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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 November 2013

Them and Us

Wet rags

After the recent energy prices handbag fight between Labour and Tory MPs, expect a new bidding war for voters' attentions over water bills, which have soared by more than 60% over the past decade.

Like the 'big six' energy corporations, water companies have enjoyed mega-profits (Thames made £1.7 billion in the last five years) since the industry was privatised in England and Wales in 1989. Many water companies also use legal loopholes to avoid paying corporation tax.

They claim higher bills reflect higher infrastructure investment, yet leakage rates are a staggering 22%.

The water industry has also accumulated huge levels of debt overall to finance its operations - costing consumers £2 billion a year more than if it was publicly financed - or nearly £80 per household.

'Regulation' has failed miserably to curb these vulture capitalists. Only with nationalisation can water bills be cut and investment increased.

Shape shifter

Who said in 1999: "Taxation is legalised extortion and is valid only to the extent of the law. Tax avoidance is not paying less tax than you 'should'. Tax avoidance is paying less tax than Parliament would have wanted"?

None other than Edward Troup, the six figure salaried and de facto head of HM Revenue and Customs, whose responsibilities include "shaping tax policy and strategy"!

Thanks to Iain Dalton

Free school fraud

Education secretary Michael Gove is accused of sitting on a departmental report revealing widespread financial fraud at a flagship free school.

Free schools are Gove's bright idea, guaranteed to reinforce social inequalities and wreck public education.

The Kings Science Academy in Bradford, previously lauded by Prime Minister David Cameron, spent £86,000 of public money without submitting invoices and used "fabricated invoices".

Auditors reported their findings to police on 23 April this year. However, a redacted report from this probe into the school was only published by the Department for Education two weeks ago after the National Union of Teachers had released its own document into the alleged financial fraud.

Christmas cheer

Austerity Britain continues to claim more victims. According to housing charity Shelter, 80,000 children in Britain will be homeless this Christmas, many forced into emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.

This shocking statistic follows the government's own figures which report the numbers of homeless families housed in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation being at a ten year high.

Ethical banking

The supposed alternative 'cooperative model' to corporate capitalism suffered a humiliating setback after the Co-op bank went into meltdown with £1.5 billion of debt.

A 'rescue' package will force the Co-op's group of supermarkets, funeral homes and pharmacies into handing over 70% of the bank to bondholders led by the US hedge fund asset strippers, Silver Point and Aurelius. Thousands of jobs could be axed along with 15% of the bank's branches.

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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.
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In The Socialist 6 November 2013:

Socialism 2013

Socialism 2013 - reflecting a thirst for ideas

Socialist Party news and analysis

Nationalise the energy companies

End the witch hunt of Stevie Deans and Unite

Fight for a living wage!

A joyless economic recovery?

Them and Us

Socialist Party interview

This is no UTOPIA

Socialist Party workplace news

Joint strike by university staff

FBU strike: Determination to force government back

Postal strike called off for now

Warrington bus workers striking against pay freeze

Bosses find new ways of turning the screw

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade union action needed to protect London NHS

Build a mass movement to defeat workfare and all cuts

Nuneaton: 18-year old student stands for TUSC

Waltham Forest's 'join' week of action success

Huddersfield students say: Save our bar and café!

Reviews and readers' comments

No Fire Zone reveals truth of war crimes against Tamils

Book review: Marxism in Today's World

Answering Tory lies about teachers


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