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The assault on the poor and disabled

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The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by skwalker1964 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:48 am

First topic message reminder :

I reblogged this post in 'honour' of the Tory party conference and Ivan asked me to post it here, too. You can find the original post complete with links at: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Here are two true stories:

A friend of mine once picked up a hitch-hiker at a motorway service station. The bloke looked a bit down on his luck, so my friend asked what his story was. The guy said he’d been living in service stations, bathing in the shower facilities at lorry-driver stops, for several days as he tried to make his way from one end of the country to the other to where a hotel job was waiting for him if he could get there. He’d lost all his benefits and had no way to get the money to take a train or bus.

My friend gave this man all the money he had in his pocket, which was £60. The man seemed genuinely overwhelmed and grateful, seemingly unable to believe that someone would give him a fairly serious amount of money within minutes of meeting him, on the basis of the story he’d just related.

I asked my friend whether he thought the man had been genuine, or might he have been ripped off? His answer was that his gut instinct was that the man was for real – but that if he wasn’t, he’d rather be conned than be hard-hearted and risk ignoring someone in genuine need.

By contrast, the incredibly rich (some $287 billion in today’s money) industrialist Andrew Carnegie once famously said that it would be better for the world if a rich man threw his millions into the sea rather than give any to the ‘unworthy’. To be fair to Carnegie, he gave away a vast proportion of his wealth – but the rich and privileged have a long history of presuming that, from their pinnacle of wealth and comfort, they are able to decide who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t. The concept of the ‘deserving poor‘, by denoting that some poor are by definition not deserving, has resulted in great suffering while allowing the wealthy to feel satisfied with their lack of concern or action.

The current crop of Tories are truly in line with their predecessors in this regard – except that they’re even worse. Even though they can’t possibly be ignorant of the consequences, they push this line in the most cynical way, with the aim of dividing the British public, fooling the undiscerning into allowing or even approving of policies aimed at stripping the vulnerable of crucial protections. And for the basest of reasons – for short-term political gain (persuading some people that the Tories are ‘at least doing something about something!’), and to release even more public funds that can be channelled into tax-cuts for the already-rich or even greater profits for private corporations.

With their limited moral imagination, the Tories really only know two tactics. Both are calculated to appeal to the baser instincts of the small-minded and thoughtless: fear and vilification. There may be different facets or manifestations – they might try to invoke suspicion, or envy, or to dehumanise or caricature one set of people to get another set to back their policies – but the roots are the same.

I’m working on a post about economic fear and the way that’s fostered by government spokespeople and tame media, but it’s proving to be quite a big project and I’m not going to be online much over the next few days, so it will be a little while in coming. But the other tactic – vilification or demonisation of the vulnerable or resistant – is so plain that this post almost writes itself. Whether explicitly or in the omission, the Tories are at it constantly.

Just in recent weeks, we’ve had:


  • Iain Duncan-Smith accusing Britons of not working hard enough, while bare-facedly distorting figures on fraudulent claims for disability benefit (claiming a 30% fraud rate when in fact it’s bare over one percent) to gain public support for his hateful Welfare Reform Act.


  • A smug Frances Maude announcing that the bottom 10% of civil servants has a year to improve or be fired – conveniently leaving out the fact that if everyone in the civil service was a workaholic genius, there would still be a bottom 10%. Being at the bottom doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or unproductive. He insists that this is not an ‘attack’ on the civil service, even though at the same time he’s making cuts of 25% in civil servant numbers and talking of removing any terms and conditions that are better than those of the private sector that the Tories and their pals have already robbed.


  • Andrew Lansley calling on doctors not to take industrial action and having his department and tame journalists conduct an orchestrated propaganda campaign to persuade the public that doctors are rich, privileged, selfish and uncaring of their patients (‘After all’, he might as well say, ‘we’ve robbed the rest of the public sector, why should doctors be any different?’) This in spite of the fact that the doctors’ pension scheme is not in shortfall and that the Health Secretary, having specifically abdicated his legal responsibility for healthcare provision in his new Health & Social Care Act, is really not entitled to comment one way or the other, let alone to impose new pension terms.


  • David Cameron underlining again that the Tories are on the side of ‘strivers’, thereby saying that they’re not on the side of anyone who can’t strive, or who simply wants to live a decent, balanced life.


