government grants, 13 didn't pay any corporation tax; another 17 didn't pay any corporation tax either the year before or the year of getting their public benefit.
In 2013 Facebook only paid £3,169 in corporation tax; Amazon £10 million (over ten years!); Apple £11 million; Google £11.6 million. At the same time, total UK revenues of the four companies were over £17 billion.
Between 2009 and 2012 Starbucks paid no corporation tax, claiming it had made a loss in these years. In 2011, Starbucks' UK sales amounted to £400 million.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 1 July 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Osborne's budget cuts will devastate low-income households
The corporate welfare state
Them & Us
Severely disabled funding hit by Tories
Government reneges on rail modernisation pledge
Warrington TUSC councillor slams 'undemocratic' Labour administration
International socialist news and analysis
Solidarity with Greek workers! Reject EU austerity
Terrorist attacks: working class people pay the price
Socialist Party features
How to fight the anti-union laws
Ten years since the London 7/7 bombings
Socialist Party workplace news
RMT plans transport shutdowns
Britain's biggest union to discuss leaving Labour
Escalate strikes to fight council's 90% sell-off
Scotland ferry 'lifeline' sell-off strike
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Pride: we need politics, not just a parade
£9,000 tuition fees legacy - debt and slave labour
Block Osborne's Billionaire Budget
Victory against disabled transport cuts in Derby
Victory for anti-fracking movement
Shirebrook: united campaign against danger of division
Why I joined
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