Mayfair Loophole. Close the tax gap. Nationalise the banks.

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TUSC candidate Scott Jones responds to the Mayfair Loophole:

I’ve been sent a number of e-mails by people via 38 degrees asking how if I was the elected MP for Llanelli, I would have voted on the amendment to the Finance Bill to close the so-called ‘Mayfair’ loophole. This allows private equity holders to pay less tax and has been estimated to cost the UK treasury up to £700 million a year.

I am in favour of all measures aimed at more progressive taxation including closing down loopholes that benefit only the rich. However it has to be pointed out that £700 million a year would represent only the very tip of a massive iceberg.

Research commissioned by PCS union has shown that over an estimated £120 billion a year is list to the treasury through avoided, evaded and simply uncollected tax; most of it from giant corporations and super wealthy individuals.

This is wealth that could be used to fund essential services, which are being slashed and to lower the amount of tax those of us without Swiss bank accounts pay on essentials like food, clothing At the same time the Con-Dem Government has axed the jobs of civil servants responsible for collecting tax ensuring their rich friends get away with paying even less.

In order to close the tax gap we need to reverse the cuts in civil service jobs and if we are serious about closing the sort of loopholes that the super rich use with impunity, we need to take the banks and the finance houses into democratic, public ownership.

Nationalisation of the banks is official TUC policy. The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition are the only party committed to acting on it.

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The 1% ‘walk tall’ while the 99% are bowed by austerity

DSCF1754TUSC Candidate for Llanelli at the 2015 general election, Scott Jones said: “Hoping to gain a few extra votes, the Chancellor has tried to sell this budget as a little relief from the endless austerity he has offered up for the last five years. It is nothing of the sort. The coalition once again banged the austerity drum, promising £30 billion worth of cuts, including £12 billion from welfare. George Osborne says austerity is working but the queues at food banks and pay day lenders tell a different story.

 “This government of millionaires might think things are improving, but most ordinary workers are facing a Dickensian future rather than a bright recovery. George Osborne says wages have started to increase but – that is only if you include bankers’ bonuses in the figures! In fact they are still lower than they were before the ‘Great Recession’ – for young people a massive 12.5% lower. A 20p an hour increase in the minimum wage is a drop in the ocean compared to that. TUSC is campaigning for an immediate £10 an hour minimum wage for all with no exemptions.

 “No one who has experienced five years of Con-Dem government will be surprised by this budget, but where is the opposition? Labour also promises continued austerity. When Osborne put his plans for £30 billion worth of cuts under the next government to parliament only five Labour MPs voted against it!

 “It is time to take a stand. That is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has attracted a record number of anti-austerity candidates in the elections on 7 May 2015.”

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“Pay me a third of the wage” says Llanelli MP hopeful

usdaw leftA candidate to be the next MP for Llanelli has pledged that if elected he will only take the average wage of Llanelli constituents. The announcement comes in the wake of public outcry at revelations of “cash for access” involving senior politicians.

As another financial scandal engulfs the Houses of Parliament with serious allegations made against senior MPs from both the Conservatives and Labour Party, one MP hopeful has pledged to make a clean break with what he calls the “parliamentary gravy train”.

Scott Jones, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for Llanelli, said: “Working-class people are rightly disgusted by the news emerging about senior Tory and Labour MPs yet again offering their services to the highest bidders.

“What is incredible is that the Tory Malcolm Rifkind actually said that MPs are low-paid on more than £60,000 a year. Try telling that to care workers struggling on minimum wage zero-hours contracts!

“Meanwhile, New Labour’s Tony Blair has taken time out from his round-the-world junkets with assorted dictators to outrageously try to defend his fellow war criminal Jack Straw. Once again, the very people responsible for destroying the last vestiges of socialism within the Labour Party have demonstrated their outstanding ability to enrich themselves off the backs of the working people who put them into their positions of power.

“This scandal highlights the increasingly identical nature of the four main parties whose politicians all have their snouts in the trough on the parliamentary gravy train as well all backing continued cuts, privatisation and capitalist austerity policies. No wonder just 16% in recent opinion polls trust politicians to tell the truth, who are amazingly even less trusted than bankers!

“I’m standing to be a voice for ordinary people, not to enrich myself. I restate my commitment now that if I’m elected as a TUSC candidate I will only take the average full-time wage of Llanelli residents, which is currently around £23,000 a year, approximately one third of the current wage for an MP. Any money on top of this will be put towards a solidarity fund to support grassroots community and workers’ campaigns.

