Category Archives: Socialism

£1,000 fine if you’re slow bringing your emptied rubbish bins in

Threat: Householders must not leave their bins out or face a fine of £1,000

Daily Mail | Jul 19, 2011

By Steve Doughty

Householders have been threatened with £1,000 fines if they leave their wheelie bins out for too long.

The penalty would be the largest ever imposed on those who fail to remove their empty bins from the pavement after they have been emptied.

Letters warning of the £1,000  fine have been sent out in Bedford, where council chiefs say bins on the pavement are a hazard to blind people.

The local authority has issued its threat just a month after the  Government condemned such draconian punishments as ‘clearly disproportionate’. Ministers have promised a new law to strip councils of the right to levy large fines.

The Bedford fines are more than 12 times greater than the on-the-spot penalties routinely handed out to shoplifters.

The letters distributed among the 65,000 homes in the borough say that anyone who fails to take their bin back in within 24 hours of their rubbish collection will be liable for the fine. The threat provoked a furious response in the town.

Matthew Hipkin, 37, said: ‘It’s an absolute waste of council money and time to have people walking the streets checking if someone has put their bin away.

‘I understand the principle of keeping the streets clean but the council has put across its point in the wrong way. It is being way too heavy-handed.’

A father of two who did not want to be named added: ‘I’ve had these threatening letters when I left my bin out on the pavement because the binmen hadn’t turned up.

‘Other times I’ve had to walk ten doors away to pick up my bin because they’ve been left scattered in the road after collection. It’s a ridiculous waste of our council tax. Why don’t they just make sure the bins are collected on time?’

There was exasperation from national campaigners against council taxes and inefficiencies.

Christine Melsom, of the Is It Fair? group, said: ‘I suppose they have to try to make money somehow but this is nonsense.

‘This is taking bin fines far too far. In most parts of the country you find very few bins left out for long anyway.’

Bedford is run by elected Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson, and the three major parties each have 12 elected councillors.

A spokesman for the authority said: ‘We’ve been working with Sight Concern Bedford and the Royal National Institute of Blind People to encourage households to put their wheelie bins away, to help make pavements safer for blind and partially sighted people.

‘Where we receive reports of households repeatedly leaving out bins which can cause problems to such people, the council will write to the households concerned and advise that this is an offence for which they may ultimately be fined.’

Some councils have threatened £1,000 fines as their ultimate sanction for people who fail to follow recycling rules and put the wrong material in the wrong bins.

A £1,000 fine is the largest possible under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act.

In the Government’s Waste Review last month – which failed to bring back weekly bin collections – ministers said punishments for erring householders should not be higher than fines for criminals.

The review said of £1,000 fines: ‘It cannot be right for this kind of threat to be hanging over householders.’

Chavez, like Castro, has his brother ready for the position of next President

Adán Chávez, left, the older brother of the ailing President Hugo Chávez, right, has stepped in to fill the void. Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Adán Chávez, a physicist whose radical thinking has often been to the left of the president’s.

NY Times | Jun 28, 2011


CARACAS, Venezuela — To the many comparisons that can been made between Venezuela and Cuba — two close allies, both infused with revolutionary zeal, driven by movements that revere their leaders — consider one more: the presidential brother, stepping in during a time of illness.

As President Hugo Chávez quietly recovers in Cuba after undergoing emergency surgery there more than two weeks ago, no government figure has occupied the political void created by his absence more assertively than his older brother, Adán Chávez, a physicist whose radical thinking has often been to the left of the president’s.

He serves a role similar to that of Raúl Castro, who took over as Cuba’s president after illness removed Fidel Castro from the political scene in 2006. And like Raúl Castro, while Adán Chávez may lack his brother’s charisma, he remains a loyalist who has assisted his brother throughout the consolidation of power.

A former Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba and long a member of Hugo Chávez’s inner circle of advisers, Adán Chávez has taken on the role of providing public updates on his brother’s convalescence, shuttling between Caracas and Havana in recent weeks. It was his disclosure last Wednesday that the president would not return to Venezuela for another 10 to 12 days that offered the most serious assessment yet of the president’s slow recovery.

