PCS News Digest 23 September

23 September 2011

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

23 September

Headteachers to ballot for first in 114 years

The National Association of Head Teachers is to ballot its members for strike action for the first time in its 114-year history, reported the Union News website.

Unison rejects pension changes

The Daily Mirror reported that the public sector pensions dispute has remained deadlocked after Unison insisted it could not sign up to proposals which would increase contributions and raise the retirement age.


22 September

Anger as disabled people warned of benefits cuts before bill is passed

The Guardian reported that the government has clashed with disability campaigners and health charities after warning seriously ill patients that their benefits may be cut from next April if its welfare reform bill, which has not yet passed all its parliamentary stages, is enacted later this year.

Scandal of £35bn lost in ‘tax gap’

Tax dodgers cost the UK £35billion last year, official figures reveal, reported the Daily Express.

£120bn cost of government’s inaction on tax dodgers

Civil servants warned the government that its failure to chase tax lost through the use of havens and evasion is costing the country billions, reported the Morning Star.

Economists cast doubt on growth potential

The Financial Times reported that two of Britain’s leading economic officials have raised doubts on the potential for rapid recovery, as the Bank of England pointed to possible further injections of money into the economy.

When class war reached the classrooms

Clive Bloom in the Independent recounted the nationwide wave of pupil walk-outs that struck fear into the heart of the establishment 100 years ago.


21 September

Missing tax massively underestimated by HMRC

The amount of tax lost to our public financers every year is more than three times the government’s estimate, said PCS.

Chief taxman admits errors in multibillion-pound deals

The Guardian reported that Britain’s most senior taxman has admitted making “governance errors” when agreeing multi-billion settlements with large companies.

Lansley told to water down NHS reforms

An article in the Independent said that Andrew Lansley will have to make further concessions on the government’s controversial NHS reform bill when it gets debated in the House of Lords, said the Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams.


20 September

Hutton: ‘I accept what Mark Serwotka said’

The PCS website reported that former Labour cabinet minister John Hutton who is providing cover for the Tory-led government’s raid on public sector pensions has been forced to concede he was wrong to say the unions had misunderstood his findings.

Confidence in pensions hits record low

Public confidence in pensions has hit a record low in the ongoing fallout from the financial crisis, the National Association of Pension Funds warned.

Fujitsu strike turns up heat on bosses

Fujitsu workers took to the picket lines in Crewe and Mancester to fight for better pay and show solidarity with dismissed union activists Alan Jenney, reported the Morning Star.

Gove and advisers probed over use of private email accounts

The Independent reported that Michael Gove and a number of his advisers are being investigated after evidence emerged  that suggested they attempted to make emailed discussions unavailable to freedom of information requests from the public.


19 September

Chainmakers must inspire new generation

Women’s equality faces a return to Edwardian times, visitors to the Women Chainmakers’ Festival were told, as reported by the Union News website.

Star in the new Robin Hood Tax film

The Robin Hood Tax campaign is inviting people to upload a picture of themselves to feature in a video explaining how this simple tax can raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, in the UK and worldwide.


18 September

Jobcentres to send poor and hungry to charity food banks

Tens of thousands of benefits claimants will be referred to food banks by the government, which is worried that many Britons face a stark choice: starvation of feeding themselves by begging or stealing, said a report in the Independent on Sunday.

Lib Dems’ tax plan will ‘benefit the rich, not help the poor’

The Observer reported that the Liberal Democrats’ flagship idea of raising the tax threshold to £12,500 would benefit the wealthy more than the poor, according to a respected leftwing think tank.

Jobs vanish in enterprise zones

Unemployment in the government’s enterprise zones is rising by up to six times the national average, according to official figures reported in the Sunday Times.


17 September

Students plan protests to coincide with trade union strikes

Student leaders who organised a series of mass demonstrations that saw tens of thousands of young people take to the streets last year are planning a fresh wave of protests, according to the Guardian.

Government plotting to strip some workers of the minimum wage

Ministers are looking at stripping the minimum wage for some workers, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Organising online for 30 November action on pensions

Hundreds of activists have begun organising on social media ahead of the planned co-ordinated strikes and day of action on 30 November, reported the Union-News website.


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