“There’s only one group of people who will pull my strings – the ordinary working-class residents of Llanelli who deserve a representative in Parliament who will stand up and fight for their interests, not just the interests of those with the biggest pockets.”

Scott Jones is a 26 year old retail worker and is a local branch secretary of the shop workers union USDAW.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was formed in 2010 by the late Bob Crow and the RMT union, the Socialist Party, SWP and independent socialists.

For more information, email scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk or visit www.facebook.com/LlanelliTUSC or http://www.tusc.org.uk.

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What will Scott Jones, TUSC candidate, do to crack down on tax dodging?

Over the last 2 weeks Scott Jones, TUSC candidate in Llanelli, has been contacted by dozens of people in the Llanelli constituency asking ‘What will you do to crack down on tax dodging?’ Thank you to all those who have got in touch, below is content of Scott’s reply:

The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition recognises how big an issue this is. If the tax avoided and evaded every year in Britain were collected, then cuts to public services would be unnecessary and austerity a thing of the past.

I believe that recent media revelations show that the private banking service offered to HSBC’s Swiss account holders is more akin to an advisor to a mafia don than to a traditional financial advisor. The leak shows that HSBC’s Swiss bank helped clients conceal black accounts and dodge taxes all over the world.

Although these revelations are being made public now, the information was leaked in 2007 and made available to governments in 2010. Of the 7,000 UK citizens on the list, only one has been prosecuted in five years.

Many countries started criminal investigations against HSBC last year – but the UK government shows no sign of action against the London-based bank. That may be due to the role played in the Tory Party by HSBC boss at the time – Stephen Green. Green was made a Conservative peer and minister of trade and investment eight months after the allegations were known by the government.

Labour has called for a public inquiry. But with Tristram Hunt, the shadow education minister, declaring that Labour is “furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business”, there is little chance that it would do anything to curb these excesses.

As for TUSC, firstly, I would support the campaign to introduce the tax dodging bill currently being promoted. Secondly, I would reverse the cuts to frontline HMRC staffing made by Labour, Tory and LibDems Governments in the last 15 years and support the PCS union in fighting cuts. We need more frontline staff to catch these tax dodging parasites. Thirdly, I would ensure that those who steal millions from our public services in tax fraud receive at least the same treatment as those who are currently prosecuted for benefit fraud. Overall I would focus on prosecuting the super-rich for tax dodging rather than poor families struggling to cope in our inequality, poverty ridden society. Fourthly, I would campaign for the public ownership of all banks in the UK. The wealth, resources and any socially useful financial expertise these institutions have should be used to support job creation and public services. We don’t need rich bankers helping their super-rich pals to get even richer at our expense.

These billions held by HSBC in Switzerland, and all of the money held in other tax-havens around the globe, should be invested productively to provide jobs, services and a better quality of life for ordinary people.

Scott Jones
Llanelli TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate
scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/LlanelliTUSC
http://www.tusc.org.uk/

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Public Meeting: 50 years of the Socialist Party – Socialism in Action

 

Poll Tax

Come along to this public meeting to celebrate 50 years since the launch of Militant (now the Socialist Party) in October 1964. Since forming we have witnessed and participated in the colossal movements of the working class in some of the greatest events in history. The magnificent 1968 general strike by ten million workers in France, the 1970s revolutionary wave of the Portuguese, Spanish and Greek workers who unceremoniously dismantled the brutal dictatorships in their countries.

In the 1970s, but particularly in the 1980s, we were addressing mass audiences. Militant, in terms of numbers and influence in the labour movement, was the most successful Marxist/Trotskyist organisation in Western Europe since the time of Trotsky’s Left Opposition in the 1930s.

Leading mass movement of the working class in Liverpool between 1983-1987 as the council defeated the Tory government over spending cuts and then leading the anti-poll tax struggle which brought down Thatcher, through to participating in the Miners’ Strike, leading the Campaign Against Domestic Violence, Youth Against Racism in Europe, recreating the Jarrow March with Youth Fight for Jobs and to this day fighting to build a new mass workers party with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and fighting to for £10 an hour minimum wage campaign.

To be held at Dyfatty Community Centre, Chapel Street, Swansea, SA1 1NB, Thursday 27 November at 7:30pm. Come along and discuss our history, ideas and look to the future, all welcome.

For prior reading see: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/830/19549

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Unison Wales FE strike ballot

Unison members in Welsh FE colleges have delivered a mandate to our union to ballot for strike action over pay. Colegau Cymru, representing the employers, has offered no cost-of-living rise this year. Unison estimates the value of our pay has fallen on average by 18% since the start of the economic crisis. We will ballot for action in the new year alongside other campus unions.

