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Them & Us
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.
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."
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:
- 71% of senior judges
- 62% of senior armed forces officers
- 55% of Whitehall permanent secretaries (the 'Sir Humphries')
- 50% of House of Lords members
- 36% of the Cabinet (22% of the Shadow Cabinet)
- 33% of MPs
- 26% of BBC executives
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..."
In The Socialist 3 September 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
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