Poverty and inequality

Claw back the wealth!

Submitted by Matthew on 3 July, 2017 - 12:01 Author: Editorial

Under pressure to do a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, the Tories have found £1 billion extra for public services in Northern Ireland, the equivalent pro rata to £29 billion in England. They have also sneaked through a huge pay rise for the Queen, from £43 million in 2016 to £82 million in 2019. On 28 June they voted down Labour’s proposal to lift the public sector pay limit.
More pressure — strikes, demonstrations, rallies — can make them budge on that, too.

Grenfell: the powerful are still not listening Matthew Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:46

So far all 95 tower blocks which have had their cladding tested since the fire at Grenfell in Kensington, west London, have failed fire safety standards. These buildings are potentially as dangerous for their tenants as Grenfell was. Many hundreds of buildings are still to be tested.

Justice for Grenfell!

Submitted by Gemma_S on 17 June, 2017 - 8:37 Author: Gemma Short

Late at night on Tuesday 13 June, a fire gutted Grenfell Tower in west London.

It is likely that a large number of people have died: firefighters have told people the number will be in triple figures. Many hundreds of people's lives have been destroyed as their family members, friends, neighbours, and homes have been taken from them.

Our solidarity is with those families and with the emergency service workers who battled to save them whilst witnessing harrowing scenes.

Letters: Socialism is not just 99% versus 1%; Women need equality in law!

Submitted by Matthew on 14 June, 2017 - 12:44 Author: Andrew Northall and Cathy Nugent

I am grateful to Martin Thomas for his response to my letter (Solidarity 439).Rather than seeking to avoid measures which would invite “a counter revolutionary reaction”, I was attempting to point out the very tight limits of social-democratic reformism, i.e. if you try and raise really serious amounts of revenue from the rich to pay for your reform programme, such a government will very quickly run into serious trouble.

Letter: Taking them down a peg Matthew Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:12

Andrew Northall (Letters, Solidarity 438) asks important questions about taxing the ultra-rich and the merely well-off. No socialist strategy, I believe, can escape the risk of a “counter-revolutionary reaction” from the rich.

That is not just because of our challenge to their income. It is because of our challenge to their wealth and their power. No socialism is possible without taking the top 1% down a peg, and they will resist that ferociously. At certain times they will shrug and pay more tax.

Labour manifesto: clawing back from the rich AWL Wed, 05/17/2017 - 10:16

The output (value-added) of the UK economy these days is around £1900 billion a year. Of that, about £360 billion is goods and services bought by central and local government, about £320 billion is capital investment, and about £1,130 billion is stuff bought by households. The sub-totals do not add up to the overall total because of other categories, and the figures are rough, based on the last available official figures, for 2014.

Letters AWL Wed, 05/17/2017 - 09:00

I thought Charlotte Zalens’ article “Does £70,000 make you rich?” (Solidarity 436) was really useful, informative and thought provoking. Charlotte made three important points.

One, that £70,000 is way beyond the £22,400 median wage. Two, that a salary of £70,000 places someone in the top tenth of the population by income. And, three that income inequality at the top of the scale is far greater than at the bottom.

Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty Matthew Wed, 05/03/2017 - 07:41

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

Make the rich pay! Matthew Wed, 05/03/2017 - 07:11

Wages are the clearest measure of how well or badly workers are doing in capitalist society. Between 1979 and 2008 the share of national output (GDP) going on wages fell from 65% to around 54%. This represents a huge shift of wealth in favour of the profit system and the capitalist class who benefit from it.