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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 May 2020

Under the microscope - Coronavirus pandemic news in brief


Coronavirus   (Click to enlarge)

Tories consider nationalising

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is launching a bailout scheme called 'Project Birch' to prevent the collapse of key big businesses. Essential sectors like airlines, steel and manufacturing could receive public loans "on a 'last resort' basis," says the Treasury.

However, the governor of the Bank of England has told MPs that many firms are already drowning in debt. They may prefer to sell shares in their companies rather than take on more loans.

And bankers' association TheCityUK is pressuring Sunak to consider part-nationalisation. Financiers are concerned that private business will not be able to pay back all that debt. They estimate that government-backed loans alone could exceed 100 billion, having hit 40 billion within two months.

The government might guarantee banks' repayments by changing its loans into shares. "You convert into preferred equity on the assumption that some of these companies have a good future, then flog them - la Margaret Thatcher - over time," says the chief economist at investment bank Goldman Sachs.

But denationalisation " la Margaret Thatcher" is part of what got us into this mess in the first place! We say: forget bailouts for bosses and banks - nationalise finance and big business with no compensation to the fat cats. Then run them under the democratic control of workers and service users, not the profit parasites and their lackeys!

Migrant surcharge lifted

Public anger at mistreatment of health staff has forced the Tories to stop the 400 NHS surcharge on visas for overseas NHS workers. The fee remains for other workers from outside the UK, and rises to 624 in October.

We say: scrap all healthcare charges for all users - prescription payments, dental and opticians' fees, visa surcharges and the rest. Make the privateers and billionaires pay!

Top 1% take 17% of wealth

The richest 1% in Britain were taking 16.8% of national income up until the Covid crash, reports the Resolution Foundation. The figure was previously calculated as 13.8%, which didn't include taxable 'capital gains' like land, shares and fine art.

While the top 1% took almost 17 times over the odds, the top 0.1% took over 80 times over the odds. They received 8.1% of national income - previously calculated to be 5.6%

Tory panic laws

The government is exploiting pandemic disruption to rush through anti-worker legislation. The new immigration bill passed its first stage on 18 May, and a new counter-terrorism bill has just materialised.

The immigration bill would introduce a 'points-based' system which punishes 'low-skilled' workers like those risking their lives in the NHS, care homes and supermarkets. The counter-terrorism bill would make even more extensive snooping on unconvicted people lawful - trade unions, beware.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 26 May 2020:

What we think

Reckless lying cheats


Schools aren't safe

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

International news

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

Coronavirus news

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

BAME Covid-19 deaths

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

Workplace news

Strong union response needed against job cuts

No return to unsafe construction sites

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

Lessons from history

The 'Lucas Plan'

1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"


Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

Fighting fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters


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