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From: The Socialist issue 534, 21 May 2008: Step Up Fight Against Low Pay!

Search site for keywords: Debt - Credit crunch - Working class - capitalist crisis

Them and Us: The great divide

IN SPAIN it was 76%, in Italy, France and Germany it was over 80%. That was the percentage of people who told a Financial Times/Harris poll that the gap between rich and poor is too wide.

It was much the same in every country where the question was posed.

The percentage of people saying they expected the gap between rich and poor to widen in the next five years was even bigger. Even in Japan, previously slightly more egalitarian in incomes, over 80% believed the answer was yes.

Clear majorities in all countries agree that taxes should be raised for the rich and reduced for the lowest-paid. 74% of respondents in Britain thought those on lower incomes should pay less tax. That shows what an error Gordon Brown made by the original decision to abolish the 10p in the income tax rate.

Debt-ridden of Tunbridge Wells

"MIDDLE CLASS debt epidemic", screamed the Daily Mail on 19 May. True, it has been wailing this tune for years but the credit crunch and other capitalist woes are certainly hitting more people in affluent areas.

Citizens Advice Bureaux in the Tunbridge Wells area have seen a 233% rise in people seeking help over the last year.

Whether they consider themselves working class or middle class, people in jobs like teaching, IT support consultants etc., many of them homeowners, are struggling with mortgages, loans and credit card debt.

Many are pushed over the edge by dearer credit and big increases in food and utility prices.

The credit crunch is already giving many people an object lesson in the reality of life for most people in a capitalist crisis.

Banking on higher charges

THE BANKS are trying to lessen the credit crunch's impact on their profits by making their customers pay far more for everyday banking services.

After the Bank of England reduced the base lending rate by 0.5% in April, the banks charged far more for overdrafts, mortgages and credit cards.

Halifax not only cut the rate of interest it paid customers on high interest accounts by 1%, they massively jacked up the overdraft rate for their customers.

The Socialist Party's call for banks to be nationalised under democratic control and management will soon become very popular.

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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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