  • Iain Duncan-Smith (again!) announcing plans to remove benefits from anyone who dares strike against the removal of pay, pensions, conditions and protection that is now the norm for the treatment of ordinary working people.


  • Claims by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, vocally supported by Housing Minister Grant Shapps and many others, and by the right-wing press, that the UK has 120,000 ‘problem families’ who cause 80% of societal problems, even though not one of the criteria used to decide who is a ‘problem family’ relates to criminality, but instead refer to poverty and physical or mental illness.


  • Endlessly repeated soundbites about ‘benefit scroungers’ to justify capping housing benefit, even though the vast majority of people receiving this benefit are working, but can’t afford outrageous rents.


  • Cameron and others vilifying transport workers for daring to plan industrial action during the Olympic Games money-making exercise, even though industrial action is really their only negotiating weapon and it’s perfectly sensible for them to aim it at the periods when it will be most effective. The Tories really do want a workforce that’s powerless to stand up for itself.


I could go on, but I want to keep this post to a readable length.

The aim of all these policies and pronouncements is very clear: persuading whichever sections of the public that are not affected by a particular measure that those who are affected are not worthy of support, and definitely not worthy of help.

The consequences of these and other Tory measures are not hard to imagine – and they’re already being played out. Disabled, ill or mentally ill people spend their days in fear at the prospect of having their benefits stopped because they’re ludicrously assessed as fit for work, while some even attempt or commit suicide. People are forced to accept part-time ‘work’ that offers few (or even zero!) hours while the government crows that it has reduced unemployment; jobless people are forced to work for free and sleep under bridges by companies who ruthlessly exploit them to maximise profit. And so on.

In this context, it’s patently clear that the Tories’ policies, attitudes, sleaze, self-enrichment and their unholy alliance with powerful corporate and media interests show that they are not fit to judge a vegetable show, let alone judge whether a vulnerable person is ‘worthy’ of help.

Fortunately, we get to choose whether we believe them. To choose whether we agree with the kind of approach to life that says that, while no system is perfect, it’s much better to err on the side of goodness than of suspicion and selfishness, that it’s better to set up or protect systems that protect the genuine many than one which might prevent a very few ‘playing the system’ but that also strands people in genuine need in a situation of despair. We have the privilege of deciding what kind of society we want to be.

From everything I’ve written, you’ll probably have guessed that I absolutely agree with my friend, rather than with Carnegie, about which side it’s better to err on. But Mr Carnegie did say something that I agree with very much:

‘A man who dies rich dies disgraced’

In our current government, and in the people who support and fund them, we have a lot of walking ‘disgraces in the making’. Let’s think for ourselves, see them for what they are, and not make it easy for them to become even bigger disgraces than they already are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:12 pm

My good friend, Doctor Strabismus of Utrecht, commenting upon the current Tory strategy with regard to Welfare provision, thinks it would be different if all Benefits Claimants, by coincidence, had black skin.

The Civilised World would then be united in condemning The British Tory-led Government's Apartheid methods.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by tlttf on Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:38 am

Interesting article.


Benefit Cuts - True or False?
Posted: 02/04/2013 13:16

The government's welfare 'reforms' have just been launched, but they are now combined with a powerful smokescreen of claims that the government is not cutting welfare at all. It's all very confusing.

Unfortunately it is hard to reconcile the claim that benefits are not being cut with the fact that cutting welfare has been central to the government's plans and central to the 'reform' of benefits. In fact the Autumn Statement 2012 set an even more ambitious target for the annual cut in benefits by 2015 - adding a further £4 billion on top of the previous target of £18 billion.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:43 pm

And from the real world --- today I met a woman who is living on £38 per week. She left her family home to rent a bedsit to avoid the 'imaginary' bedroom tax.
She's living on the charity of her adult daughter, because the benefits she gets aren't enough to feed her. This is because she's paying off an overpayment incurred 12 years ago when her son (who has mental health issues) was removed from her care. Nice woman, approaching 50, has brought up two children who are 'strivers' - has health problems that stop her working - in a shitload of debt.
Also met a young minimum-wage employee - lost employment because, due to 'market forces' there's no work for him at present - has been waiting two weeks for his JSA - now at risk of losing his accomodation.
Believe me, benefits are being cut - maybe the weekly amounts on paper don't look so very different so far, but all the 'slack' in the system (budgetting loans, crisis payments, the ability to write off very old debt) has GONE - there is really nothing between people and destitution.
During the recent very severe weather, I did meet people who are sleeping rough (I mean on the streets, not sofa surfing); I do meet people weekly who can't heat their homes, can't pay their rent, can't feed themselves. Today was a good day - didn't have to send anyone to the food bank.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:01 pm

Thanks for the post, boatlady.

