Social and Economic Policy

The case for Citizens' Income

The run-in to the General Election in May prompted me to look more closely at the politics of Left Unity and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, both of whom are standing candidates in the election.

Neither of them mentions the Citizen’s Income (CI) also referred to as Basic Income (BI). Prompted by this discovery I then looked at the websites of the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Morning Star, Workers’ Liberty and the Socialist Party. The result was the same.

A Citizen’s Income is “an unconditional, automatic and non-withdrawable payment to each individual as a right of citizenship”.

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Not much of an economic recovery

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Rhodri Evans

According to the Tories, pay is now, at last, inching ahead of inflation again.

Probably not even that is true, on average. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation found that the median (middling) increase in real pay (pay compared to price inflation) in 2014 was zero, after being negative ever since 2010.

The conservative Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons average real income, adjusted for household composition, at £461 in 2014-5 compared to £473 in 2009-10.

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation found that the median (middling) increase in real pay (pay compared to price inflation) in 2014 was zero, after being negative ever since 2010.

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The £120 billion gap

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Rhodri Evans

If you fail to declare something relevant to a benefits claim, you will be pauperised by being cut off benefits.

You may be fined or jailed. 250 people were jailed for benefit fraud in the last year for which we have detailed figures, 2012.

Hundreds of thousands have to appeal to food banks after having benefits cut off, often because of no misdeed at all.

The government estimates benefit fraud at £2 billion a year — and benefits unclaimed by people who find the system to hard to negotiate at £12 billion a year.

Behind outrightly illegal tax evasion stands a greater bulk of tax avoidance — bending, rather than breaking, tax rules.

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Wealth trickling up

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Becky Crocker

If you didn’t see The Super Rich and Us, I would really recommend you look at it on i-player.

The first episode covered Britain’s property market and tax laws. The second focused on the growth of international financial markets.

Presenter Jacques Peretti begins each episode with these stark observations: “The super rich are taking over. 85 people now own the same as half the world’s population. Never before has money been so polarised. The 21st century will be the most unequal in human history.”

A review of The Super Rich and Us.

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How ruling class sees the last fifty years

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A teacher

The Tories are threatening the NHS. But they register that people are bothered about the issue, and they must step carefully. And some people in the ruling class have “internalised” the pressure on them from the labour movement enough that they themselves cherish the NHS.

How do the ruling class explain themselves, and what do they think they must look out for? I was given some insight on this recently when a business “grandee”, chair of many companies and member of many official committees and working groups, visited our school for an “inspirational address” to years 12 and 13.

Older socialists need to explain to young people both what has been won and urgently needs defending; how the next generations can build a much better world; and how, immediately, we can make more issues into those on which the ruling class knows it has to be defensive and cautious.

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Fight for economic democracy!

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Editorial

On 19 January Oxfam reported that the richest one per cent own 48% of the whole world's wealth.

Their super-domination has increased in the economic depression, from 44 per cent in 2009. At this rate it will be more than 50 per cent in 2016. The top one per cent had an average wealth of US$2.7m per adult in 2014.

The bottom 80% have, between them, just 5.5% of global wealth, an average US$3,851 per adult. Just 80 ultra-billionaires have the same wealth as the poorest 50 per cent.

The richest one per cent now own 48% of the whole world's wealth.

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Equalise the wealth!

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Editorial

According to NHS bosses, the Health Service needs an extra £8 billion a year by 2020 to cope with an ageing population and new medical technologies. Or a total of £30 billion on top of the Government’s projections.

Those figures, £8 billion and £30 billion, are both both big numbers. They are much bigger than the £2.5 billion which the Labour leaders have promised to add to the NHS budget from a mansion tax.

They are also small. They are small compared to the £297 billion which is the total wealth of just the hundred richest people in Britain.

Worldwide, a tiny minority, just the richest 1%, own more than 48% of global wealth. Just 85 of the world’s richest people own £1,000 billion between them, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.

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The socialist answer to UKIP

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Editorial

Tory defector Douglas Carswell became UKIP’s first elected MP on 9 October, and another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, may win on 20 November in Rochester and Strood. We examine UKIP’s manifesto.

UKIP: “Migrants are a drain on UK resources, including benefits and NHS”

A socialist response to UKIP's mainfesto.

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The rich up 15%, the rest down

Real wages in the public sector went down 15% between 2008 and 2013. Across the economy real wages have fallen by 8.2%.

Across the economy the average wage rise last year, concentrated in manufacturing and financial services, was just 2% in money terms. Price inflation was 2% (CPI) or 2.7% (RPI). Over half of the wage rises were below RPI. In a sample survey of wage settlements for six million workers between August 2013 and August 2014, 13% faced a wage freeze and only 8.3% had a wage rise above 3%.

Real wages in the public sector went down 15% between 2008 and 2013. Across the economy real wages have fallen by 8.2%.

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The Monthly Survey

Socialists must support Scottish self-determination (Dale Street)
Labours maundy money (Martin Thomas)
The Fragile Middle East peace (Mike Fenwick)
TUC leaders bow down to Blair

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