Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 2164

Another day, another bailout

The Bank of England has handed over another £50 billion to the banks. This is on top of the £125 billion it’s already passed on.

Such generosity with our money, termed “quantitative easing” by financial pundits, is designed to increase bank lending.

But it has failed, with the Bank of England admitting that it is pumping cash into the banks but they are not lending it.

The economy is far from enjoying its much-hyped “recovery”.

The decision to throw more public money at the banks reflects the reality—that Britain suffered a fall in output of 0.8 percent between April and June, worse than expected, while lending fell by £14.7 billion in the same period.

Barclays poor told to pay more

Official interest rates are at 0.5 percent—but Barclays intends to charge “high risk” holders of its Barclaycard 20 percent interest rates.

Well-off customers will be charged five percent less. There are 11.9 million Barclaycard holders in Britain.

If you are one, and are in debt or have lost your job, you will be forced to pay extra.

Barclays made a profit of £3 billion in the first six months of this year. Its top traders could share a £4.2 billion bonus pot.

Barclays is not alone. Despite official interest rates collapsing, nearly all the major banks, including the ones owned by the government, have been pushing up credit card rates and fees.

These include extra charges for using the cards overseas—just in time for the summer holidays.

Over 50 and unemployed

Unemployed over 50s are ten times more likely to be out of work after two years than to have found a job.

A report by the Trades Union Congress found that half of unemployed people over 50 have been out of work for more than a year.

The TUC also expressed concern about the “work for your benefits” scheme for the long-term unemployed proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill.

Under the scheme, unemployed people will have to do compulsory “work experience”, earning as little as £2 an hour.

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Tue 11 Aug 2009, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2164
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