You eloquently highlight the effects an uncaring government - and increasingly uncaring public/society is having on some of our fellow citizens.

These are sad, dark times in the UK and I imagine things are going to get worse in the near future. However, it is heartening to know there are people out there, like yourself, who care and have the ability to empathise.

Keep up the good work.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:39 pm

The Merchant of Venice, Act 5, Scene I:

Portia:
"That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:48 pm

The poor will always be with us.

This government will see to that... Shocked
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by tlttf on Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:20 am

Is it just me or does anybody else find it surreal that the main advertiser on a left inclined forum happens to be "Wonga". Do they offer a discounted rate (down to 20005 pa) to labour members?

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:48 am

tlttf. Grow up. This site is owned by a private French company called Forumotion, they just let us use it. The adverts are of their choosing and have nothing to do with the political leanings of this forum. There might well be the same adverts on a gaming forum.

You've been told before about your attempts to deflect threads from their subject. What you wrote above has nothing whatsoever to so with "the assault on the poor". Don't bother to start squealing if you make any more completely irrelevant posts and they disappear without explanation.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:07 pm

tlttf, you must also have seen the adverts featuring lonely ladies "living three miles away from you". Michael Parkinson wants you to take out Life Insurance, and there's probably something for everybody. One can filter-out the banner adverts and get straight to the message content, but perhaps you're easily distracted.

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:46 pm

According to the Guardian, Jobcentre Plus staff are sending people to their local food banks rather than telling them of the option of applying for an STBA.

The situation is so bad that England's eight biggest city councils have sent a joint letter to the Department of Work and Pensions asking why jobcentres are not issuing the loans.

The Guardian has also published an expose of the continuing dishonest misuse of official statistics by government ministers to whip up hatred against sick and disabled claimants.

Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, claimed that 878,000 people on ESA dropped their claims rather than face being assessed. In fact, DWP research shows that the vast majority of these people dropped their claims because they got better or went back to work whether or not they had got better.

These Tory barstewards really are the pits.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:36 pm

The principal Tory fear is that Poverty may be contagious.

Unclean! Unclean!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Sat May 04, 2013 9:30 am

We are persistently told that the problem with our Welfare system is that it has become a 'lifestyle choice' for many and that there are legions of 'long term unemployed'. I don't think this is actually the case......and believe the percentage of 'long term' unemployed is actually low.

However - if the intention of welfare reforms is to discourage welfare as a 'lifestyle choice' there seems to me to be a simple solution:

If after 12 months a person is still unemployed and claiming benefits they will see a 5% reduction to their benefit.

If after a further year they have still not found employment they will see a further 10% reduction to their benefits.

These rules would not apply to those with illness or disability.

I don't believe many would fall victim to these rules as most people are short term claimants in between jobs. However it would act as a spur to find work for those who might think living on the dole is an option. It is a far fairer, and simpler, system than anything IDS is doing......and actually targets those who should be targeted - rather than targeting everybody as IDS's policies do.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat May 04, 2013 11:23 am

A genuine effort to address a perceived problem, Mr Iain Duncan Sickchip, but would those who are seeking to 'play the system' simply find 'work' for a week or two , thereby immediately re-qualifying for the 12-month window...?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Sat May 04, 2013 11:59 am

Phil,

Mr Iain Duncan Sickchip

Aiiiieeeeeeee....ouch! I'm deeply offended. Please don't say that again. Smile


Well - at present if you leave a job of your own accord, or are 'sacked', you are not entitled to benefit anyway.....so the idea of 'playing the system' as you suggest would be pretty difficult. There would also be some details and 'smallprint' associated with my suggestion which would negate such manipulations of 'the system'.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat May 04, 2013 12:07 pm

Damn - I just knew that there would be some means of keeping the likes of me in the poverty to which I have become accustomed... Crying or Very sad
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Sat May 04, 2013 12:13 pm

Very Happy
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Sat May 04, 2013 12:46 pm

I agree with you sickchip regarding "We are persistently told that the problem with our Welfare system is that it has become a 'lifestyle choice' for many and that there are legions of 'long term unemployed'. I don't think this is actually the case......and believe the percentage of 'long term' unemployed is actually low."

