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Them & Us
Tough at the top
Poverty pay and the cost of living crisis are the big issues for many workers and their families. But for those at the top, life it seems couldn't be better. According to the High Pay Centre the average pay of a company executive has mushroomed from 60 times that of the average worker to a staggering 180 times since the 1990s.
And despite all the media hype of shareholders' pay revolts, in the last year alone, the pay of the average FTSE 100 chief executive went up from £4.1 million to £4.7 million - no problem paying the gas and electric bills for them!
As thousands of trade unionists gathered off Oxford Street in central London on 10 July to protest against pay cuts, etc, those present were breathing in air pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts up to ten times the legal limit.
According to evidence in a court case in the European Court of Justice brought against the Con-Dem government, air pollution in UK cities continues to exceed European Union targets. EU member states should have met air pollution targets from diesel cars and trucks by 2010, but the UK government admits that these won't be met until 2030.
Nitrogen dioxide emissions from diesel engine cars are the main contributor to 29,000 premature deaths a year in Britain. In 2000, only 14% of new cars sold were diesel powered. However, due to Labour and Con-Dem tax policies, by 2010 this figure had grown to nearly 50%.
NHS tipping point
According to a report from the Nuffield trusts charity some 66 NHS trusts are now in deficit while the overall NHS deficit has reached £100 million. And ongoing government cuts of upwards of £20 billion continue to undermine the provision of services by the NHS. The charity says the public healthcare service has "now reached a tipping point".
Warfare not welfare
Tory Prime Minister David Cameron boasts that over one billion pounds extra will go on military spending as a result of austerity cuts on welfare. Added to this skewed cuts agenda is the latest Con-Dem government threat to disabled and ill workers claiming Employment Support Allowance.
ESA claimants already subjected to draconian work capability assessments now face having mental health assessments included. Some 260,000 ESA claimants have mental health issues and the fear is that any mandatory testing for anxiety and depression will be another government cost-cutting exercise to reduce the claimant count.
Tory MP Michael Gove - the government's education wrecker - has been elbowed out in Cameron's 'save the election' Cabinet reshuffle. National Union of Teachers (NUT) executive member Martin Powell-Davies commented:
"Just finished my first post-Gove NUT school meeting in a primary school. All knew the stress and workload and attacks aren't going away but all elated that Gove has gone and can all see that striking delivers results."
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