Socialist Worker

Blair's Britain

Issue No. 1734

The cost of childcare has soared under New Labour to an average of £6,000 a year. A survey by the reputable Daycare Trust released this week found that a typical nursery place for a two year old now costs £110 a week. That's £30 a week more than in 1997 when New Labour was elected. In London the typical cost is now £135 a week, putting childcare 'out of many parents' reach', says the trust. At the same time many councils are also cutting back on nursery places. The facts make a nonsense of the government's claims to have put working families with childcare at the centre of its policies.

Corus Steel workers aren't the only people facing the nightmare of the dole. BBC workers learned this week that corporation chief Greg Dyke plans to axe up to 750 jobs in the coming year. Dairy Crest plans to chop some 800 jobs as it shuts down five dairies across Britain in the next year. And office workers will bear the brunt of up to 500 job cuts planned by the ING Barings banking and insurance group.

Private dentists are ripping off patients for unnecessary and often dangerous work, according to new research by academics at University College London. The report by Professor Aubrey Sheiham found that private dentists charge patients more than £66 million a year for treatment they do not need and which could be harmful. Private dentistry is the only area of private health practice that has no regulation at all. 'Private dentists are a law unto themselves,' says Professor Sheiham.

The government plans to turn the Ministry of Defence police force into a specialised rapid response force to intervene directly against protests and demonstrations. The plans, included in the new Armed Forces Bill, could mean a paramilitary riot control force accountable only to the army being sent against people exercising their democratic right to protest.

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Sat 10 Feb 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1734
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