John Clark writes…
First published: May 2014
In the 1970’s I joined the ‘Liberal Party’. The future looked bleak while there were battles between employers and Trade Unions. Mrs Thatcher curbed the power of the Trade Unions. At the same time she gave massive support to Transnational Corporations, the EU, big business, the Bankers, Hedge Fund Managers and any other group that is rich and powerful. The 1970’s conflict has been replaced with something worse.
- Between 1977 and 2007 10% of people in the US took 75% of the growth (the top 1% took 60%). It follows that the ‘squeezed middle’ has become part of the 10%. Britain is following hard on the US heels.
- Wages in the richest countries are growing in real terms between 1 and 2%. Return on capital is growing between 4 and 5%. Those who work for their income are losing out by a factor of three.
- The Sunday Times Rich List states: “The wealth of the thousand richest people in Britain has increased by 15% in the last year”.
- Since 2009 there has been a 7% increase in Growth, while the population has grown by 5%.
- The top rate of tax has been reduced from 50 to 45%’ UKIP and the ConDem government are in favour of this cut. Labour is opposed until the deficit is sorted. The CBI, the Institute of Directors, 24 Captains of Industry writing to the Tory press, senior TV presenters and the rich strongly supported this increase in wealth for themselves. Only those readers on incomes over £3,000/week will gain. The rest of us will be worse off.
These facts and trends conspire to mean that 9 in 10 households are either the same or worse off .
Those with wealth, power and influence don’t believe that that they have yet been greedy enough. The EU and the USA have been negotiating for nearly a year so as to protect business against the people. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is to be discussed in secret for a further 2 years. Elected politicians are not allowed to see the documents. A German MEP has gained access to some information and has ‘blown the whistle’. It is frightening. Chlorine-dipped chicken and hormone treated beef are presently illegal in the UK. Both, along with GM food, will go unlabelled on the shelves. US health companies would have the right to buy and keep swathes of the NHS. Finance (the cause of the present mess), will be less regulated. Companies would be immune against any laws that would reduce their profits.
All this is becoming so severe on most people that even the Establishment is saying “enough is enough”. Andy Haldane from the Bank of England has called for co-operation and not competition. He believes that ethics and fairness are crucial for a successful economy.
Some of the facts above have come from a recent book by Thomas Picketty, a world expert on wealth and Tax. In this tome he questions the long held view that growth helps everyone.
Mainstream politicians seem to be oblivious to the income/wealth crisis that is already with us. They are not promising, let alone doing anything to stop it getting worse. I am glad I joined the Liberal Party – it is one of the few voices against this abuse.