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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 April 2008

Tax attack hits low paid workers

GORDON BROWN and New Labour are carrying out daylight robbery against the lowest paid workers. More of our wages will now be taxed at 20%, following the abolition of the 10p in the pound starting rate of tax. That means an effective wage cut for millions of workers.

Tom Penman, CWU member and call centre worker, Dundee

The income tax rise will hit the living standards of many young workers who will suddenly find themselves out of pocket. The minimum wage at its full rate or 'development rate' is already a poverty wage without the government stealing more of it off us.

In workplaces that pay above the minimum wage or where gains in pay have recently been made, the tax increase will be come as a bitter blow. In my call centre, the union has won a 3% pay increase from management. But, because of the tax increase, we are worse off now than before the pay increase.

Instead of increasing taxes on the lowest paid, the government should reverse the 5% cuts in corporation tax it has made over the last decade and close the 'taper' tax loopholes that allow the super-rich to claim 4.5 billion in tax relief each year.

The government tries to defend the tax increases by saying that tax credits will cover the increase and some families may be slightly better off. But working tax credits cannot be claimed by under-25s unless you have children, meaning that many young workers will be worse off. Even when someone does qualify, the process of claiming the credits can be so tortuous it puts people off.

Less than 20% of people who are eligible for working tax credits claim them. The government can create all the figures it wants showing how some families will be better off once credits are included, safe in the knowledge that most will never claim them.

This mean-spirited government has carried through a policy of cuts and privatisation in the public sector, looking at schools, hospitals and job centres with an eye to see what can be sold off or rented out to increase the profits of the private sector.

We desperately need change! The parties in Westminster and Scotland's parliament in Holyrood represent the interests of big business and the rich. With the coming recession they can only promise us that things will get harder.

If we want better wages, public services or working conditions we'll need to fight for them ourselves. This includes organising and unionising our workplaces but it also means organising politically to fight for a world free of the anarchy of the free market and the poverty it creates - for a socialist society where the world's resources are used democratically to provide a decent standard of living for everyone.

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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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In The Socialist 16 April 2008:

'We're striking against low pay'

Birmingham strike

Editorial: 24 April strikes: step forward in pay battle


Unison witch-hunt

Unison witch-hunt: Defend 'the four'

Stop the witch hunts!

National Shop Stewards Network


Workplace news and analysis

Re-elect a fighting PCS leadership

News in brief


Global food crisis

Global food prices: anger erupts in mass protests

How the other 0.01% live


Socialist Party election campaign

Elections 2008

Health campaigners fight council cuts

Standing up for socialism: candidate list

Campaign for a New Workers Party - conference 2008


Socialist Party feature

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: why all the controversy?


Socialist Party news and views

Housing crisis: Britain's house of cards

Tax attack hits low paid workers

Water 'regulators' hide real prices


International socialist news and analysis

Rising class struggles across Europe

Italian election: new Berlusconi victory will provoke mass opposition

France 1968: 10 million workers occupied factories

France 1968: month of revolution by Clare Doyle

The radical life of Martin Luther King


Socialist Students

Portsmouth Activists Academy day of debate


 

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Related links:

Tax:

triangleNews in brief

triangleThem & Us

triangle30 years since the huge anti-poll tax demo... And how mass non-payment of the tax was built

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleLiverpool & District Socialist Party: 30 years ago - How the poll tax was defeated

Pay:

triangleNHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

triangleAngry health workers demand 15% now!

triangleNational Shop Stewards Network lobbying for a lead from the TUC

triangleOur lives and livelihoods at stake

Low pay:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Fight to end low pay in the NHS and Care

triangleWest Socialist Party: Fight to end low pay in the NHS and Care

triangleSouth West London Socialist Party: Fight to end low pay in the NHS and Care

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