Socialist Worker

Blair's Britain

Issue No. 1683

  • NEW LABOUR minister Stephen Byers refuses to raise the minimum wage this year, claiming a higher level could cost jobs. But new research by Incomes Data Services found that job losses did not happen in the wake of the minimum wage coming in.
  • BRAIN SURGERY patients are needlessly dying after their operations due to the shortage of specialist beds, says the Royal College of British Neurological Surgeons. The surgeons say neurosurgical units are discharging patients too early. Many units have just one third of the beds needed. Head of the Royal College of Surgeons Barry Jackson says, "Patients are dying unnecessarily or suffering long term consequences due to inadequate funding."
  • PEOPLE CLAIMING benefits are to be forced to attend interviews or have their money cut. The new measure will come into force this April. Failure to attend an initial interview could mean being refused all benefits. If someone misses a subsequent interview they could have �10 docked. The government is trying to hide this reactionary measure by banning the word "compulsory". Instead the requirement to go to interviews will be known as "full participation".
  • THE GAP between rich and poor in Scotland remains as wide as ever, according to an official report. The Scottish Executive's survey of more than 6,500 people found that over one third of Scottish people have no access to a car. Some 73 percent of these come from poor areas or live in council homes. Only one in ten are in rich areas.

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Sat 12 Feb 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1683
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