Adán Chávez, 58, now governor of Barinas, a state of cattle ranches in western Venezuela that is a bastion of the Chávez family, has also led efforts to reassure and energize the president’s supporters as rumors swirl about his condition. Citing Che Guevara at a prayer meeting in Barinas over the weekend, he rallied the president’s followers and called on them to remember the armed struggle as a method of “applying and developing the revolutionary program.”

“It would be unforgivable to limit ourselves to only electoral or other methods of struggle,” said Adán Chávez, a former university professor involved in political activity long before his brother, who is less than two years his junior, formed a nationalist cell of young army officers in the late 1970s.

The prominence of Adán Chávez reflects his brother’s dominance of Venezuelan politics since he was first elected president in 1998. Over the years, Hugo Chávez has consistently winnowed other top advisers and potential rivals who rose from his own political movement. Some who remain, like Vice President Elías Jaua, a former director of land expropriations, exhibit total loyalty. (Last week, Mr. Jaua read verbatim on state television the handful of Twitter messages Hugo Chávez wrote to followers.)

Still, no one in the government, including Adán Chávez, has displayed the president’s visceral ability to connect with poor Venezuelans. That may not have mattered too much in Cuba, where the Communist Party holds unrivaled authority over the nation’s political system. But if Hugo Chávez is unable to quickly return to power in Venezuela, it remains to be seen how effectively his brother can hold off the spirited, if divided, opposition here and build support in a governing movement so centered around the president himself.

Adán Chávez did not respond to interview requests. But biographers of Hugo Chávez attribute the president’s political evolution, if not his bruising political style, in part to Adán’s influence and ties in the 1970s with guerrilla leaders like Douglas Bravo, who advocated using Venezuela’s petroleum reserves as a tool for radical change.

While Hugo Chávez grew close to Mr. Bravo and then broke with him, as he has done repeatedly with other mentors, the president still incorporated such thinking into his own ideology, using oil revenues as the driving force in his socialist-inspired revolution.

Now, Mr. Bravo, 79, who is a critic of what he describes as Venezuela’s new dependence on countries like China and Russia, said Adán Chávez was clearly “in the line of succession.” Referring to Adán’s statement about using arms to defend his brother’s revolution, Mr. Bravo noted that neither the vice president nor any other prominent pro-Chávez political leader had said anything so provocative.

“He must be receiving orientation from his brother to say such a thing, because I don’t think he would make such a declaration on his own,” said Mr. Bravo, who has known both men for decades.

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Canada’s “New Democrats” debate dropping tricky word “socialist” from their constitution

Jack Layton, the NDP leader speaks at the NDP convention in Vancouver on Sunday, June 19, 2011.

The preamble to the current constitution says social, economic and political progress is possible “only by the application of socialist principles” such as state control over the production and distribution of goods and services.

‘Socialist’ a tricky word at federal NDP convention News | Jun 19, 2011

New Democrats have agreed to defer a vote on whether to drop the word “socialist” from its constitution, and rejected a resolution that would have banned a merger with the Liberals.

At the NDP’s 50th anniversary convention in Vancouver, the party was confronted with how to present itself as the new Official Opposition in Parliament, and how to close its 50-seat gap with the Conservatives.

The debate over the world “socialist” put the party in a tight spot between its core, pro-union supporters and the more centrist voters who fuelled its success in last month’s election.

“On one hand they want to retain their ties to labour, but on the other they’re looking for ways to expand the base, expand the appeal to include others who don’t support labour at all,” said CTV’s Richard Madan.

Proponents said the constitution, which was written half a century ago, needs to be “modernized.” Others said dropping the reference to socialism would separate the party from its roots.

The preamble to the current constitution says social, economic and political progress is possible “only by the application of socialist principles” such as state control over the production and distribution of goods and services.

Meanwhile, on the question of whether the NDP would ban a merger with the struggling Liberal party, members like Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer said it would be a “serious tactical mistake.”

He said if the NDP ever hopes to form a government, it will need Liberals to switch sides.

“We don’t get Liberals if we say, ‘Because you’re a Liberal, we no longer have talks with you,”‘ he told The Canadian Press.

World Bank: A New World Order emerging through global wealth redistribution

“In short, a new world order with a more diffused distribution of economic power is emerging–thus the shift toward multi- polarity.”

World Bank: A new world order emerging | May 19, 2011

MANILA:  Emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region would continue to post growth rates that would exceed those of the developed countries, making it possible for the world’s total production being equally divided among the rich and the emerging markets by 2025.