A Welsh FE worker

Posted in Campaigns, Trade Unions | 1 Comment

What recovery? Hundreds more jobs axed in Pembrokeshire

Residents of Milford Haven now have another reason to remember 5 November, when it was announced that the Murco oil refinery, one of the biggest employers in the town, was to close. This will lead to the loss of 400 jobs directly, plus an estimated 1,500 jobs from contractors on the site, and taking a massive £30 million out of the local economy.

The loss of this refinery is the latest in a line of closures and layoffs to hit the town situated in one of the poorest regions of northern Europe.

Unemployment in the town is skyrocketing thanks to Con-Dem cuts passed on through a Labour Assembly to a county council that is set to slash its budget by 25% in the coming financial year.

Socialists demand renationalisation of the energy sector as part of a democratically planned economy to ensure full employment.

Gareth Bromhall

Posted in Comment, West Wales | 1 Comment

Obituary: Andrew Price: Fighter, teacher, party campaigner

Andrew Price: Fighter, teacher, party campaigner

23 February 1949
– 3 October 2014

It was with great sadness that Socialist Party members and trade unionists across South Wales received the news that Andrew Price had passed away following a serious chest infection.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Enid, children Rachel, Philip and Michael, and grandchildren Josh, Sam, Jack and Liam.

Andrew was an inspirational figure who overcame chronic ill health to continue to play a leading role as one of the most militant leaders of the South Wales labour movement.

He was a great orator, a tenacious fighter and a stalwart of the Socialist Party and its predecessors the Militant Tendency and Militant Labour.

As such he was hated by the right wing of the labour movement who responded with relentless and often spiteful attacks (the right wing vetoed a vote in Splott ward Labour Party to send Andrew a get well card following his stroke).

But Andrew rose above those attacks, reinforced by an unwavering conviction in the correctness of Marxist ideas and the eventual victory of the working class.

Early life

Andrew was born in Pontypridd, one of four sons, before his family moved to Cardiff while he was still a young boy.

Andrew grew up a real Cardiffian before returning to Pontypridd and going to Aberystwyth university in 1967.

In Pontypridd Andrew joined the Labour Party Young Socialists, the beginning of nearly 50 years of labour movement activity.

In 1968 he was convinced of Marxist ideas and joined Militant, at that time a small tendency within the Labour Party.

In 1969 he was one of the first Militant supporters to be elected onto the National Committee (NC) of the Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) and contributed in no small measure to the success in 1970 of Militant gaining a majority on the LPYS NC, a majority never relinquished until the right wing under Neil Kinnock effectively closed the LPYS in 1989, after all attempts at engineering a political defeat of Militant had failed.

Andrew Price at Socialist Party congress 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

It was at an LPYS meeting in Cardiff in 1968 that Andrew met Enid Phillips. At that meeting Andrew and Enid were in different political trends – Enid was a supporter of Tribune, the left reformist paper of the Labour Party – but they still fell for each other.

It was the beginning of a life-long partnership of deep mutual love and dedication. In later years the Price household, the most political in Tremorfa, appeared from the outside to be the least politicised as Andrew and Enid agreed to display neither Labour nor Socialist Party posters in their window!

In 1971 Rachel their daughter was born, followed three years later by twins Michael and Philip. Andrew was a devoted father, and later grandfather, combining his dedication to his family with his commitment to the struggle to change society.

The 1970s was a period of heightened class struggle against the Tory Heath government which Andrew participated in.

Militant’s ideas were gaining an increasing echo and he played a prominent role in the Cardiff Trades Union Council which he continued until the end.

The election of a Labour government was viewed with great expectation by the working class, but it was led by the right wing who attempted to balance support from the trade union movement with carrying out the dictates of big business.

Andrew clashed in the Cardiff South East CLP (constituency Labour Party) with a leader of the government, Jim Callaghan, who was first foreign secretary, then prime minister.

Labour Party witch hunt

Led by the Tory press, the right wing began a campaign against “Trotskyist infiltration” in Cardiff South East Labour Party.

For 13 years Andrew, together with other Militant supporters, especially Dave Bartlett, fought tooth and nail repeated attempts to expel him from the Labour Party, all of which failed until Andrew was struck down with a stroke in 1988.

Reminding anyone who would listen that it was Marxists who helped form the Labour Party, Andrew fought every attempt to get him out of Cardiff South East Labour Party and off Callaghan’s CLP General Management Committee (GMC).

