UP TO 1,600 jobs to go in schools. That's the reality behind education secretary Charles Clarke's claim that he has sorted out the schools funding crisis. Clarke tried to wrongly blame local education authorities for holding back government cash from schools.
In fact, most authorities spend more on education than the government budgets for. Still, according to a National Union of Teachers (NUT) survey of 86 authorities 900 jobs are going with 320 at risk. Across all 150 authorities in England that would translate into 1,570 job losses and 560 at risk.
Last week pupils at Edenham High School in Croydon, south London, were sent home after the head said he could not pay for supply teachers to cover lessons. A primary school head in Norfolk has put himself on a four-day week to try to ease its budget shortfall. In many areas the crisis is fuelling calls for a fight to get the government to pay up.
Many parents and teachers are telling local papers that the £3.5 billion spent on the war on Iraq would have been far better spent on education.
Return of the pawnbrokers
INCREASING DEBT levels are forcing people to turn to pawnbrokers to raise cash for bills. A Citizens Advice Bureau report released last week found a significant proportion of the UK population were grappling with unmanageable debt.
The amount owed by more than 900 Citizens Advice Bureau clients surveyed over a monthly period averaged nearly 14 times their monthly income. Around a quarter were receiving treatment from their GP for stress, depression and anxiety.
Taking money and running
NEW LABOUR justifies handing out huge sums to fat cats saying that bosses create the jobs. Perhaps they could explain how that applies to bosses at electrical firm LG Philips and paper company Arjo Wiggins.
LG Philips was given £220 million to build a factory producing colour tubes for computer screens and TV monitors, in Newport, South Wales, which would create 6,100 jobs. Seven years on, part of the factory has never opened and just 870 of the jobs promised have been created.
These jobs are now set to be axed anyway along with a further 71 jobs at the firm's Southport plant. Paper company Arjo Wiggins recently pocketed a £5 million grant from the Department of Trade and Industry after promising a jobs boost. And now, guess what - it plans to dump a third of its workforce.