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

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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.

Posted in Comment, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition | 1 Comment

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/

Posted in Campaigns, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition | 1 Comment

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