After the right wing mobilised at Splott ward’s AGM to vote Andrew off the GMC, Andrew remembered that the Socialist Education Association (SEA), of which he was a member, was affiliated to Cardiff South East Labour Party and so got delegated from the SEA.

His right wing opponents were seething as Andrew took his seat at the next GMC meeting. When the right wing responded by mobilising dozens of right wingers from all across Cardiff to join the SEA in an attempt to unseat him, Andrew and Dave Bartlett responded by signing up dozens of left wingers.

The normally sleepy SEA was surprised to see its Cardiff branch mushroom into the biggest in the country! Under Andrew’s leadership the Cardiff SEA became not just a battleground with the right wing but one of the best venues in Cardiff for socialist discussion and debate with many outside speakers invited to speak on educational and socialist issues.

The campaign against Militant supporters in Cardiff South East was very personal and occasionally violent, but he never once faltered, maintaining a principled support for Militant and Marxist ideas and refusing to stoop to the personal and petty levels of his opponents.

The attacks from the right wing did not prevent Andrew from winning wide support from the labour movement in South Wales.

In 1980 he even managed to be elected as the delegate from Cardiff South East CLP to Labour Party national conference and took great delight in reporting back how he voted in the conference to the right wing at the GMC.

He was short-listed as Labour parliamentary candidate in Caerphilly, Torfaen and Cardiff Central constituencies, only missing out in Cardiff Central by a handful of votes to another left winger in1982.

In 1985 eventually the right wing in Cardiff South Labour Party voted to expel Andrew along with Dave Bartlett and Diane Mitchell.

Andrew used the attack as a platform to campaign against the witch hunt and for the ideas of Marxism in the labour movement, travelling all over the country speaking at Labour Party meetings and raising funds for the Cardiff South Defence Fund.

The Cardiff South three successfully won an injunction against the right wing for unconstitutionally railroading the expulsions through.

Andrew Price (1st on the left ) on a street stall with other Socialist Party members

Dedication to labour movement

Andrew played a prominent role in the South Wales labour movement in the struggles against the reactionary Thatcher government.

During the miners’ strike of 1984-5 Andrew was seen on many picket lines in support of the miners, and when the picket lines were attacked by the police he was often seen where the fighting was at its thickest.

Andrew was also a staunch defender of Militant-led Liverpool council, organising support meetings in Cardiff.

In 1988 Andrew suffered a serious stroke that partially paralysed his left side. His disability made movement very difficult, but aided by Enid, he insisted on returning to work and continuing his political activity.

For the rest of his life Andrew refused to allow his disability to prevent him playing a full role in the labour movement and as a teacher. This would not have been possible without the huge day to day and moral support he received from Enid for the remaining 26 years of his life.

He had already come to the conclusion that the undemocratic changes to the Labour Party had made it increasingly difficult to change it and that it was better to build support for Marxism outside the Labour Party and for him to concentrate on the wider struggle.

In 1989 Margaret Thatcher gave him a golden opportunity with the poll tax. Andrew threw himself into the struggle and soon clashed again with the right wing Labour councillors who decided to implement Thatcher’s poll tax.

He helped set up Splott anti-poll tax union and when summoned to court for non-payment Andrew stood his ground and defied the magistrates.

Andrew’s deep personal loyalty was sorely tested when the Militant leadership split in 1991 mainly over the issue of staying in the Labour Party.

But despite being telephoned a number of times by leaders of the small minority faction who wished to remain in the Labour Party, Andrew supported the position of the majority who realised that Labour was becoming a party wedded to capitalism in which the voice of the working class was silenced.

Teacher and trade unionist

Andrew had begun teaching sociology at Rumney Tech in 1971 and for the next 38 years was an inspiring teacher to thousands of further education students.

Many times he would be sought out on street stalls by former students who were grateful for his dedication and patience.

And Andrew was also a great union organiser in the college lecturers’ union, Natfhe (now part of UCU), serving for many years on its Wales and UK executive committees.

Over the years he was an uncompromising negotiator on behalf of union members at his college and as a Wales negotiator with the Welsh college employers.

With Andrew as one of the FE leaders, Wales was one of the most combative parts of Natfhe and Welsh FE lecturers led by Andrew secured the best pay and employment deals in Britain, including pay parity with teachers that served as an aim for lecturers in England.

Even after retiring Andrew continued to play an important role at the Cardiff Trades Union Council, UCU Wales Retired Members branch and at the Wales TUC conference, at this year’s conference powerfully condemning the bedroom tax.