However, there are those who do abuse the system whereby your idea of gradually reducing the benefit would not bother them too much as these people who make it bad for the genuine are working on the side as well as claiming the dole.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sat May 04, 2013 1:03 pm

sickchip wrote:-
We are persistently told that the problem with our Welfare system is that it has become a 'lifestyle choice' for many and that there are legions of 'long term unemployed'. I don't think this is actually the case......and believe the percentage of 'long term' unemployed is actually low.
This ‘lifestyle choice’ nonsense is just a lazy soundbite used by right-wingers to justify their attacks on the unemployed. They take great pleasure in throwing tens of thousands of public sector workers out of their jobs, and then they make it out to be all their fault that they’re unemployed.

Money spent on proper help for getting the unemployed back to work is a good investment; getting people working again means they won't claim benefits (unless the wage is very low) and they'll spend and pay tax. We should start on the assumption that the vast majority of people want to work. Job centre staff should be there to help people, not, as at present, to find excuses for stopping benefits in order to meet a target from Iain Duncan Smith. After help has been given in writing or rewriting a CV, if there are no suitable jobs on offer, some training should be encouraged. That doesn’t mean forcing people to stack shelves in Poundland for free, but real training, the acquisition of new skills which will make the unemployed more attractive as potential employees.

You don’t have to “believe” that the percentage of long-term unemployed is low, it’s a fact. Fewer than half of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants take the benefit for more than 13 weeks, and fewer than 10% claim for more than a year – see page 13 of this excellent document:-
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I don’t like your idea of reducing benefits over a period of time, for two reasons. Firstly, it implies that the fact you’re still unemployed must be your fault and you need to be punished. Secondly, where mass unemployment has been created by the closure of a steel works, coal mines or a dockyard, it may take many years for the area to recover sufficiently for work to be available for all those who seek it. Thirdly, when the official unemployment figure is over 2.5 million (even if much of it is temporary), there isn’t by definition enough work for everyone.

I have no doubt that there are a tiny minority of people who don’t want to work. Maybe if after a period of time in which a person has been given retraining, been offered suitable jobs, and if it is the opinion of the job centre staff assigned to help them that they have no intention of going to work, then sanctions could be considered. Perhaps there should then be a hearing before an unemployment tribunal, where the person concerned is warned that they must take up suitable employment if it’s available. But let’s have plenty of carrot before resorting to the stick, most people respond to encouragement.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Sat May 04, 2013 1:22 pm

Ivan,

I think 1yr is ample time for a person to find some form of employment.....and 2yrs certainly is.

A 5% reduction of benefits at 12 months is quite gentle - a further 10% at 24 months would make life on benefits very difficult; but as I said ' It is a far fairer, and simpler, system than anything IDS is doing......and actually targets those who should be targeted - rather than targeting everybody as IDS's policies do.'

You also point out, correctly, that the percentage of long term unemployed is low...........hence my proposal would effect few people - indeed it would only impact on the small percentage of shirkers happy to choose benefits as a lifestyle. It is infinitely fairer than any of IDS's reforms and would be far cheaper, involve less bureaucracy, form filling, etc to implement. The important element is that it doesn't tar all benefit claimants with the same brush as Tory propaganda is at pains to do.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sat May 04, 2013 1:25 pm

Current events suggest that many of the Unemployed could resolve their situation by standing for Parliament (Westminster or Brussels, au choix) under the UKIP banner.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Wed May 08, 2013 3:04 pm

Ivan,

You do understand that my suggestion is intended to replace ALL tory welfare reforms - so housing benefit cuts, bedroom tax, etc would all be scrapped and be returned as they were....also benefits would rise yearly in line with inflation.

The nature of the current employment market means many jobs aren't permanent. There is a fair amount of temporary employment opportunities.....so there is work there. Most of the unemployed are between jobs like this.

The current raft of tory reforms - 'bedroom' tax, housing benefit cuts, council tax contributions from the unemployed is taking far more than 5%, or 10%, out of the unemployed persons pocket - and are far more punitive than my suggestion. Current tory policy also punishes ALL people on benefits - not just the long term claimants.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by tlttf on Wed May 08, 2013 6:38 pm

Much though I sympathise with your thinking sickchip your working from the principle that if a job is available then the majority will go for them, if that was the case then their wouldn't be so many immigrants over here willing to work for minimum wages just to get their foot on the ladder of employment.

