Socialist Worker

Blair's Britain

Issue No. 1784

NEW LABOUR has betrayed its promise to widen access to higher education. The proportion of students from working class backgrounds or with disabilities has slumped in the last seven years. The total number of such students is unchanged, says the National Audit Office, while the numbers of students overall has grown.

THE NEW Labour council in east London's Hackney is targeting the old as it rams through massive cuts. 'The brunt of the cuts have fallen on the elderly,' admitted Fran Pearson, chair of the council's social services committee. Some £50 million has been cut from Hackney's government support since 1997. Now the government wants another £13 million of cuts. Some commentators claim the government is 'bailing out' the council. This is only because it is not demanding an even bigger £38 million cuts package.

'WE PUT profits before safety.' That was the effective admission of multinational oil firm BP in a Scottish court case last week.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard how an exploding steam pipe injured a woman out walking her dog near BP's Grangemouth plant, and how a flammable gas leak saw workers 'run for their lives'. The multinational pleaded guilty to one charge and settled out of court over another.

'WHY HUMILIATE employees who are simply seeking their rights?' That's the damning question posed by top judge John Prophet, who has slammed government plans to slash employment tribunal hearings.

The tribunals hear the cases of workers who have been sacked or discriminated against. New Labour wants the hearings axed by a third.

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Article information

Sat 26 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1784
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