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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020

Under the microscope

  (Click to enlarge)

>Test and trace couldn't reach over a third of close contacts earlier this month, according to DHSC figures. The privatised system's worst performance yet meant only getting to 63% of them in the second week of October, missing 81,000 people.

>Top private consultants get almost 7,000 a day to hum and haw over test and trace, reports Sky News. That's equivalent to over 1.5 million a year. The Tory government paid the Boston Consulting Group around 10 million from April to August to guide the dysfunctional privatised system.

>Young people could become a "lost generation", warn members of the government's expert Sage committee. Pandemic "collateral damage" in education, employment and mental health will hit 'Generation Z' hardest. Sage members told the Guardian they feel the Tories have "brushed aside" their concerns on this matter.

>Retail chains closed record-high numbers of shops in Britain during the first half of this year, find the Local Data Company and PwC. Bosses shuttered 11,120 stores between January and June, only opening 5,119 new locations. The net loss of 6,001 shops is the biggest ever, and compares to 3,509 in the first half of 2019. A further 22% of chain stores are still shut 'temporarily'.

>Almost two-thirds of single 20 to 34-year-olds without kids have been unable to move out of their parents' homes, finds Loughborough University. The housing crisis means there are 3.5 million such "boomerang" young adults. 71% in their early 20s, and 54% in their late 20s, have never moved out or had to go back. Private rent took an average 9% of income in 1961, rising to 36% by 2017.

>Meanwhile, house prices have hit a record high, says Rightmove. New listings ask for an average of 323,530, a 5.5% increase or 16,818 more than this time last year. Households which can afford it are driving up demand with a 'race for space' due to pandemic confinement.

>Migrants in England have to wait an average of 37 weeks to receive healthcare, even for serious conditions, reports Doctors of the World. Delays caused by 'hostile environment' policies can cause huge suffering as well as more serious and costly complications.

>Police could be allowed to access personal medical information, seeing if NHS Test and Trace has told individuals to self-isolate. The Department of Health and Social Care issued a 'memorandum of understanding' to the National Police Chiefs' Council, reports the Health Service Journal. The undemocratic invasiveness and potential for abuse are obvious. And doctors' union BMA rightly said: "We are already concerned that some people are deterred from being tested because they are anxious about loss of income should they need to self-isolate - and we are worried should police involvement add to this."

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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.
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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:


Health before profit - Work or full pay

Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers

Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger


Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary


Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'

Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!

South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage


Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!

World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now


Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting

Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!

Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'

Under the microscope


RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts

Action on Covid transmission in schools now

FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York


NHS workers

Students: Give us our money back

Fight for your future at the online rally

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!

Readers' opinion

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Beware the billionaires bearing gifts

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

The Socialist Inbox


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