I wouldn't raise benefits at a rate higher than workers pay rises are, a high majority of people have had a paydrop/freeze/below inflation for the last few years. This affects the lower paid disproportionately so why should the unemployed get a rise?

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed May 08, 2013 6:48 pm

tlttf. In the meantime, a large number of your Tory friends want to either cut or abolish the minimum wage. Is that your idea of "making work pay"??
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Wed May 08, 2013 7:00 pm

Indeed! And what will happen if we leave the EU?

If we leave the EU employees rights in this country will be non-existent. Working people will have no recourse to legal assistance unless they can pay for it, human rights will be eroded, and we'll become a third world sweatshop with people forced to work for food stamps.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed May 08, 2013 10:46 pm

Tory ideology is all about handouts to the wealthy paid for by the poor:-

Article by Kitty S. Jones:-
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Wed May 08, 2013 11:14 pm

sickchip wrote:Indeed! And what will happen if we leave the EU?

If we leave the EU employees rights in this country will be non-existent. Working people will have no recourse to legal assistance unless they can pay for it, human rights will be eroded, and we'll become a third world sweatshop with people forced to work for food stamps.

A fair description of the circumstances which brought the Trade Union movement into being originally.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Thu May 09, 2013 10:03 am

Ivan wrote:Tory ideology is all about handouts to the wealthy paid for by the poor:-

Article by Kitty S. Jones:-
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The only thing I would say about that is the Labour party had 13yrs in power - what did they do? What happened to benefits as a percentage of average earnings during their tenure?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Thu May 09, 2013 10:19 am

Thirteen years of Labour government have improved the incomes of the poorest households while the richest have suffered large cuts, according to a study by a leading thinktank.

An increase in taxes on the wealthiest households has been matched by an increase in benefits for the poorest, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said following a long-term study of Labour's impact on incomes since 1997.

The poorest 10% of households gained by 13% while at the same time the richest 10% saw their incomes cut by almost 9%. When households earning more than £100,000 were treated as a separate category, the figures showed they faced tax rises that cut their incomes by 15%.

The IFS said the study showed that Labour had used the tax and benefit system to close the income gap.

James Browne, an analyst at the IFS, said the poorest had benefited from steep rises in tax credit payments and the pension credit scheme, which provided a minimum income guarantee for pensioners and a top-up to modest retirement savings by the over-65s.

An overhaul of tax credits in 2003 created a £13bn system of benefits that rewarded families for taking a job and remaining in work.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Thu May 09, 2013 10:37 am

The place to look for reliable data on this topic are the regular publications by the IFS. Reviewing them, these seem to be the key facts.

(1) Inequality increased enormously under the Conservatives. The Gini coefficient, a standard measure of inequality, rose from around 0.25 for income inequality in 1979 to around 0.34 in the early 1990s. In the IFS's words: 'The scale of this rise in inequality has been shown...to be unparalleled both historically and compared with changes taking place at the same time in most other developed countries' (Brewer et al, 2008, p.27).

David Cameron joked about the way Labour refers to the 'wicked Tories'. Well, there's a reason for that. The last time they held power for a significant period of time they produced an 'unparalleled' increase in income inequality.

(2) Yes, inequality has increased under Labour. The Gini rose to 0.35 under Labour's first term, then fell in the second term, back to where it had been in 1996/7 (about 0.33). In Labour's third term, inequality has increased again and is estimated at about 0.36 for 2007/8, higher than at any time since the relevant records began in 1961 (Brewer et al, 2009,


.....new labour v conservatives - spot the difference.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Fri May 17, 2013 10:39 am

Bedroom Tax victim commits suicide: Grandmother Stephanie Bottrill blames government in tragic note
12 May 2013 07:59



Grandmother who had to pay extra £20 a week throws herself in front of motorway lorry


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I suspect this lady is and will be one of many to be forced into suicide by this cruel Tory dominated Coalition.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Fri May 17, 2013 11:52 am

Have you looked at this link? - someone's keeping a record

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Mon May 20, 2013 9:32 am

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I found this piece, about changing social attitudes to poverty, heart breaking and terrifying.
As a nation we are being manipulated into a set of social attitudes that will cause death and suffering for so many.
I'm almost hoping for serious civil unrest - not sure what else will reverse this horrible trend.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Mon May 20, 2013 9:44 am

"I'm almost hoping for serious civil unrest"

This is really what is required, however with an uncaring fickle Joe public it won't happen here in the UK unfortunately Boat Lady.

