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Them & Us
With daily revelations of tax dodging scams by the super-rich it's of little wonder then that millionaire Tory Chancellor George Osborne is keeping a low profile. Not least because of the latest expose of fat cat private equity bosses who are avoiding up to £700 million a year in tax - using a loophole which Osborne repeatedly failed to close.
The 'Mayfair tax loophole' scam allows them to treat profits as investment gains instead of personal income, thereby paying capital gains tax at 28% instead of the higher 45% rate of income tax. The 28% can be further reduced to just 10% by using another tax break designed to help 'entrepreneurs'.
Campaign group 38 Degrees has also found out that 16 of these millionaire executives belong to the elite 'Leaders Group' of major Tory donors, having given over £7 million to the party since 2008.
As widely predicted, the iniquitous government-imposed 'Bedroom Tax', apart from destroying people's lives, has resulted in 1,500 multi-bedroomed homes left vacant and lost councils £20 million in rent.
These properties are vacant because the tax has slashed people's housing benefit making larger family homes unaffordable.
According to the Ministry of Justice, 42,000 homes were repossessed by landlords in England and Wales during the year - 115 a day. This was the highest figure since records began in 2000.
- 0.5% - Bank of England base lending rate (last six years).
- 18% - average credit card rate (15.5% in 2008).
MP for hire
Before the latest outing of Labour's Jack Straw as an MP for hire, the former foreign secretary had become a £12,500-a-year advisor to the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs set up by the Kazakhstan dictatorship of Nursultan Nazerbayev. This regime was responsible for massacring striking oil workers in Zhanaozen in 2011.
- £26.7 billion - the annual subsidy private landlords receive from the UK taxpayer, or £1,011 for each household.
Taking the pee
Did you hear the one about the Labour shadow cabinet meeting? It had been a long day and shadow chancellor Ed Balls gets up and says he is going to spend a penny. Ed Miliband looks worried and asks if he can wait till the new financial year!
Thanks to Pete McNally
What we saw
"Rats in the mess room, what are you gonna do?"
(With acknowledgement to UB40)
Workers at the Exxon Fawley site, near Southampton, have no hot water, heating or toilets in the mess rooms, but plenty of rats! Talks with management have delivered nothing so Unite union members recently massed at the gate with their own inflatable rat.
"What kind of world are we living in when we're asked to work under these conditions in the 21st century?" the Fawley workers demanded to know.
It was suggested that the biggest rat at Exxon is the chief executive on $28 million a year!
18 Sep Building a new left in PCS
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