It was among the highlights of the latest report of the World Bank, entitled “Global Development Horizons 2011–Multi-polarity: The New Global Economy”, reports Yonhap news agency Thursday.

The report forecasted that emerging economies could grow by an average of 4.7 percent this year until 2025, while the industrialised nations are only projected to expand by an average of 2.3 percent. Because of this, the developing economies will eventually catch up with the rich nations in terms of contributions to global output, the report added.

“One of the most visible outcomes of this transformation is the rise of a number of dynamic emerging market countries to the helm of the global economy,” the World Bank said.

The World Bank noted that emerging markets now account for two- thirds of the world’s foreign exchange reserves–a reversal of the picture of the previous decade when industrialized countries owned the bulk of the reserves.

China has the biggest share of the global reserves among emerging markets at US$3 trillion.

“In short, a new world order with a more diffused distribution of economic power is emerging–thus the shift toward multi- polarity,” the World Bank report.

The rising role of emerging markets would eventually diminish the primacy of the US dollar in international trade and finance. Eventually, countries would keep almost equal shares of the US dollar, the euro and the renminbi in their foreign exchange reserves, the bank added.

“Over the next decade or so, China’s size and the rapid globalization of its corporations and banks will likely mean a more important role for the renminbi. The most likely global currency scenario in 2025 will be a multi-currency systm centered around the dollar, the euro, and the renminbi,” the report said.

After the worst global financial crisis, which peaked in 2009, industrialised nations like the United States and those in Europe have posted only moderate growths, some of them cannot even be sustained, according to some economic analysts.

The United States is battling with its growing debt. Some members of the European Union are also trying to cope with their debt woes.

On the other hand, emerging economies grew significantly last year and are expected this year to again outperform rich countries in terms of growth rates.

The report highlights the diversity of potential emerging economy growth poles, some of which have relied heavily on exports, such as China and South Korea, and others that put more weight on domestic consumption, such as Brazil and Mexico.

With the emergence of a substantial middle class in developing countries and demographic transitions underway in several major East Asian economies, stronger consumption trends are likely to prevail, which in turn can serve as a source of sustained global growth.

“In many big emerging economies, the growing role of domestic demand is already apparent and outsourcing is already under way.

This is important for the least developed countries, which are often reliant on foreign investors and external demand for their growth,” the bank said.

The Philippine government earlier said that the economy grew by 7.3 percent last year. But President Benigno Aquino III said last Wednesday that after all the data have been gathered by the Department of Finance, the country’s economy actually grew by 7.6 percent in 2010.

Fidel Castro officially hands reins of the Communist Party over to his brother

Fidel Castro, left, raises his brother’s hand, Cuba’s President Raul Castro, center, as they sing the international socialist anthem during the 6th Communist Party Congress in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday April 19, 2011. Raul Castro was named first secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party on Tuesday, with Fidel not included in the leadership for the first time since the party’s creation 46 years ago.

Raúl Castro talked of young leadership but stuck with the old guard Tuesday as Cuba’s Communist Party ended its first Congress in 14 years.

Fidel Castro attends party Congress as old guard remains in place | Apr 19, 2011

By Juan O. Tamayo

An almost ghost-like Fidel Castro attended the closing of a Communist Party conclave Tuesday that marked the formal end of his era and endorsed key economic reforms — but dashed hopes for a younger leadership amid a sea of white hair.

The 84-year-old Castro smiled, clapped and nodded but remained silent as his brother Raúl replaced him as the party’s first secretary and warned that while the reforms are critically needed, they will bring hardships.

While the party’s first Congress in 14 years renovated about half the membership of its ruling Politburo and the broader Central Committee, there was no sign of the generational change in leadership that many Cubans had hoped for.

Replacing the 79-year-old Raúl as second secretary was Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 80 years old and a long-time party functionary. Named as the party’s No. 3 was Ramiro Valdes, a reputed hardliner who is 79 years old.

The new leadership appeared no more likely than the old one to successfully manage tough reforms needed to resuscitate a stagnant economy by allowing more private enterprise and giving more autonomy to state enterprises, among other changes.

