Socialist Worker

Blair's Britain

Issue No. 1696

Blair's Britain

  • NEW FIGURES show the average pupil to teacher ratio in private schools is 10.6 to one, much lower than the 18.6 to one in state schools. Pupil numbers rose last year for the fifth year in succession in private schools. Rich parents send their children to such schools because of lower class sizes. Yet government schools inspector Chris Woodhead insists class size makes no difference.
  • CHURCH of England leaders in Liverpool have pulled out of the government's New Deal scheme. A church spokesperson said, "The poor souls on the scheme have not got anything like the support we anticipated. We had a situation where one girl told us that she didn't want to work in a nursery and we were told that they would try to force her."
  • NEW FIGURES show that at least 1,000 patients a year are being transferred from private hospitals to NHS intensive care units because their operations have gone wrong. Yet the government wants to massively increase private sector involvement in the NHS. It recently called for elderly patients to be pushed into private hospitals. It is also pressing ahead with the disastrous Private Finance Initiative.
  • THE NUMBER of people killed in accidents involving police cars has soared by two thirds. Deaths from such accidents rose from 19 to 31 last year.
  • THE HEALTH of hundreds of children in Newcastle has been put at risk because of an incinerator in the Byker area of the city. Public health officials have now banned children under two from playing in nearby allotments where poisoned ash from the incinerator was spread. The government wants to double the incinerator's capacity.
  • NEW BRITISH Airways boss Rod Eddington plans to push through compulsory redundancies. Eddington will get half a million pounds a year for sacking people. He wants to make the first compulsory redundancies in the airline's history and says job losses may be as high as 10,000.
  • NEW LABOUR'S International Development Secretary Clare Short has appointed private military company Defence Systems Limited (DSL) to clear mines in Kosovo.

DSL was employed by British Petroleum to protect its multi-billion pound interests in Colombia. DSL was accused of giving intelligence on local people, environmentalists and community activists opposed to BP to paramilitary death squads.

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Article information

Sat 13 May 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1696
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