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From: The Socialist issue 862, 1 July 2015: Reject EU austerity!

Search site for keywords: Super-rich - Welfare state - Welfare - State - Tax - Benefits - Starbucks - Rich - Facebook

The corporate welfare state

Photo by Liz West (Creative Commons)

Photo by Liz West (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Chancellor Osborne's savage attack on welfare benefits has been accompanied by Tory propaganda in the right-wing media, accusing low-income families of being part a 'something-for-nothing' culture holding back the country's economic recovery.

But how then does the government explain the 'corporate welfare bill'? Research by Kevin Farnsworth at York University calculates that the grants and subsidies paid directly to companies in 2011-12 amounted to over 14 billion - nearly three times the 5 billion paid out that year in Jobseeker's Allowance.

When other businesses' 'in-work' benefits are included (such as tax benefits, quantitative easing, export guarantees, public procurement from private companies) then direct corporate welfare amounts to a minimum 85 billion a year - a large proportion of the government's total budget deficit.

Unsurprisingly, the super-rich friendly Chancellor has remained tight-lipped about this corporate welfare bill.

Between 2005 and 2011, of 44 companies that received government grants, 13 didn't pay any corporation tax; another 17 didn't pay any corporation tax either the year before or the year of getting their public benefit.

In 2013 Facebook only paid 3,169 in corporation tax; Amazon 10 million (over ten years!); Apple 11 million; Google 11.6 million. At the same time, total UK revenues of the four companies were over 17 billion.

Between 2009 and 2012 Starbucks paid no corporation tax, claiming it had made a loss in these years. In 2011, Starbucks' UK sales amounted to 400 million.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Globalisation Anticapitalism keywords:

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Article dated 1 July 2015

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