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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 April 2014

Them & Us

New Poll Tax

Lord Warner, the former government NHS minister under Tony Blair and cheerleader for private healthcare, says the NHS is broken and needs fixing. So can we expect the ermine-collared peer to recommend increased resources, an end to rip-off PFI privatisation, nationalisation of the pharmaceutical giants? Fat chance!

Instead, Warner rubbishes the 'free at the point of use' NHS as "outdated, cosseted and unaffordable" and calls for a 10 monthly NHS tax on the public, dubbed by one doctor as "poisonous as the poll tax".

In proposing this iniquity, Warner conveniently forgets that we already pay for the NHS through income tax and national insurance.


Making ends meet

Life can be hard if you're on a basic salary of 66,000 plus expenses. That probably explains why Tory MPs have to moonlight to the tune of 4 million a year.

Recorded in the Register of Members' Financial Interests, 19 Tory MPs made more than their annual salary through second jobs with another 14 banking over 100,000.

Mind you, these outside earnings are marginally less than the 4.3 million in total earned by Tory MPs last year.

And before Labour starts gloating, its MPs' outside jobs and directorships amounted to 2.4 million last year.


Cameron hypocrisy

Even without getting rid of capitalism the Chancellor's austerity measures are completely unnecessary as an estimated 120 billion is outstanding to the Exchequer in unpaid taxes, mainly from the super-rich and multinationals.

Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly pledged to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion but the facts tell a different story.

In 2013 there were fewer confiscation orders and less money recovered than in 2012. Moreover, government cuts mean that HMRC, responsible for chasing tax cheats, will lose 300 staff this year.


Council tax cudgel

An estimated 670,000 poor households will be clobbered by an average extra 120 a year council tax increase according to the Guardian and campaigning organisation, False Economy.

Last year, government austerity cuts resulted in slashing the council tax support to local authorities by a massive 500 million, while continuing to bail out the failed banks and capitalist financial system.

This savage cut was 'cushioned' by 100 million in transitional support, which has now ended. Local authorities, many Labour run, have meekly accepted these cuts and simply passed them on to those least able to shoulder them.


Housing costs

Hardly a week passes without a new report showing house prices reaching escape velocity! The latest, from Halifax, showed average house prices in the UK increasing by 16% in the last 12 months.

In England and Wales the average price for a property was 170,000. In London the average price of a home went up by 40,000 over the last year - a third more than the average London salary - to reach an utterly unaffordable 409,000.

Yet any talk of government policies feeding a housing bubble - including the 'help to buy' schemes - were airily dismissed by David Cameron. As was the awkward fact that housebuilding is now at its lowest rate since the 1920s.

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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 2 April 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Real jobs for all!

The truth about the miners' strike

TUSC: No-cuts election challenge grows

Climate change: Socialism and global planning essential

Unplug the 'Big Six' profiteers

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

France: Government punished in local elections

A million march for dignity in Madrid

South Africa: It's your opportunity to make history!


Socialist Party workplace news

Doncaster strike: Fight Tory 'don't Care UK society'!

Probation officers walk out

Victory for Carmarthenshire Unison

Unite EC elections start

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Junk jobs - we're fightin' it!

Kent 'peasants' storm Rochester

FF success: perspectives, planning and persistence

Worcestershire: Is socialism only way of saving NHS?

May Day greetings in the Socialist


Socialist history

London: Quinn Square Rent Strike 1938


 

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Related links:

Poll tax:

triangleBasingstoke Socialist Party: 30 years ago - the anti-Poll Tax movement

triangle30 years since the huge anti-poll tax demo... And how mass non-payment of the tax was built

triangleLiverpool & District Socialist Party: 30 years ago - How the poll tax was defeated

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How the poll tax was defeated

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Couldn't pay, wouldn't pay, didn't pay - How we beat the Poll Tax

Tax:

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleSalford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises

triangleNewham council tax workers' pay victory

triangleEaling tax office workers strike against closure

NHS:

triangleCoronavirus pandemic news in brief

triangleEerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

triangleContract tracer speaks out: Tories' plan is outsourced chaos

MPs:

triangleMPs get 10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

triangleTony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government

Government:

triangleSchools aren't safe

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