Socialist Worker

We suffer while rich profit

Issue No. 2241

The Tories tell us we need austerity to get out of the economic crisis. But new figures show that their argument is an empty one.

Britain’s economy shrank by 0.6 percent in the last three months of last year, more than expected.

Ten months into a Tory government things are only getting worse—for ordinary people anyway.

Unemployment is soaring and councils are rushing to force through devastating cuts.

But none of this bothers David Cameron, Nick Clegg or anyone else in the government. Mainly because their rich friends are doing incredibly well.

The HSBC bank nearly trebled its profits in 2010. It made pre-tax profits of £12 billion, compared to £4.4 billion in 2009.

Royal Bank of Scotland meanwhile, the bank we own 84 percent of, said it “lost” £1.1 billion of our money last year. That’s £34 a second.

In reality the money isn’t “losses” at all—bosses snatched our money to pay bonuses.

Boss Stephen Hester grabbed £2 million for himself. “We have tried to demonstrate restraint,” he whined. “But we have to strike a balance.”

Over at British Gas, life is good for shareholders. The company has used a freezing winter as cover for soaring prices—and profits.

The average bill rose by 7 percent as temperatures plummeted.

But toasty warm in the comfort of their own bank balances are the shareholders. They have seen their profits rise by 24 percent.

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Tue 1 Mar 2011, 18:46 GMT
Issue No. 2241
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