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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 September 2014

Them & Us

Gas bubble

Despite wholesale gas prices falling 50% in the last six months, British Gas - one of the 'big six' UK energy companies - is charging its customers at least three times more than what it pays for gas.

In the first six months of the current financial year British Gas's parent company, Centrica, made 900 million profits.


On average a CEO in Britain will take home more in three days than one of their employees can earn in one year.

Toxic combo

Rickets and gout - diseases associated with poor diets in Victorian times - are on the increase in Britain due to poverty, according to the Faculty of Public Health (FPH).

Dr John Middleton from FPH said: "Food prices up 12%, fuel prices up double-figure percentages and wages down is a toxic combination, forcing more people to eat unhealthily."

Taxing poverty

In June, the Socialist reported that low income families, whose tax credits had been incorrectly calculated by HM Revenue and Customs, were being hounded for overpayments (stretching back ten years) by government-contracted debt collection agencies.

Now, the scale of this harassment has been revealed by campaign group False Economy. It found that the government plans to seize money from around 3,000 people's bank accounts a year for overpaid tax credits. Over 500,000 of the 4.7 million families being chased for debts have a taxable household income of less than 20,000.

Previously, households were allowed to earn an extra 25,000 before they had to pay money back. But in 2010 this threshold was gradually reduced to 5,000 by the Con-Dems.

Meanwhile, the super-rich and giant corporations continue to avoid paying taxes using legal loopholes left open by millionaire Tory Chancellor George Osborne.

Old boy network

The idea that an 'old boys' public school network dominates the establishment is just Bolshie propaganda - as the following figures from the government's Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission prove.

The old school tie brigade make up:

No holiday

While Prime Minister David Cameron soaked up the sun in Portugal on his summer hols (no doubt dreaming about further austerity measures) the children's charity Barnardo's reckons that a day trip to the seaside is beyond the reach of the poorest 20% of families.

Barnardo's says a traditional Bank Holiday day out for a family with two children could cost more than 170 - while the minimum disposable income for low income families is only 39 a week.

The charity blames "a toxic mix of rising living costs as well as working and non-working benefits cuts".

Thanks to Ronnie Job and Derek McMillan

What we saw

On the Socialist Party Scotland website

Big swing to Yes leaves referendum vote on a knife edge

"In the final campaign fortnight, the polls for the Scottish independence referendum are tightening, with support for independence increasing to its highest level yet..."

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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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We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 3 September 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop the Con-Dems destroying our NHS!

Pre-election Britain - crisis brewing on all fronts

Rotherham: Council and police cover up abuse

Democratic rights attack under 'fighting terror' guise

Clacton Tory MP defects to Ukip

Them & Us

Socialist Party youth and students

Fourfold rise in youth on poverty pay

Fast Food Rights: Get the pink T-shirt lady out of here!

Join the fight for free education and student grants!

Wales: Save the Financial Contingency Fund

International socialist news and analysis

Ukraine conflict ratchets up the international crisis

Tamil Solidarity Day - building unity to fight oppression

Socialist Party workplace news

Strike to save the NHS

Council proposes worst cuts in living memory

Romford sparks victory over 'umbrella' scheme

Teachers want action from their trade union

Care UK workers continue fight for decent pay

Ritzy cinema workers continue living wage struggle

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Victory for disabled transport campaign

New member thirsts for knowledge

Protesting against police racism

Solidarity Street

Fighting Huddersfield library cuts

Anti-racist day of action: 18 September

Rally for history's longest strike

The Socialist readers' comments

Planning, not competition, to meet our transport needs

Challenging Ukip's lies

Football fans angry at prices


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