Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/805/18397
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Instead, Warner rubbishes the 'free at the point of use' NHS as "outdated, cosseted and unaffordable" and calls for a £10 monthly NHS tax on the public, dubbed by one doctor as "poisonous as the poll tax".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.
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.
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.
In The Socialist 2 April 2014:
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