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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1099/31264

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2020

News in brief

Just another brick in the wall

Even before Covid-19, poorer secondary school students were the equivalent of 18 months' learning behind better-off students. For disadvantaged primary kids, it was nine months, reports the Education Policy Institute.

Meanwhile, wealthy families' smaller class sizes and greater education resources mean the rich-poor gap has widened by 46% during lockdown. The National Foundation for Educational Research says even this is "likely to be an underestimate."

And young people in exam-factory, gig-economy Britain are less satisfied with their lives than anywhere else in Europe, finds the OECD - citing "fear of failure." Only 64% of 15-year-olds reported 'high life satisfaction', compared to 84% in Finland and 85% in Romania.

Rashford's right on free meals

  (Click to enlarge)

Man United forward Marcus Rashford has demanded the government further extend free food programmes for schools, holidays and pregnant women. In June, his stand helped push the Tories to extend free school meal vouchers beyond term-time.

Rashford says: "I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet." More and more working-class families know what he means.

The Socialist supports Rashford's call 100%. But we would caution that the big businesses in his "child food poverty taskforce" are also responsible for the poverty pay that causes hunger. He would do better advising workers to trust in their own strength, organised in fighting unions, to demand living wages as well.

Furlough furloughed

Job retention scheme subsidies are falling from 80% to 70% of wages, and due to stop at the end of October. The scheme still covers the wages of one in 12 workers. Arbitration service Acas reports that calls to its redundancy advice hotline nearly tripled in June and July.

Tory tax dilemma

Treasury officials were quick to dismiss as "nonsense speculation" reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering multiple tax hikes to pay for Covid measures. Corporate profits, capital gains and inheritance were rumoured targets - but also pensions, internet sales and fuel.

Whatever happens in the November Budget, this shows the Tories' dilemma: hit their mates' profits with taxes on riches, or risk public revolt with austerity taxes? We say: tax the rich, nationalise the banks and big business - don't make the working class pay for the bosses' crisis.

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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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 2 September 2020:


News

Tory schools chaos - unions must fight for safety

Eviction ban extension not enough: make it longer, forgive the arrears!

Don't blame asylum seekers for Tory cuts

News in brief


Disability and Covid

Capitalism cause of disproportionate disabled deaths and isolation


No going back series

Welfare after Covid-19


Workplace news

Demand a fightback from the TUC and unions

Tate strike: "Coronavirus - no reason to fire us!"

B&Q worker reinstated: Organised response successfully challenges unfair dismissal

West Midlands journalists strike against pay and job cuts

Support Ikea workers - reinstate Richie Venton

London bus drivers poised for strike action


Join the socialists

Socialism on the rise


International

Fight racism, Trump and capitalism

Mass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

Trotsky online rally - watched across the world


Campaigns

No Covid penalty on our future

Black Lives Matter: Fighting injustice, fighting for our rights

Nottingham: Socialists and anti-racists oppose right-wing march

No to polluting incinerator, dumped in working-class Edmonton

Scrap hospital parking charges

Liverpool: Support 15% pay rise for NHS

Lincoln: Save Drill Hall

Fundraising: An example to follow


Reviews

TV: Once Upon a Time in Iraq

Manctopia: billion pound property boom


 

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