Party Point – December 2012

John Clark writes…

First published: December 2012 – Gazette & Herald

Christmas is a time for giving and helping the less fortunate. That is true for the majority of the population, but not so for our multimillionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is attacking those on benefits. His description of people ‘who leave home every morning to go to work while the neighbours are still in bed’ is designed to fuel antagonism between those in work and the ‘scroungers’. Those in work are encouraged to begrudge benefits and welcome their reduction. The massive weakness in Osborne’s deceit is the facts.

  • Almost 2/3 of benefit claimants are in work
  • More than 9 in 10 of new claimants are employed
  • Many of those who are unemployed have worked for decades and have recently been made redundant
  • Many of those unemployed on benefits have worked to get a job for months, if not over a year – only to be rejected at best, or ignored at worst, scores of times

In the analysis of the impact of the ConDem cuts the biggest impact on household income is on the poorest 10%. The next biggest impact is on the second poorest 10%. This deplorable state continues up the income ladder until almost the top. Only in the top 10% income is there a larger loss (probably due to pension limits). Pension changes do not harm those at the bottom of the ladder; not because they are below the Inland Revenue limits, but because they won’t have a company or personal pension.

The financial crisis was caused by the bankers. Not only do the bankers’ massive bonuses roll on, but the latest budget proposal is to cut Corporation Tax from 22% to 21% – more money for the banks. The ConDems keep cutting the tax for big companies. Why? We are told that companies will go abroad if we don’t have a low rate of tax. Yes please. If Starbucks were replaced by small cafes these little businesses would then pay tax. This tax could be used to benefit us all. Reducing Corporation Tax to the Bankers and Starbucks is like giving the burglar money to take with him when he leaves.

I cannot find anything in either the LibDem 2010 election manifesto or the Coalition agreement saying “Tax is to be cut for large Companies and millionaires while benefits are to be cut for working people.” It is probably no coincidence that this week the Office for National Statistics said the number of homeless has increased by 50% during the last 12 months from 1,340 to 2,020. The LibDems had promised to remove Child Poverty by 2020. Cuts in the Autumn Statement move this possibility even further away.

Britain is the 6th wealthiest country in the world. It is totally unacceptable in the 21st century for us to have:

  • an increasing wealth gap between the rich and the poor
  • an increase in ‘food banks’ the equivalent of soup kitchens
  • an increasing number of children in poverty
  • a reduction in benefits

Tories are taking society back a hundred years. LibDems must stop keeping them in power. British people will not forgive. A merry Christmas to everyone.

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