Since Thatcher's legacy of dog eat dog attitude the care for ones fellow being has dissapeared to a great extent IMO. The Brit will put up with anything so long as it does not affect them personally.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Mon May 20, 2013 3:44 pm

"Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial." Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 1, Stirring stuff and a temptation, faced with this Coalition acting like an Invading Army. But first you have to decide who is going to put the dogs back on the lead, and at what stage. Some of the French think it's still too early to evaluate the 1789 Revolution.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by tlttf on Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:46 pm

Weird world innit?


That's a surprise: gap between Britain's richest and poorest now smallest for a generation

But there's still one of the biggest divides in western Europe between the two
Nigel Morris Author Biography

Deputy Political Editor

Wednesday 10 July 2013

It might not feel like it to millions of families struggling to make ends meet, but the gap between rich and poor has narrowed and is now at its smallest for a generation.

The average household income in Britain has fallen by four per cent - equivalent to £1,200 in real terms - since the economic crisis began in 2007-08.

But the overall figure masks huge variations between different groups. The average income of the wealthiest fifth of households has dropped by 6.8 per cent - equivalent to £4,200 - as middle-class earnings fell.

Over the same period the income of the worst-off fifth increased by 6.9 per cent - equivalent to £700 - because of rises in the income tax threshold and changes to benefit levels, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported today.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:05 pm

tlttf.  Would you care to explain precisely what the agenda is behind your latest non-story? Are you trying to claim that our rancid Tory-dominated government is somehow being ‘fair’, because the average income of the wealthiest 20% - those people who stash their spare cash in off-shore tax havens – has dropped by 6.8%, while 500,000 people are now reliant on food banks and many children in the UK are going to bed hungry?
 
I notice that you conveniently omitted to mention in your latest piece of squalid Tory propaganda that the gap between rich and poor is still one of the biggest in western Europe, and that the “good news” could be short-lived once the impact is felt of new government welfare cuts which came into force three months ago.
 
Back to the drawing board, old chap. You won’t convince anyone here that the Tories (who of course you pretend not to support…lol) are anything other than corrupt, greedy shysters tearing down the fabric of the UK for the sake of themselves, their cronies and their financial backers. Most of this government should be in jail for fraud, and Iain Duncan Smith should be on trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by tlttf on Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:39 am

That's a surprise: gap between Britain's richest and poorest now smallest for a generation

But there's still one of the biggest divides in western Europe between the two
Nige
l Morris Author Biography

Where did I forget that Ivan old chap?

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:13 am

Apologies. Embarassed 
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:13 am

The ONS issue quarterly statements and as we know only too well they are not always correct in their analysis. The Deputy Editor qualified his initial (Tory hand rubbing) statement with this-- Quote "The inequality gap may begin to widen again in the near future because of a new squeeze on welfare. In April the "bedroom tax", under which benefit claimants deemed to have a spare room will lose up to 25 per cent of their housing benefit, came into force. In the same month benefit and tax credit rates rose by a below-inflation one per cent."
 
The very fact that the middle classes have been hit hard assists the myth that the gap has decreased between the rich and the poor. The real fact is that the rich, or should I say the wealthy? have grown richer and richer since 2010 as The ONS themselves had reported some short time ago.
 
Tory ideology is working, transfer of wealth from middle and bottom to the top. I might add the squeeze on the sick and disabled has added to the wealth distribution which is in itself an utter disgrace.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:21 am

In abstract, soaking the Rich to relieve the Poor is what taxation should be all about. A move towards equality in living standards. However, as long as there are International Boundaries, there will be variations in local Tax laws, and the very wealthy will happily use those variations to minimise tax exposure.

That's why some of Britain's Old Money is opposed to the European Union.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:59 am

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Just found this - a small amount of evidence that SOME politicians are noticing what's going on.
Considering emailing my MP to ask why his name isn't on this list - his constituency is, after all, quite a depressed area.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

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