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Them & Us
Cash for iPads
In the run-up to the general election, 60 MPs went on a spending spree claiming £70,000 expenses on iPads and computer laptops shortly before the deadline blocking such purchases.
Bank on it
They may have fleeced the taxpayer of billions in bailouts, enjoyed massive salary increases and bonus payments, cut thousands of lowly paid jobs, been fined billions for mis-selling financial products and rigging markets, but Britain's bankers have had enough of public criticism.
The British Bankers Association has called for an end to 'banker bashing' (not a euphemism) and demanded that the Chancellor scraps the bank levy on industry profits. As we go to press George Osborne, speaking to City bigwigs at Mansion House, is expected to do just that.
'Poverty porn' appears to be the new success ratings formula for TV producers. Following Benefits Street, et al, the BBC has now commissioned a series, The Hardest Grafter.
Over five weeks 25 unemployed and low-paid workers are pitted against each other in various work roles for a £15,000 prize. The "least effective workers" will then be ousted until one winner emerges.
According to the Beeb it's a "serious social experiment for BBC2 which investigates just how hard people in the low wage economy work". Critics refer to it as a 'Hunger Games for the poor' - a reference to the dystopian sci-fi film in which poor people are forced to fight each other for food.
Over 25,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the programme to be pulled.
Thanks to John Smithee
Do not pass go
Mayfair, in central London, lives up to its Monopoly game status as a prime location for the super-rich. According to a recent report 'Who Lives in Mayfair' the area is populated by "Middle Eastern princes, bankers, wealth managers, commodity brokers, advertising directors and students from ultra-wealthy families..."
More than nine out of ten of all Mayfair properties sold went for more than £1 million, and 28% over £5 million.
While homelessness and 'social cleansing' evictions caused by high rents, low pay and welfare caps grows, in one expensive London street seven out of ten properties have been left unoccupied by their wealthy owners.
PFI fire risk
Eight schools in Knowsley, Merseyside, built under the last Labour government's mega-rip-off Private Finance Initiative (PFI) programme (Building Schools for the Future), have been labelled fire hazards. An inspection of the schools built by Balfour Beatty found fireproofing in all eight to be sub-standard.
Meanwhile, Fire Brigades Union officials described PFI built Cumberland Infirmary as "the biggest fire risk in Carlisle". Cumberland Infirmary was the first of 101 hospitals built under Labour using PFI funding.
In The Socialist 10 June 2015:
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