Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1120/32008
From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2021
News in brief
Benefiting from Covid
UK companies still operating final salary (or 'defined-benefit') pension schemes are anticipated to receive a £60 billion windfall as pension liabilities are expected to fall due to the impact of the pandemic on life expectancy.
Economic modelling suggests the pandemic and its effects on the NHS (including treatment delays) and the economy, will reduce life expectancy by about seven months from a typical retiree. This amounts to 1.5-3.5% of pension costs (between £25 billion to £60 billion), about half of the supposed £120 billion total shortfall on UK defined-benefit schemes.
photo Alberto Giuliani/CC (Click to enlarge)
A leaked government document suggests that the Johnson government is considering paring back the parasitic role of private companies in the NHS. This can't come a moment too soon as the crisis in dentistry shows.
NHS dental patients have been told to pay for private treatment or wait two years for appointments according to Healthwatch England.
The watchdog says one patient was offered a private treatment costing £1,700 instead of charging the £60 NHS tariff. But if that wasn't bad enough, some patients were told to buy their own dental repair kits and treat themselves!
When thieves fall out...
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being pushed by the bosses of big high street retailers like Tesco, B&Q, Morrisons, Waterstones, and others, to impose an online sales tax on mega internet sellers like Amazon, whose UK sales jumped by 51% last year to nearly £20 billion. It's estimated that £1 in every £20 spent by shoppers ends up with Amazon.
However, Amazon pays substantially less in business rates on its out-of-town warehouses. Its rates liabilities are estimated at only 0.37% of turnover compared to 2.3% for the likes of high street retailers.
Tesco et al say an online sales levy of 1% on annual revenues greater than £1 million could lead to a 20% reduction in business rates.
But while some small retail outlets have been stuffed by high rates combined with collapsing footfall, they are hardly in the same league as big players such as Tesco and Morrisons who have enjoyed sales increases and rising profits, while forcing though job cuts and inferior contracts on its workforce.
Perhaps, it would be best for all round if these giant traders were nationalised!
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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.
- 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 10 February 2021:
Tories admit market failure - we want our NHS back!
Question mark over AstraZeneca's vaccine to protect against new Covid variant
Big Energy piles on the misery
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Book that inspired me: God's bits of wood
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