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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2020

Them & Us

Temporary housing takings

English councils spent almost £1.1 billion on temporary accommodation in 2019 - with 86% going to private profiteers, reports Shelter. The amount they raked in doubled from £490 million in 2013-14 to £939 million in 2018-19. The big landlords and letting agents help create the housing crisis - and then profit from that too!

Musk stock electrified

Billionaire Elon Musk's electric car firm Tesla doubled its share price in the first five weeks of this year. Delays, faults, lack of infrastructure - and profit - have so far kept electric cars unaffordable and unreliable. Meanwhile, Tesla factory workers are notoriously ill-treated by Musk, who is worth $45 billion.

Food banks 'perfect' for poor

Tory work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey called food banks "a perfect way to try to address the challenges that people face at difficult times in their lives" last month. Er, what about paying workers enough to buy food?

Utility usury: oh no, Ovo!

Private energy giant Ovo wrongly billed over half a million customers, leading regulator Ofgem to order it to pay back £8.9 million. Ovo had refunded a customer who was overcharged by more than £4,500, but decided not to bother with others, such as 120,000 customers owed up to £10.

Majority of poor in work

56% of people living in poverty were in a working household in 2018, says the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The record high compares with 39% in 1998. 14 million people now live in poverty in the UK.

Storm services 'savings'


photo   (Click to enlarge)

Fire and rescue services dealing with the chaos of Storm Ciara have had their funding cut by £141.5 million over the last four years, reports the FBU. The worst-hit areas in England have lost £16 million since 2016.

No more free money

Over a quarter of cash machines - and rising - now charge for withdrawals, says Which? Total charges rose from £75 million in 2018 to £104 million last year. Local branch and free ATM closures have made banks about £120 million since 2018.

Coronavirus medical martyr

The death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who first warned his colleagues about the new coronavirus, has caused fury. Instead of being congratulated for his sharp observations that may have saved many lives, he received a police warning for "spreading rumours."

Hundreds of millions of users of China's Twitter-like Weibo have now shared photos of Li, the keyword "whistleblower" and lyrics to "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from the musical Les Misérables about the 1832 Paris uprising.

Thanks to Jon Dale for this coronavirus update

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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 12 February 2020:


Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Windrush deportations: end the hostile environment

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

Them & Us

What We Heard


NHS: Fight for full funding!

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Callous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire

Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges

Workplace news

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

Westex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

University strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

East London school strikes against academisation continue

Foreign Office workers' strike

Solidarity with Turkish workers

Lambeth Unison letter

London NSSN meeting

Solidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

Support Clive Walder


How to resist tory attacks on local communities

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Council houses - not private property developers


Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division


Build independent workers' media with May Day greetings

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

Hackney: We don't want homes and retail units working-class people can't afford

20 years of housing failure

Socialist Sellers

Universal Credit

New BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Nottingham: death of vulnerable claimant

UC stopped without warning


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