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News in brief
Are you considering taking a long-delayed holiday? Try the pacific islands of Fiji. In an enticing tweet, the country's prime minister says: "Say you're a billionaire looking to fly your own jet, rent your own island, and invest millions of dollars in Fiji in the process... you may have a new home to escape the pandemic in paradise." Can't wait!
Deeper in debt
Unsurprisingly, given the rise in unemployment and the effects of pay cuts through furloughing, etc, the number of people unable to pay their bills continues to increase.
Last month, mortgage repayments were down 14%; rents by 11%, and council tax by 9%, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Latest government figures from the Food Standards Agency show that declining incomes during the pandemic have forced millions to go without food or rely on food banks. The FSA reckons up to 7.7 million cash-strapped adults reduced meal portion sizes or skipped meals. And up to 3.7 million adults had to use a food bank.
A £6 billion shortfall in council funding in England during this financial year by the Tory government will mean more savage cuts to local services and council tax/service charges increases. Extra financial pressures and revenue falls because of the pandemic mean that an estimated eight out of ten councils face bankruptcy. Trade unions and the wider working class communities must get organised to stop jobs and services being slashed.
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