Socialist Worker

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Issue No. 2494

The Tories and bosses want you to work til you drop

The Tories and bosses want you to work til you drop (Pic: Flickr.com/Damien du Toit)


“Work until you drop” is the message from the government and private pension firms.

Ministers last week announced a radical review of pensions. The changes could hit anyone under the age of 55.

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at financial services giant Hargreaves Lansdown, said, “Those joining the workforce today are likely to find themselves waiting until their mid-70s to get a payout from the state system.”

The review will also consider ending a “universal” state pension age, instead basing it on different groups of workers and even regional living standards.

The excuse will be that this recognises that manual workers cannot work as long as others and that in some parts of Britain people die younger than others. In reality it will be a cover to divide people and jack up the pension age while also cutting the rate in some areas.

Meanwhile Royal London, the pensions firm, has published research suggesting that workers will need to retire as late as 81 to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents.

The state pension age for women is already rising from 60 to 65 in line with men. Under present plans the pension age for all will rise to 66 between 2018 and 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

In Britain the modern pension system was introduced in 1948 with a pension age of 65 for men and 60 for women. Of course average life expectancy has (thankfully) increased between 1948 and today.

And the number of years the average person can expect to draw their pension has risen by about 50 percent. But the Office for National Statistics says, “The quantity of goods and services produced in the economy is now approximately four times larger than in 1948”.


‘Right to buy’ made landlords richer

Private landlords now own 40 percent of all former council houses as “right-to-buy” fuels a buy-to-let boom.

Tory Margaret Thatcher’s flagship policy of allowing council tenants to buy their properties cheap was supposed to increase home ownership.

Even more homes will be lost to landlords as the government gives 1.3 million housing association tenants the “right to buy”.

The government is pushing councils to sell homes to cover cuts.

Some 67 percent of Milton Keynes’ former social housing let by private landlords.

Over half of former social housing is rented out privately in six areas. They are:

  • Milton Keynes, Bucks
  • Ealing, West London
  • Cheshire
  • Castle Point, Essex
  • Chesterfield
  • Norwich

British golf clubs for British golfers?

Wentworth—one of more than 140 golf clubs in Surrey—was sold for £135 million in 2014.

Now the City financiers who make up its members are up in arms.

The Chinese company Reignwood that owns the club plans a one-off £100,000 fee from next year for existing members and to cut membership from about 4,000 to just 888 invitation-only places.

Ni Songhua the London boss of the company that own the club, said, “Members are talking to journalists and telling them we are socially cleansing the club and making way for Chinese Communist party members.”

As it happens, members of the Chinese Communist Party are banned from joining golf clubs.

Sir Michael Parkinson has denounced the plan to create a club with “a car park full of Lamborghinis”.The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has expressed “disappointment” at the plans. One local resident said, “I hear they’re going to have a riot about it—a posh people’s riot.”


Always tweeting, Wes Streeting

Columnists proclaiming upon “the death of Twitter” clearly don’t follow Labour MP Wes Streeting.

Streeting is proud to have tweeted on average once every 38 minutes for the last seven years.

That’s almost as much time as he spends on his full time job briefing against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.


Figures were fiddled for rich

Bungling baron George Osborne told MPs that cutting the top rate of tax for the rich from 50p to 45p raised an extra £8 billion in tax revenue.

Now more did go on the tax in 2013-14, after the top rate in tax was cut. And the amount was indeed £8 billion.

But as the bosses’ Financial Times predicted, “The increase is likely to be largely a result of wealthy taxpayers delaying taking bonuses and dividends until the rate cut took effect.” And that was what happened.

The tax cut for the rich served its purpose.


Zip it, Ukip! Meet candidate Alan Craig

Alan Craig is a Ukip candidate for the London Assembly.

In 2011 he posted on his website “Confronting the Gaystapo” in which he likened the pressure groups Stonewall and OutRage! to the SS, and the Home Office to Sudetenland. He speculated that same sex marriage “could be the invasion of Poland”

Ukip’s deputy chairman, Suzanne Evans, tried to have his candidacy annulled. Evans was sacked.


Complaints about the cops

More than 150 complaints have been made about police preying on vulnerable crime victims for sex, including rape victims.

In one case, Jordan Powell, from West Mercia Police, had sex with a domestic abuse victim while on duty. He was jailed for 15 months.

The IPCC police watchdog received 159 complaints between 2011 to 2015. Cases were uncovered by Radio5 Investigates, which could not reveal their outcome.


Ex-Special Branch top cop Richard Walton should have faced a misconduct probe over the Stephen Lawrence case.

He met an undercover officer spying on the Lawrence family during the 1998 public inquiry into into Stephen’s 1993 murder.

But he quit six days after the IPCC watchdog revealed the details in January.Protest at the inquiry into undercover cops on 22 March. Go to bit.ly/21h1T8a


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