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Mortgages


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From: The Socialist issue 502, 20 September 2007: Nationalise the banks

Search site for keywords: Northern Rock - Mortgages - Newcastle

Crisis will hit north east jobs

NORTHERN ROCK'S headquarters are in Gosforth, near Newcastle, and they employ around 4,700 people in North-Eastern England. The socialist spoke to one Northern Rock employee who said, 'We're all worried about our jobs."

Elaine Brunskill

She went on to explain: "Working at the Northern Rock's call centre is very target-driven, which means mortgages aren't always properly explained to people.

"Mortgages are routinely given to up to 125% of the purchase price of the house, and people are given amounts which are four, five or even six times their salary.

"Northern Rock have ruthlessly closed down local branches and pushed for internet banking and call centres.

The upshot of this has been many small investors moving their accounts because they no longer had a local branch with easy access to put money in or out of their account."

Many workers at Northern Rock are low-paid, but this is not the case for its CEO, Adam Applegarth, who was paid 1.3 million last year.

He reportedly took the job because he was allowed time off to play cricket during the summer. No doubt if he is made redundant he will receive a golden handshake.

In the US, big payouts to failed CEOs are known as golden condoms because they protect the bosses and screw the workers.

The Northern Rock, described in The Observer as the 'hungriest mortgage machine on the high street', has been the first British bank to be hit by this crisis, but the crisis won't end there.

Later developments may include problems around the future of Northern Rock Foundation, a charitable group that gives money to voluntary sector organisations in north-east England and Cumbria.

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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.
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