Socialist Worker

The rich—£1,268 a second better off than a year ago

Issue No. 2437

Champagne tower

Champagne all round for the rich (Pic: Filaos)


The gap between the rich and poor is revealed with figures showing billionaires have got even wealthier—again.

The fortunes of the richest 100 increased by £40.1 billion last year to £297 billion. That works out at a £1,268 per second increase. 

But there has also been a rise in families living below the breadline. The Equality Trust’s report shows the country’s 1,000 richest people are worth £519 billion.

The combined fortune of the poorest 40 percent of households is £452 billion. And the richest 10 people saw their incomes rise by £3.1 billion to £96.6 billion.

A separate a study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found at least 8.1 million families live on less than needed to cover a minimum household budget, calculated at £40,400 a year for a couple with two children.

Meanwhile, Oxfam analysis showed the £84 trillion wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent equals that of half the globe’s entire population. 

Last year its study showed that the 85 richest people on the planet had the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent. That’s  3.5 billion people. 

The charity said this year that the comparison was now even more stark, with just 80 people owning the same amount of wealth as more than 3.5 billion people. 

That is down from 388 in 2010. That’s what a recovery looks like.


The first private police force in Britain is ready to start pounding the poor, sorry, beat.

In navy blue uniforms and a patrol car, the vigilantes say they will report suspicious activity to the actual cops.

Homeowners in Stoke-on-Trent can avail of the service for a £1 weekly charge and also get burglar and panic alarms linked to a rapid response unit.


Don’t wine about bosses’ expenses

London’s transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy bought fine wines costing up to £45 a bottle at meals on expenses.

Hendy splashed out £45 of fare payers’ money for a bottle of Mas La Mola at the Ember Yard restaurant in Berwick Street. The bill for the night came to £156.81, of which £90 was spent on drinks.

Sir Peter and his guests also visited the Groucho Club in Soho, where they enjoyed bottles of wine costing up to £44 each. They also enjoyed a serving of oysters at Le Boudin Blanc and a £41 bottle of Pouilly-Fume.

In total, Sir Peter submitted bills totalling more than £1,200 between July and September last year. 

A TfL spokesperson said, “Our responsibility for running London’s transport networks means our officials work late into the evening and sometimes host dinners with stakeholders.”


Every penny helps Osborne help banks 

There are people who give Tory chancellor George Osborne money he hasn’t asked for.

In three years the Treasury has received more than £1.2 million in gifts and bequests to put towards reducing the national debt.

Newly released figures show the biggest sum was £420,000. Two people gave just 1p. 

And those who handed over 8p, 7p and 4p were perhaps also not taking the exercise entirely seriously. Someone gives £1.99 every December.

And bailed-out RBS grabbed £45 billion of our cash in exchange for worthless shares in 2008.

But according to Tory chancellor George Osborne, it would benefit ordinary people to sell those shares at a loss.

Apparently it isn’t good for “taxpayer value” to have “such a large and complex bank in state hands for too long”.

Osborne also said this wouldn’t be good for “the competitiveness of our banking system.” 

Which might be what he’s really worried about.


Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has tried to create a “clause four moment” for the Scottish Labour Party by renumbering the party’s rule book.

Scottish Labour aims and values are in clause two. Murphy asked the party’s executive to renumber the aims so that his rewrite could be described as “clause four”.


Unappealing way to turn refugees away

Amnesty International has noted that more than a quarter of “failed” requests for asylum are overturned on appeal. 

Troublemaker is sure that the decision to make it much harder to make new submissions from 26 January is entirely unrelated to this fact.

People will now have to appear in person in Liverpool, rather than their local office as has been the case since 2007. 

Asylum seekers’ travel expenses will not be paid despite the fact they are not allowed to work.


Freedom of information is a secret

The public body responsible for enforcing compliance with the Freedom of Information Act is currently subject to a complaint from its own staff. It is for failing to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

With a pay dispute raging at the Information Commissioner’s Office, the regulator ignored an FOI request on an 11 percent raise for three senior executives. 

But it then ignored a follow-up complaint from its own branch of the PCS union.

Like other public bodies, it is obligated to respond to requests within 20 working days.


Toff of the week

Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge 

  • Newest royal scrounger 18 month old prince George has received more than 706 official presents from overseas—so far
  • They include a decorated kangaroo skin, a possum skin cloak, a boat and a leather flying jacket
  • Troublemaker would like to add a small guillotine to the pile

The Things They Say...

‘Irreversible damage’

What oil billionaire Ian Wood says will happen to the offshore industry unless there are tax cuts for the bosses

‘May well involve further reducing the burden of tax on investment in the North Sea’

George Osborne duly responds with his plans for the budget

‘It is now time to strangle some weasels’

Times columnist David Aaronovitch attacks those who oppose Islamophobia, or as he calls it “free speech”

‘They are attracted naturally by the jobs offered by a growing economy’

Times editorial on Jewish people moving from France to Britain takes a refreshingly positive view of immigration

‘Definition of a horse would include anything that was the same species as a horse’

Lib Dem MP David Heath’s sparkling intervention in the lively debate on Control of Horses Bill 


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 20 Jan 2015, 17:29 GMT
Issue No. 2437
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