Socialist Worker

Brown steals cash back from the poor

Issue No. 1859

ONE MILLION of Britain's poorest families are to lose money the government says they are entitled to. The government could snatch back up to half a billion pounds it had pledged would go to the poor. Chancellor Gordon Brown promised his new tax credit system would lift millions of people with children out of poverty.

Computer botch-ups and a massively complex system mean that huge numbers of people missed the deadline to claim on Tuesday. And as people desperately scrambled to meet the deadline they found phone lines jammed.

Around half a billion pounds in unclaimed tax credits will revert back to the Treasury's coffers as a result of the chaos.

Global wealth gap gets even bigger

ALMOST HALF the world's population, around 3 billion people, live on $2 a day or below. And the gap between rich and poor is getting wider, after already having doubled in the last 40 years.

These are the findings of an International Labour Organisation report, released last Sunday. The report says, 'The gap between the world's poorest 20 percent and the richest 20 percent has more than doubled between 1960 and 1999.'

The real cost of going private

WHO SAID private companies could run schools more efficiently? No one in Southwark is saying it now, after the council has been forced to pay £1.5 million to cover a contract that went disastrously wrong. Atkins Education decided to withdraw three years early from a £100 million contract to raise educational standards.

Most of the cost of the contract is lawyers' fees. The contract was negotiated by the government, who will pay £500,000, leaving the council to cough up the rest from its overstretched education budget. Atkins's parent company is Jarvis, the engineering company at the centre of the Potters Bar train crash.

Report's verdict on tube crash

THE CHANCERY Lane tube crash last January was caused by management cock-ups and technical failures, an official report revealed last week. London Underground's official inquiry found that a loose gearbox caused vibrations that derailed the train, injuring 30 people and putting the Central Line out of action for weeks.

Problems reported days before the accident and again on the morning of the accident were not acted on.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Sat 12 Jul 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1859
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.