Gateway is shut
GATEWAY computers last week joined the list of companies axing jobs because of the global economic slowdown.
The firm looks set to close its entire UK and Ireland operations. Gateway’s 1,000 workers are still waiting to find out their future. Gateway is worth $20 billion worldwide and employs 20,000 people.
Debt forces fees rethink
AS A-level results were announced this week, the government was under huge pressure over tuition fees and student debt.
New Labour may now give students longer to pay back their student loans in order to ward off a rebellion by MPs and party members. Blair was forced to pledge at the recent Labour Party Policy Forum that he would monitor the policy closely.
A new survey by Sheffield University of 15,000 students found:
Upfront tuition fees have been abolished in Scotland, and a separate report recommended their abolition in Wales.
Blair’s top appointments
GIANT OIL company BP is making 1.3 million profits an hour. BP last week announced record profits for the first half of 2001 of 5.58 billion-a rise of 5.2 percent.
LABOUR’S NEW NHS SCANDAL
Nurses’ jobs sold to highest bidder
NURSES AND doctors at a Herefordshire NHS hospital are to be forced to work for a profit-making private company.
The shocking revelation came in a Channel 4 News report on Monday. The small NHS Kington Cottage Hospital is to be rebuilt by Blanchworth Care, a private company.
That is the kind of deal typical of the Private Finance Initiative schemes New Labour is pushing across public services.
The Department of Health states that “nurses will continue to be employed by the NHS” under the government’s plan to involve private companies in providing health services.
All 17 NHS nurses at Kington have been told that they must leave the NHS and become employees of Blanchworth.
They will then lose their NHS pension entitlement. “If our members wanted to work in the private sector they would have applied for jobs in the private sector,” says Edna Hall of the UNISON union.
Channel 4 was inundated with e-mails after it broadcast the story on Monday. Only one defended the plan, and that was from a manager at private health firm Clinovia.
The rest, almost all from people who had voted Labour in June, were utterly shocked.
“I voted Labour at the last election to give them another chance. “I expected investment to come from the public purse, and not private companies whose only interest is to make a profit,” wrote Leighton McKibbin.
Figures from the Department of Health last week revealed that the number rose by 75,700 in the three months up until June this year.
The reason is that the drug is too expensive. Beta interferon could help about 10 percent of people with MS. Only about 2 percent actually receive it.
The government asked the social security advisory committee to consider axing 14.65 mobility payments for people who suffer from agrophobia and get anxiety attacks when outdoors.
This is almost double the figure for the same period last year. In London the price of the average home has just reached 200,000. All 31 apartments in a building in Knightsbridge, London, were sold in 90 minutes at a cost of 40 million.
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL was to appear in a Philadelphia court on Friday of this week. A demonstration was planned outside Mumia’s first court appearance since 1996.
These are part of desperate attempts to save Mumia from the death penalty. The radical black journalist and former Black Panther was jailed after being fitted up for the 1981 murder of a police officer.
He has been on death row almost ever since.
Now campaigners have a sworn affidavit from Arnold Beverly stating that he shot the police officer, and that Mumia had nothing to do with it. His evidence has been available since 1999 but has never been heard in court.
Private hospital failure
THE GOVERNMENT spent 27.7 million buying a private heart hospital last week. The hospital buildings, equipment and all the staff will be transferred to the NHS.
It shows how easily the government could bring privatised utilities back into public hands.
Geoff Martin, regional convenor of London UNISON, says, “This nails the lie that the private sector is better at running public services.”
The Heart Hospital was part of the NHS from 1947 to 1989, and was then sold off and reopened as a private hospital.
The owners, Parkway Healthcare, made losses of 5 million last year. Despite this, 25 percent of the beds at the Heart Hospital will remain private. It will become a specialist heart centre as part of London’s UCLH, which is facing a PFI scheme.
Blair hasn’t got business party yet
THE LABOUR Party is still heavily dependent on the trade unions for its funds. This is despite Blair’s efforts to turn New Labour into a party reliant on donations from corporations and wealthy individuals.
According to figures from the Electoral Commission, of the 5.3 million Labour raised in the three months before June’s general election, some 3.8 million came from the trade unions.
New Labour leaders had wanted to reduce the amount they received from trade unions to just 30 percent of donations.
Yet, at the same time as taking the cash, New Labour is treating trade unionists who provide this huge chunk of its funding with contempt by privatising our public services.
Unofficial action over pay
Rishi Sunak joins Sunday Times Rich List
Scotland’s George Floyd
And college strikes in the north west