But Raúl’s promotion clearly represented the official end of the Fidel Era. The leader of the 1959 revolution surrendered the presidency of the government in 2008 because of ill health, and after Tuesday holds only honorary titles such as comandante.

Tears streamed down the cheeks of delegates to the VI Communist Party Congress as Fidel entered the Havana hall and acknowledged the long applause from a party that he led since its foundation in 1965.

Wearing a blue track suit, he needed help walking and stood but did not join in as the 1,000 delegates closed the Congress by singing the party’s anthem. The Castro brothers then joined hands and raised their arms in a salute to the audience as they walked out.

They left behind a Politburo and Central Committee whose new membership left no doubt that the revolution’s old guard remains in control of the party, which the Cuban Constitution in essence makes more powerful than the government.

Popular blogger Yoani Sanchez took to Twitter as the new leadership was being announced, noting that Machado Ventura’s election “is evidence of the absence of a young relief generation, the failure of the succession.”

The Politburo was cut from 24 to 15 members — average age 68 — including 12 incumbents. The new members include two men in their early 50s who play key roles in the reforms: former Economic Minister Mariano Murillo, promoted last month as the party’s economic “tsar”, and his replacement in the government, Adel Izquierdo Rodriguez. The third was Mercedes Lopez, 45, party chief in Havana province, who replaced another woman.

Half the 12 were generals from the armed forces and Interior Ministry who are known friends of Raúl, who was Defense Minister for 48 years. Havana dissident and former MiG pilot Vladimiro Roca called it “the militarization of the Politburo.”

Raúl Castro also announced that about half of the Central Committee’s 115 members were changed. Twenty one of its members are generals or admirals.

Among the newcomers was his son-in-law, Luis Alberto Rodriguez Lopez-Callejas, who runs the military’s many and rich business enterprises. Not on the list was his son, Col. Alejandro Castro Espin, who serves as his top adviser on national security and heads a powerful anti-corruption unit.

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Peking University to screen students for ‘radical thoughts’

Peking University in Beijing Photo: ALAMY

China’s most prestigious seat of learning, Peking University in Beijing, is planning to screen students for ‘radical thoughts’ in a further sign that China’s authorities are becoming increasingly fearful of dissent.

Telegraph | Mar 28, 2011

By Peter Foster, Beijing

Students at the university – China’s equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge – reacted furiously to the news, saying the policy evoked memories of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) when students and professors were persecuted for being politically unreliable.

University authorities said the screening for “radical thoughts”, which will begin in May, was just one element in a ten-point checklist to help students suffering from a range of problems including “psychological fragility, poverty and internet addiction”.

Cha Jing, deputy head of the university’s student affairs office, told Beijing Evening News that the university was anxious to meet “radical” students who exaggerated minor flaws on campus.

“Some would even criticise the school after canteen food prices rose 20 cents,” he explained.

However students and academics heaped scorn the plans, accusing the authorities of petty-mindedness and trying to curb the supposedly freethinking ethos on which the university was founded in 1898 as part of China’s attempt to modernise.

Yu Jianrong, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and one of China’s leading social commentators, was openly scathing of the campaign.

“I don’t know how Peking University defines ‘radical minded’,” he wrote on his microblog, adding with heavy sarcasm, “May I request that the university [Communist] Party committee publicise the standards so that all colleges around the nation can learn from it.”

Zhang Ming, a politics professor at Beijing’s Renmin University, was even more direct.

“It is going too far for a respected university to openly control radical minds,” he told the South China Morning Post.

“Aren’t we going back to the days of the Cultural Revolution? This is hateful and terrible.”

Peking University has always been a centre of liberal thought in China, spawning the anti-imperialist May 4th movement of 1919 and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 that still haunts the Chinese leadership.

Following a wave of grass-roots revolutions in the Middle East, China’s leaders have shown increasing signs of nervousness, suppressing any threat of a “Jasmine-style” revolution by pressuring lawyers, journalists and academic institutions to “maintain stability”.

In a speech to senior Party leaders last month, China’s president, Hu Jintao, called for a stepping up of “innovative social governance methods”, exhorting officials to seek to try and control online debates and shape “healthy opinions” among the public.

However of more than 2,000 online users who expressed their opinions on one of China’s popular web portals about “radical thoughts” screening at Peking University, the vast majority were indignant.

