Socialist Worker

A day older and deeper in debt

Issue No. 1867

A QUARTER of all households borrow money just to be able to cover their weekly bills, according to a new survey by KPMG.

Chancellor Gordon Brown boasts that household spending has grown by 4 percent a year. But this is only because we are getting deeper into debt. 'Debt is at historically unprecedented levels,' according to the Office for National Statistics.

The total consumer debt (excluding mortgages) is now at nearly £3,400 per adult-£1,150 more than five years ago.

Broken pledge on poverty

ONE MILLION children are still living in poverty in Britain, despite the government's pledge to reduce child poverty.

A Save the Children report has found that nearly one in 10 children have suffered from severe and persistent poverty for five years or longer.

They were likely to go without a warm winter coat or properly-fitting shoes, to miss meals and were unable to join in play and other activities.

Save the Children found that most of the poorest children were in families who followed the government's advice and took any work available.

Top-up plan has fall out

MORE THAN three quarters of school students intending to go to university could be prevented from doing so if New Labour press ahead with their plans to impose top-up fees.

Some 85 percent of teenagers would be put off university if they faced debts of over £20,000, according to a report due in the next few weeks.

Education secretary Charles Clarke has already admitted that students will graduate with around £24,000 of debt if the government introduces top-up fees.

More cops for spying

THE NUMBER of special branch officers-the government's secret police-has doubled over the last 25 years.

The Statewatch organisation has found that the number has risen from 1,638 officers in 1978 to 4,247 last year.

This is twice the size it was at the end of the Cold War or at the height of the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland. Special branch spies on anyone the government deems 'subversive'.

Tony Bunyon from Statewatch says,'The combination of the 'war on terrorism' and demands to combat EU-wide protests on a range of issues-peace and the environment, racism and globalisation-means that domestically the political police are more intrusive in everyday political activity than at any other point in British history.'


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News
Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
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