Lead story

Fat cats back Tories

by Daphne Liddle

THE TELEGRAPH last Wednesday published a letter from 103 leaders of businesses supporting the Tory party in the coming election, saying they especially like the corporation tax cuts that Prime Minister Cameron has introduced and announced that he will cut this tax even more if re-elected.

As Labour leader Ed Miliband said, it is hardly surprising that these people enjoy having their taxes cut.

Corporation tax has been falling steadily for the past three decades under both Labour and Tory governments. At the same time many giant multinational businesses avoid paying most if not all of it anyway by careful accounting — making sure the part of their business in this country appears to be making very little profit — and by taking advantages of allowances for using green energy, giving money to charity and so on.

These fat cats now demand yet more cuts in corporation tax “to assist Britain’s economic recovery” — claiming that without these cuts we’ll be back in a recession.

Read the full story here >> [ Fat cats back Tories ]

No privatisation at the National Gallery!

by New Worker correspondent

STAFF at London’s National Gallery last Thursday staged a Day of Action and a seven-day strike in the last week of March in their long-running battle against privatisation.

The National Gallery has told 400 of its 600 staff that they are to be taken over by a private company. They are responsible for the security of the paintings and the public and look after millions of visitors.

The National Gallery is the only major museum that does not pay the London living wage.

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition in support of the campaign, run by civil service union PCS, to stop the privatisation.

The workers have already taken strike action on several occasions and in February they were on strike for five days.

Read the full story here >> [ No privatisation at the National Gallery! ]


A woman’s work

“DON’T stress out. Our kids are just fine when their mothers work late,” was the opening of an article by Jessica Valenti in Wednesday’s Guardian in which she asserts that young mothers should be relaxed about having to work long, late hours because it does no lasting harm to their children.

This is one of those issues that seems at first to be a gender issue but is really a class issue. Children will not suffer while their mothers are at work — if they are being well cared for and if it does not mean them being left alone worrying and wondering when their mother will get home. And in our society childcare like that is impossibly expensive for all but the highest earners.

But for working class mothers it is another matter. The official childcare that is available is expensive and will rarely continue into “unsocial hours”. Nursery employees have homes and families to go to as well. Any mother who is repeatedly late in picking up their child will not be popular and will probably be told their custom is no longer wanted.

Informal childcare arrangements usually involve grandparents or neighbours or unregistered childminders. They also will not be very happy if the mother repeatedly turns up late. Some couples have arrangements where one minds the children while the other works and vice versa. When one parent is late home, the other will have to be late starting their work shift or the children will have to be left alone.

And women are now under pressure to get back to work as soon as possible after having a child. Single parents can face benefit sanctions if they do not accept any possible job, regardless of hours. This is why on late night public transport many family groups of women and children of all ages are seen on their way home, with their late night shopping. This particularly affects those children who have to attend school the next day and follow what the teachers are teaching, although they are very deprived of sleep. The mothers know this but have no choice.

This is setting up children to be losers and drop outs. Those who fall behind because they are too tired to keep up soon get bored, restless and demoralised.

Read the full editorial here >> [ A woman’s work ]