PCS news digest 14 October

14 October 2011

This weekly news digest is a summary of news, campaign articles, media releases and reports from the past week


14 October

Revenue pursues 6,000 Swiss HSBC accounts – Telegraph

HM Revenue and Customs is withdrawing its amnesty on 6,000 wealthy HSBC customers and demanded they declare taxes due on Swiss accounts or face criminal charges, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Duncan Smith rethinks rise in pensions age – Guardian

The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has announced that the planned rise in the state pension age to 66 will be delayed until October 2020 in a move the government claims will benefit thousands of women, the Guardian reported.

13 October

Jobless surge heaps pressure on Osborne - Independent

The Independent reported that George Osborne came under mounting pressure to change his economic strategy after unemployment rose to 2.57million, its highest level for 17 years.

Work scheme ‘drop in ocean’ – Morning Star

The Morning Star reported that a new government scheme that aims to get tens of thousands of young people into work will be a drop in the ocean against the scale of cuts and unemployment, experts warned.

HMRC chief under pressure to quit over Goldman tax let-off – Independent

Britain’s top Inland Revenue official is facing demands to quit after being accused of lying over a deal that spared Goldman Sachs a multimillion pound tax bill for its bankers’ bonuses, according to the Independent.

12 October

Sir Gus O’Donnell announces retirement – and will pick up more than £100,000 a year – Mirror

Top civil servant Sir O’Donnell announced his retirement aged 59 and will get £105,000 to £110,000 a year.

Halt the cuts or abandon a generation to unemployment – PCS

With youth unemployment hitting a record high and the total number of people out of work the highest since the Tories were last in office, PCS says the government must take urgent action to reverse the damage it is doing to our economy.

Work academies launch as young jobless figure forecast to top 1m – Guardian

The Guardian reported that ministers are preparing for youth unemployment to go over one million and will defend themselves by launching sector-based work academies across the UK designed to give people better access to work experience.

Housing benefit plans mean axe for 20,000 and they’ll land councils with £50m bill – Morning Star

A Morning Star article said Tory plans to snatch control of housing benefits from councils will waste more than £50million a year and cost 20,000 jobs, public-sector union Unison revealed.

11 October

FTSE 100 companies among Britain’s biggest tax hideaways - Actionaid

The secret life of the UK’s biggest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange has been uncovered today revealing that 98 out of 100 are using tax havens.

Prentis: why I’m calling for a “Yes” vote in strike ballot – Union News

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis wrote a piece for the Union News website setting out why he is urging more than 1.1million of his members to support a strike over changes to local government and NHS pensions.

400,000 children will fall into poverty by 2015, says IFS – Guardian

A report in the Guardian said that the government shake-up of the tax and benefits system will see a further 400,000 children fall into relative poverty during this parliament, leaving Britain on course to miss legally-binding targets to reduce child poverty by 2020.

The local council jobs cull reality – Morning Star

The Morning Star reported that more than 100,000 jobs in local authorities have been lost across England since the general election, with further cuts to come, the GMB union warned.

10 October

Osborne warned on public sector cuts – Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph reported that the chancellor has been urged to use his autumn statement to put a hold on public sector job cuts or risk “nasty macroeconomic side-effects” which could derail recovery.

Struggles, sacrifices and solidarity – Black History Month – Union News

The contribution of black workers to the UK labour movement is largely undocumented, despite being so significant and is why trade unions should celebrate Black History Month, argues Wilf Sullivan on the Union News website.

Legal aid cuts aren’t just unfair, they will cost more than they save – False Economy

Connor Johnston, co-chair of Young Legal Aid Lawyers, wrote a piece for the False Economy website in which he said he believes the changes to the legal aid scheme intended to save £350million will cost more in the long term.

9 October

NHS reform protesters block Westminster Bridge – BBC

The BBC reported that demonstrators blocked Westminster Bridge in central London in protest over proposed changes to the NHS.

Thousands told to break law to end cuts and war – Morning Star

An article in the Morning Star said that thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square to mark the Afghan conflict’s 10th anniversary were advised by a string of speakers to break the law to end Britain’s wars.

8 October

Unions prepare for huge pension strike in Cumbria – News and Star

The News and Star reported that the first ballot papers were due to go out as trade unions gear up for the largest co-ordinated strike action in the UK since the general strike of 1926.

Uni cleaners rally for a living wage – Morning Star

Cleaners at London South Bank University called on the vice-chancellor to pay them the living wage at a protest rally on World Day for Decent Work, reported the Morning Star.

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