“How can Peking University, such a prestigious university, be so shameless?”, asked one, while another warned that such schemes would lead to the crushing of the innovation and freethinking that gave Peking University its reputation.

“This will kill freedom of thinking. It will be the darkest moment in Beida [Peking University] history and totally undermine the concept of education.”

German police officers working undercover in other countries as left-wing anarchists | Feb 19, 2011

The German police force has admitted sending undercover officers to other countries, including Scotland, during a parliamentary hearing into the controversial deployment of an undercover British policeman in Germany.

Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that MPs sitting in a confidential meeting of a parliamentary interior affairs committee were told at the end of last month that undercover German police officers were routinely sent abroad to infiltrate suspect groups.

The hearing was prompted by the revelation that British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy had been working in Germany, as well as in other countries, infiltrating environmental and leftist protest groups.

The story caused a scandal as it emerged that he had been undercover for years, posing as an activist called Mark Stone, becoming heavily involved in protests and even pursuing several sexual relationships.

Jörg Zierke, head of Germany’s federal criminal police, told the committee that five undercover German police officers had been sent to the protests at the 2005 G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland.

There they had been under the command of the British National Public Order Intelligence Unit, said Zierke.

Different forces helped each other “accompanying the scene in the relevant countries,” Zierke was quoted as saying in meeting notes which were marked “for official use only.”

Those being watched would include what he called “Euro anarchists, militant left-extremists and terrorists.”

One could only take on organised and conspiratorial international networks when one worked “as internationally and conspiratorially” as they did, he said.

Neo-Nazis and left-wing protesters fill a tense Dresden | Feb 19, 2011

Thousands of anti-fascists and neo-Nazis as well as police officers trying to keep them apart filled Dresden’s city centre on Saturday after organisers of three neo-Nazi demonstrations were given the judicial go-ahead to march.

Up to 6,000 neo-Nazis are expected to take part in the marches through the city, while up to 20,000 anti-Nazi protestors are also expected. Last weekend 17,000 Dresden residents formed a human chain to show their disdain for the far right.

Fighting had already broken out between demonstrators and police by lunchtime on Saturday, with the police using pepper spray and a water cannon. Some witnesses said demonstrators threw fireworks at the police.

A police spokesman said thousands of left-wing anti-fascists were streaming into the city, some of whom could be prepared to use violence.

Politicians attending the anti-Nazi demonstration included Wolfgang Thierse, deputy parliamentary president. “It must proceed absolutely peacefully,” he said, calling for protesters to remain calm.

Thierse, a member of the Social Democratic Party, was joined by Saxony-Anhalt Interior Minister Holger Hövelmann, a party colleague, and fellow Deputy Parliamentary President Katrin Göring Eckardt from the Green Party as well as Left Party member Petra Pau.

Judge: Obama’s Health Overhaul Unconstitutional

US judge says Obama’s entire health plan unconstitutional; case destined for Supreme Court

Associated Press | Jan 31, 2011


PENSACOLA, Fla. – A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that President Barack Obama’s entire health care overhaul law is unconstitutional, placing even noncontroversial provisions under a cloud in a broad challenge that seems certain to be resolved only by the Supreme Court.

Faced with a major legal setback, the White House called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson — in a challenge to the law by 26 of the nation’s 50 states — “a plain case of judicial overreaching.” That echoed language the judge had used to describe the law as an example of Congress overstepping its authority.

The Florida judge’s ruling produced an even split in federal court decisions so far on the health care law, mirroring enduring divisions among the public. Two judges had previously upheld the law, both Democratic appointees. A Republican appointee in Virginia had ruled against it.

The Justice Department quickly announced it would appeal, and administration officials declared that for now the federal government and the states would proceed without interruption to carry out the law. It seemed evident that only the U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a final verdict on Obama’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage.

On Capitol Hill, Republican opponents of the law pledged to redouble pressure for a repeal vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate following House action last month. Nearly all of the states that brought suit in in Vinson’s court have GOP attorneys general or governors.

Vinson ruled against the overhaul on grounds that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring nearly all Americans to carry health insurance, an idea dating back to Republican proposals from the 1990s but now almost universally rejected by conservatives.

