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Them & Us
Marching to recession
Remember chancellor George Osborne's prediction of a "march of the makers" where manufacturing would bring growth back to Britain's economy?
Well a GMB study has shown an average of 3,400 manufacturing jobs are being lost every week.
But this is not due to a lack of cash - big business is sitting on £130 billion as it sees no 'worthwhile' opportunities to make big enough profits. Job-shedding companies should be taken out of the hands of the fat cats and nationalised to be put under democratic control to allow job creation to build socially useful products.
Road to recovery?
Think that spending cuts and public sector job losses are strangling the chance of any recovery?
The Institute of Directors doesn't think so. Not content with a 48% increase in FTSE 100 directors' income, it has called on the government to make deeper cuts while reducing taxes on rich individuals and companies combined with reforms (ie attacks) on workers' rights.
Surely that has nothing to do with the Institute of Directors representing, er, rich individuals and companies?
Rough sleepers increase...
The number of rough sleepers in Britain has increased by 23% in one year. A study by Homeless Link has shown that 75 homelessness projects closed in the last year while 2,206 accommodation spaces were cut in the last two years. 55% of homelessness projects said they have been told by councils to expect further cuts.
...as home prices rise
Average house prices in London have hit an all time high of £381,305, while London rent prices have gone up another 0.8% in one month alone.
Think that's enough to keep the bosses at Britain's biggest home lender Halifax happy? Of course not!
Halifax has increased its mortgage interest rates, costing 850,000 customers an average of £16 a month. Other lenders are likely to follow. Maybe the increase is to help pay the new boss of Halifax's parent company, Lloyds Banking Group. George Culmer has been rewarded £1.9 million in shares as a 'golden hello' although he doesn't have to start work for two months.
Money for nothing?
Meanwhile, Barclays chief John Varley has been given a 'golden goodbye' of £4 million.
However, a study by Paterson Associates has shown that chief executive pay has little relation to performance, with Barclays being a prime example. For every £1 paid to Varley from 2006 to 2010, shares declined £10,787.
The Financial Times has pointed out that "corporate spinners" would say that share prices were beyond control of executives during the financial crisis: "Which is an unintentionally hilarious stance. Either these people are brilliant folk worth many millions of pounds, or they are just guys at the mercy of the markets, same as anyone." Quite.
Lords 'celebrate' IWD
For International Women's Day Tory baroness Verma has put a motion to Lords stating: "...in the last year alone, there were over one million female victims of domestic abuse in England and Wales... International Women's Day remains an extremely important date."
So what has her government done? The head of Refuge has said the domestic violence charity could close this summer due to 50% funding cuts.
Annual funding from councils to organisations working with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse fell from £7.8 million in 2010-11 to £5.4 million for 2011-12.
In 2011 an average of 230 women were turned away by Women's Aid each day due to lack of refuge space.
11 Dec Avenue of trees saved!
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