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Them & Us
The number of jobs the government intends to axe from its departments over the next five years, seriously damaging public service delivery. 90,000 jobs were scrapped by the previous coalition government.
Haves and have nots
Data crunching by Lloyds bank has revealed that the richest 20% of the UK population is 105 times wealthier than the poorest fifth. It underscored the fact that those with wealth are rapidly accumulating more, with their property, pension pots and other personal assets growing by a staggering £1.5 trillion last year.
Meanwhile, the Equality Trust reckons that 66% of the population have 'no positive financial assets at all'!
Putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank is not recommended. However, the government is happy to appoint Tory MP Sajid Javid as its business secretary, notwithstanding being embroiled in a tax dodging scheme.
Javid was a senior executive at Deutsche Bank in 2003 when it set up a complex offshore tax dodging arrangement to pay its top dogs lucrative bonuses.
This didn't prevent him from becoming a Treasury minister in 2010 despite the government repeatedly pledging to crackdown on tax avoidance.
The new business secretary in his previous employment had also staunchly defended the dodgy investments which Deutsche Bank and others peddled, and which led to the global financial crash of 2008.
Bribing drug dealers
A government-appointed economist, Jim O'Neill, has called for the establishment of a multibillion dollar research fund to produce a new generation of much needed antibiotics.
Not taking action will cost countries trillions of dollars he says.
O'Neill wants to 'incentivise' big pharma (the giant pharmaceutical companies) for each new breakthrough by paying them billions, providing these new antibiotics are marketed as generic, not-for-profit, drugs.
Wouldn't it make sense to simply nationalise big pharma?
The drugs do work
One way to ease financial pressures on the NHS is to cut its enormously expensive drugs bill. Researchers have recently pointed out that £85 million a year could be saved switching from anti-blindness drug, Lucentis, to a cheaper and equally effective (but unlicensed) alternative, Avastin.
However, the drug company Genentech, owned by Roche, that makes and markets Avastin (which is currently licensed only for bowel cancer treatment), declined to seek a licence to use it in blindness treatments. Surprise, surprise, Lucentis, which is licensed but costs over six times more than Avastin, is also made by Genentech!
In The Socialist 20 May 2015:
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