His ruling followed the same general reasoning as one last year from the federal judge in Virginia. But where the first judge’s ruling would strike down the insurance requirement and leave the rest of the law in place, Vinson took it much farther, invalidating provisions that range from Medicare discounts for seniors with high prescription costs to a change that allows adult children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ coverage.

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Bank of England chief Mervyn King: standard of living to plunge at fastest rate since 1920s

Households face the most dramatic squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Governor of the Bank of England warned, as he reacted to the shock disclosure that the economy was shrinking again.

Telegraph | Jan 25, 2011

By Robert Winnett

Families will see their disposable income eaten up as they “pay the inevitable price” for the financial crisis, Mervyn King warned.

With wages failing to keep pace with rising inflation, workers’ take- home pay will end the year worth the same as in 2005 — the most prolonged fall in living standards for more than 80 years, he claimed.

Mr King issued the warning in a speech in Newcastle upon Tyne after official figures showed that gross domestic product fell by 0.5 per cent during the final three months last year. The Government blamed the unexpected reduction — the first since the third quarter of 2009 — on the freezing weather that paralysed much of the country last month.

But there were fears that the country was poised to slip back into recession, defined as two successive quarters of negative growth. Economists said the situation was “an absolute disaster”.

The economic gloom deepened this morning as figures showed that mortgage lending by the major banks dived to an 11-and-a-half-year low during December.

Net lending, which strips out redemptions and repayments, fell to £880 million during the month, the lowest level since June 1999, according to the British Bankers’ Association.

Labour has accused ministers of jeopardising recovery by pushing ahead with public spending cuts too quickly.

Mr King said he was unable to offer any imminent hope of a rise in interest rates in coming months because of the poor economic outlook. Savers and “those who behaved prudently” would be among the biggest losers in the squeeze, he admitted.

Disposable household income has been hit by sharp increases in the cost of food, fuel and tax, coupled with restricted wage rises for most workers. Last year, take-home pay fell by about 12 per cent, official figures showed, and the trend was expected to continue in 2011.

The governor warned that the Bank “neither can, nor should try to, prevent the squeeze in living standards”.

He said that the economic figures were a reminder that the recovery will be “choppy”. However, he said the biggest threat facing the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates, was rising inflation.

The Bank is expected to use interest rates to keep inflation below two per cent, but the governor said inflation could rise “to somewhere between four per cent and five per cent over the next few months”.

He claimed that rising inflation had been caused largely by increases in global oil and commodity prices, and tax rises such as the increase in VAT introduced at the beginning of the year, which the Bank was powerless to control.

“In 2011, real wages are likely to be no higher than they were in 2005,” he said. “One has to go back to the 1920s to find a time when real wages fell over a period of six years.

“The squeeze on living standards is the inevitable price to pay for the financial crisis and subsequent rebalancing of the world and UK economies.”

Mr King insisted that the Monetary Policy Committee could not have increased interest rates from their current record low level to tackle the rise in inflation.

“If the MPC had raised the Bank Rate significantly, inflation might well have started to fall back this year, but only because the recovery would have been slower, unemployment higher and average earnings rising even more slowly than now,” he said.

“The erosion of living standards would have been even greater. The idea that the MPC could have preserved living standards, by preventing the rise in inflation without also pushing down earnings growth further, is wishful thinking.”

He added: “Monetary policy cannot be based on wishful thinking. So, unpleasant though it is, the Monetary Policy Committee neither can, nor should try to, prevent the squeeze in living standards, half of which is coming in the form of higher prices and half in earnings rising at a rate lower than normal.”

“The Bank of England cannot prevent the squeeze on real take-home pay that so many families are now beginning to realise is the legacy of the banking crisis and the need to rebalance our economy.”

The comments represented one of the governor’s starkest warnings yet. His claim that the banking crisis was behind the ongoing squeeze on living standards comes at a sensitive time, as banks prepare to announce multi-million pound bonuses for their executives.

Mr King expressed sympathy for savers and highlighted the failure of lenders to pass on cuts in interest rates. “I sympathise completely with savers and those who behaved prudently now find themselves among the biggest losers from this crisis,” he said. “But a return to economic stability from our fragile condition will require careful and well-judged steps looking beyond the next few months.”

Addressing the problems of borrowers, he added: “Households and small businesses with little housing equity may be unable to borrow at all or are able to borrow only in the unsecured market – where rates are much higher than before the crisis.”