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From: The Socialist issue 754, 27 February 2013: Austerity... Anger... Action!

Search site for keywords: Jobs - Child poverty - Poverty - Competition - Children - Britain

Them & Us

Bully-don Club

Oxford University's notorious hell-raising Bullingdon Club - whose alumni include David Cameron and Boris Johnson - retains its vile upper class prejudices.

According to the Oxford Student newspaper a prospective member of the Club was accepted after an initiation ceremony which included burning a 50 note in front of a homeless person.

Tough out there

A Costa coffee shop in Nottingham advertised in February for three full-time and five part-time jobs with wages between 5.40 and 10 an hour. 1,700 people applied.

The manager of the branch summed up the lack of a future for young people in Britain, even the most highly educated: "Applications included graduates, people with PhDs, people with firsts.

In the last six months, I've recruited four first class graduates. I feel for them: they might have been out of work for 12, even 24 months." He went on to say: "It's a barometer of the jobs market. It's really tough out there."

Money laundering

Financial Fraud Action (FFA) has said that hundreds of thousands of students and unemployed people are at risk of being tricked into becoming money launderers.

Criminals are targeting people with mass emails or by looking through CV sites and advertising jobs as things like 'money transfer agents' which pay hundreds of pounds a week. It is thought that 19% of students who had been approached accepted the offer.

FFA gave lots of warnings of the consequences for money launderers. But a better way to tackle the problem would be to fully fund education, provide grants to cover living costs and invest in creating decent, well-paid jobs.

Child poverty

The End Child Poverty campaign has found big inequality for children in different areas of the country. In London the child poverty figure for Bethnal Green and Bow is 42% but only 6% in Wimbledon.

There are 69 council wards around the country where more than half of children live in poverty and the national average is 20.2%.

Too Big Four

The Competition Commission has criticised Britain's 'Big Four' accountancy firms (PWC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG) for being too dominant.

The Big Four act as auditors for 90% of stock market companies. The Competition Commission says auditors end up acting to please company management rather than seriously analysing the books. 61% of FTSE 100 firms have had the same auditor for more than ten years.

Surprise, surprise, the Commission's solution is... more competition! We say the big four should be, along with the banks, nationalised under democratic workers' control, with compensation only on the basis of proven need, and run in the interests of the millions instead of the millionaires.

Invisible ink

Printer ink is more expensive, measure-for-measure, than vintage champagne. And not only are prices going up but what you get for your money is going down.

For example a decade ago, the best-selling HP cartridge had 42ml of ink and sold for about 20. Today, the standard printer cartridges made by HP may contain as little as 5ml of ink but sell for about 13. In fact most of the cartridges we buy these days are just empty space!

People's frustration with how quickly ink runs out has led the big companies to introducing 'XL' sized cartridges - but at pretty much the same size for twice the cost, they're even more of a rip-off!

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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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