Archives For arms trade

1) Six firms including Facebook and Google, made £14bn last year but paid just 0.3% tax

Image: PA/Reuters

Image: PA/Reuters

An investigation by the Sunday Mirror has revealed that Facebook, Google, Amazon, Ebay, Apple and Starbucks have paid less than 1% tax.

The companies reported revenue of £2.6bn but further income by sister companies have been collected and have avoided tax through havens. The total they are estimated to have made is actually £14.2bn.

“The Sunday Mirror also reported that there was £9bn black hole in corporation tax, helped along by corporate tax cuts brought in by George Osborne.

“These changes include a scheme “so blatantly a tax avoidance arrangement for big business” it is now being reformed after protests from Germany and the EU, said Richard Murphy of campaign group Tax Research.

“Meanwhile, ordinary people were clobbered with a 2.5 per cent VAT hike within weeks of the Tory-led Government taking office in 2010.

“A group of 17 leading charities, including ActionAid, Oxfam and the Equality Trust, are urgently calling on all political parties to support a Tax Dodging Bill.”

Further support for tax avoidance was shown by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who defended Boots Boss Stefano Pessina’s tax avoidance, insisting that Pessina had a ‘duty’ to avoid tax for his shareholders.

Crucially, in this defence figures like Boris never highlight that this is money owed to the UK, that should be used for social good, public services and resources. Boris is attempting to make this acceptable, but Frankie Boyle put it succinctly enough on Twitter last year:

‘If you’re rich don’t look at it as tax avoidance, look at it as a children’s hospital buying you a pool.’

Read more about this story here.

2) Number of City backers doubles for Tories

The number of City donors has doubled for the Tories since 2010 with figures from the Square Mile, the Financial Times reported last week.

We’re sure this has nothing to do with the lucrative money grabbing policies for the city allowed by the Tories through corporate tax cuts and the free reign and support of loopholes and avoidance as above. But they clearly like something about them.

Image from Financial Times – read the full story here.


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3) 40 MPs on guest list for dinner with arms trade dealers

40 MPs were on the guest list for a dinner organised by trade organisation ADS, at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, according to information passed to The Independent by Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat).

Jeremy Vine gave a speech at the event for a five figure fee, and Business Secretary Vince Cable also attended the event.

Andrew Smith from Caat said: “It’s outrageous that the government actively supports and promotes this deadly trade.

“The fact that arms dealers were swilling champagne with over 40 MPs is a disgrace and shows the extent of the arms trade’s connections and political lobbying.”

Read more about this story here.

4) Costs of Universal Credit plans not to be revealed until after election

The costs of the troubled Universal Credit System will not be revealed until after the May 2015 election, according to information received by Computer Weekly.

The new system has faced trouble from the start, and was estimated to cost £12.85bn in 2012. However, since then problems and costs have mounted and the government has failed to release a new estimate for 2 years.

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which leads development of Universal Credit, and the Cabinet Office, which has responsibility for project oversight, have concealed the revised cost estimate since tearing up plans for the computer system in 2013 after two years of development – a process they called a “reset”. “

Minister for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, has also used taxpayer’s money to fight the release of information in the Courts, appealing several times.

This is a clear manipulation of information, in order to serve the current government’s PR in the run up to the election.

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Read more about this story here.

5) Hinchingbrooke hospital handed back to NHS

Hinchingbrooke hospital, the first hospital to be given to private management will be handed back to the NHS by the end of March.

Steve Melton, head of Circle Health who ran the hospital, was answering questions to the Public Accounts Committee on the hospital’s failures and a Care Quality Commission report that declared Hinchingbrooke as ‘inadequate’ – the first hospital to be declared so by the CQC.

Melton denied that the report gave the full picture of the problems.

Read more about this story here.

6) Number of teachers quitting classroom reaches 10-year high

The number of teachers quitting the profession has reached a 10-year high according to figures released by the Department for Education.

50,000 teachers quit in the year to November 2013 (the latest figures to hand), a 25% increase over 4 years.

Christine Blower of the NUT said falling working conditions and pay were pushing candidates away:

“A combination of unacceptable number of hours worked, a punitive accountability system, the introduction of performance-related pay and being expected to work until 68 for a pension has turned teaching into a less than attractive career choice.”

Read more about this story here.

 

 

 

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So your favourite ginger bearded polemicist has been away for three weeks – researching important things in Mexico, and writing about Comrade Bob. But I am back, and we’ve got a lot to cover so let’s check it out!

REGULARS

Liberty

In one of the most appallingly vicious acts of counter productive stupidity, a blanket ban on giving prisoners books has been introduced by professional arse face Chris Grayling.

Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling. Image: johnnyvoid.wordpress.com

Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling. Image: johnnyvoid.wordpress.com

And in Spain massive peaceful protests are met with blanket violence, though don’t kid yourself this is just something that happens in other countries…

Economics (not boring I promise!)

As ever, we are trying to make money real with this section, and what is more real than realising you would be £44k better off if we didn’t create a housing bubble that only benefits rich landlords!

Also let’s think seriously about the living wage, this is a basic concept that should be a right for all.

Maybe we should conceive of government differently:

Image: Anonymous ART of Revolution

Image: Anonymous ART of Revolution

or not conceive of government at all?!

Because let’s face it, whilst five families own more than 20% of us we are never going to have a government that represents us…

Oh and by the way – those new jobs (the shit zero hour ones that supposedly show that we are in recovery) 80% were created in London – SO FUCK YOU NORWICH!

Environment

In the wake of the floods nobody mentioned this in the mainstream news. In fact, this only made the comment is free section, but we essentially paid farmers to flood our homes.

Fracking is still centre of the agenda for this government and globally, so maybe we should take a moment to enjoy this fantastic video by Green Goyo, who proves that actually fracking is good for everyone!

I don’t want to go into it too much more, as next week we will be releasing our first RealFare video on the Barton moss protest camp, but suffice it to say that what people have had to go through to stop their water being polluted and their land forever damaged has been unnaturally brutal.

Debates coming up

Europe is going to inevitably dominate the news at some point, so it is worth mentioning that if you like UKIP because you are anti-Europe and yet at the same time believe in things like renationalising the railways, maybe you should have a look at someone else

And good news for the UK weapons industry is bad news for everyone else.

Image: Occupy London

Image: Occupy London

 

Good news!


Half the cases against anti-fracking protestors have been dropped  – because, of course, they are bullsh**T – one day I will be able to report people protested and didn’t get arrested at all…

And Bez brought anti Fracking protestors vegan beer!

Stewart Lee does one of the most left-field deconstructions of the Tory party I’ve come across…

Depression has been radicalised

The planet may be fucked – but shareholders had a brief honeymoon period!

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And according to NASA the only way to save humanity is Communism!

Thomas Barlow