Andrew was a tremendous orator, always speaking clearly and was able to speak colourfully but also directly, telling it like it is.

Later years

Despite being one of the oldest members of the Socialist Party in Wales Andrew had a special relationship with the youngest members.

One recalls: “A fountain of knowledge in the local Socialist Party branch he would answer every question and take time to speak to an annoying teenager (me) at every meeting and activity.”

Another recalls: “Andrew became my comrade and friend but he never stopped being my teacher. He was an inspiration to all around him. The struggles he endured, the respect he had amongst his peers and younger generations. Always willing to patiently explain – many times too patiently to the annoyance of other comrades. Always entertaining to sit down and have a pint with.”

One young member insisted in remaining in Andrew’s party branch even though she didn’t live in the area, so that she could hear his contributions in the political discussions.

After leaving the Labour Party Andrew dedicated himself to arguing the need for a new mass workers’ party.

He understood that this was the main political task for the trade union movement. Labour Party supporters in the trade unions sometimes tired of his interventions, but Andrew understood that this issue was central for the working class to defend itself against the capitalist onslaught.

Andrew also understood that building support for socialist ideas was crucial as well. He never missed a Socialist Party branch meeting except for illness or holiday, even though he had more reason than anyone.

He understood that finance was vital to our success and was an inspiring and determined finance organiser. He was the best district treasurer Wales Socialist Party ever had. In 1987 he and Chris Peace organised a sponsored bike ride to raise money for the fighting fund.

In later years he did not allow his disability to prevent him from repeating the feat, this time on an adapted bike.

Andrew Price on his bike

For three years anyone who attended an anti-cuts meeting or a trades council meeting was gently “persuaded” to sponsor Andrew. In two years he raised over £1,000, which was paid into the financial appeals at Socialism 2012 and 2013.

This year Andrew will not be here to repeat his ride, but some sponsor money has already been collected.

Socialist Party Wales is setting up an Andrew Price memorial fund with a target of £2,000 to ensure Andrew’s 2014 efforts are not wasted.

For decades Andrew inspired enormous respect and affection, even from opponents, because he had absolute integrity.

He was dedicated to changing society and convinced that the working class, the ideas of Marxism and the methods of the Socialist Party and CWI are the only means by which we can achieve that.

His example is an inspiration to generations of socialists and although he has passed away, his memory lives on in the minds of generations of socialists, who are proud to have known Andrew and shared in his battles. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales

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Socialist Students at Aberystwyth Freshers Fayre

aber frshers 2014 2

42 signed up to join the dozens already a member of Aberystwyth Socialist Students on Wednesday the 24th September.

Aberystwyth University is now the worst in Wales according to the latest QS World University rankings, putting it at 601 out of 650, falling down the ranking for the fifth year in a row. This is undoubtedly down to the wave cuts to Aber’s budget and attacks on its staff, which have led to an angry student population and militant workforce, culminating in a 4 day strike last week. A few lecturers bought the Socialist paper, as well as students.

Aberystwyth is an overwhelmingly working class university and at the end of the day, a meeting bore witness to an eagerness to campaign and fightback on issues such as education cuts, tuition fees and improving the towns poor student accommodation.

Scott Jones

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No To NATO demonstration: Capitalism means war!

 

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Scott Jones

NATO, the military wing of Western capitalism, descends on Newport in South Wales for its summit this week. Preceding the summit on the weekend was one of the largest demonstrations in Newport for a generation, as two thousand anti-war protesters teamed up with anti-austerity and anti-capitalist demonstrators to let NATO know they are not welcome.

Newport, like every other part of working-class Britain, has been stripped bare by austerity. The Welsh Assembly and the city council – both run by Labour – have put up no opposition to the government’s cuts.

While the rich and powerful swan around at the summit in the Celtic Manor resort on the hill, the city centre is a ghost town of boarded-up shops. Hundreds are hounded for the bedroom tax and the local University of South Wales could lose an entire campus.

Meanwhile, the resources magically appear to fund the biggest police operation in British history, involving 20,000 officers and 13 miles of high-tech fencing. It doesn’t stop there: having squandered £20 billion on war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British government has dedicated another £20 billion to Trident nuclear weapons. A strange way to tighten your belt.

War and capitalism are inseparable as the Socialist Party/CWI ‘red bloc’ on the demo made loud and clear.

Coverage of the demonstration on Russia Today, featuring footage of the red bloc:

Further footage of the demo and the red bloc on this Sky News report.

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