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Them & Us
A new report on the effects on households of Con-Dem austerity cuts and income tax reductions found, unsurprisingly, that wealth has shifted further from the poorest to the richest.
According to the Institute for Social and Economic Research and professor John Hills from the LSE, the groups hit hardest by benefit cuts have been single parent families, large families, children and middle-aged parents, whereas the richest 1% of income earners have increased their wealth.
In virtually every country around the world the gap between rich and poor has dramatically widened since the Great Recession started in 2008.
New figures from the USA show that the wealth gap is as wide today as it was during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In the last 30 years the share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% of households has increased from 7% to 22%, and is nearly the same share of wealth as the bottom 90%.
The average wealth of the bottom 90% ($80,000) in 2012 was the same level as in 1986, whereas the wealth of the 0.1% tripled between 1980 and 2012.
According to the charity Oxfam, between 2013 and 2014, the total wealth of the G20 countries increased by $17 trillion with 36% of this total ($6.2 trillion) going to the richest 1% of the population.
Big oil subsidy
£56 billion - spent by G20 governments each year in subsidising the oil and gas industry to find and exploit fossil fuels - despite a 2009 pledge from these countries to phase out these subsidies to stop damaging climate change.
Globally, more than four times as much is spent on subsidising fossil fuels than renewables.
£110 billion - the forecast cost of cleaning up Sellafield and other UK nuclear sites over the next 120 years.
What We Saw
Paul Murphy, recently elected Anti Austerity Alliance TD (MP) for Dublin South West, was stripped half naked by Gardai (police) at a peaceful anti-water charge protest in Jobstown Tallaght, South Dublin, on 15 November
The Irish Socialist Party member was repeatedly subjected to manhandling by Gardai who tore off his jumper in their attempt to remove him from a road sit-down blockade.
The protest was organised by residents in protest at water charges and coincided with the visit to the town by Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton of the Labour Party.
The water charge is an unaffordable austerity tax being implemented by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government under the bailout conditions demanded by the 'Troika' (EU, European Central Bank, IMF). It has provoked mass demonstrations and protests across the Irish republic.
In response to government ministers' attempts to portray the Jobstown Tallaght protest as an orchestrated ambush by Paul Murphy, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins retorted: "It is another demonstration of ordinary people finding their voices and declaring they will take no more of this government's bullying.
"Joan Burton better start listening and begin by abolishing the water charges which will simply not be accepted."
In The Socialist 19 November 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns