There can be no doubt any more: From Margaret Thatcher onwards, the Conservative Party has deliberately worked to plunge most of the UK into poverty.
The Jobs, Welfare and Austerity report links very well with a paper published a couple of years ago, The Impact of Thatcherism on Health and Well-Being in Britain, published by Durham University, stated that Margaret Thatcher, along with other leading Tory neoliberals of the 1970s like Keith Joseph and Nicholas Ridley, decided that they needed to end full employment.
The paper states: “In the years between 1975 and 1979, those around Thatcher—in particular, Keith Joseph and Nicholas Ridley—developed detailed proposals for government. Their view was that defeat of the movement that had forced Heath’s U-turn [from neoliberalism to Keynesianism – it prompted the famous statement, “The lady’s not for turning”] would require, not simply the disengagement of the state from industry, but the substantial destruction of Britain’s remaining industrial base.
“The full employment that had been sustained across most of the post-war period was seen, together with the broader security offered by the welfare state, to be at the root of an unprecedented self-confidence among working-class communities.
“In particular, large-scale manufacturing and extraction industries, generally strongly unionized and often linked to the large-scale provision of social housing at subsidized rents by local government, were seen to underpin a working-class solidarity that gave this confidence a potent political expression.”
So they killed those industries, ended full employment and parked millions of people on incapacity (now sickness and/or disability benefits). Here’s the proof of that claim:
You see, when Tories say Labour is responsible for the high number of sickness and/or disability benefit claimants, they are lying.
Marry this information with the new data from Sheffield Hallam University and you can see that the Conservative Party has deliberately de-industrialised the UK – in order to ensure a high rate of unemployment – and is now deliberately cutting off access to benefit payments – in order to render working-class people destitute.
They knew the result would be a high budget deficit; this was to be used as an excuse for the cuts that would plunge working-class people into poverty.
Make no mistake: This was a deliberate, pre-meditated plan, and anybody who voted ‘Conservative’ between 1979 and 2015 has actively supported it, whether they were aware of it or not.
The enduring impact of closing factories and shutting coalmines in the 1980s has been revealed in new research showing that the drain on the exchequer from former industrial areas is responsible for up to half the government’s £55bn budget deficit.
In the first comprehensive analysis of the cost to the state of the de-industrialisation that began three decades ago, Sheffield Hallam University said the annual bill was at least £20bn and was perhaps as high as £30bn.
The report found that the cumulative legacy of the hollowing-out of manufacturing and the year-long miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a far heavier concentration of people claiming incapacity benefits than in the richer parts of Britain and a more widespread use of tax credits to top up the wages of those in low-paid jobs.
The report’s co-author, Prof Steve Fothergill, said: “The long-term effect of job destruction in older industrial Britain has been to park vast numbers out of the labour market on incapacity benefits, these days employment and support allowance (ESA). The cost to the Treasury is immense, especially if all the top-up benefits are included.
“Added to this, low wages in these weaker local economies have jacked up spending on in-work benefits such as tax credits and reduced income tax revenue. None of these impacts have diminished over the years, despite the recent upturn and efforts to cut claimant numbers.
“We estimate that the ongoing cost to the exchequer, in extra benefit spending and lost tax revenue, is at least £20bn a year, and possibly nearer £30bn. To put this another way, approaching half the current budget deficit is the result of job destruction in Britain’s older industrial areas.”
The report – Jobs, Welfare and Austerity – said there was a continuous thread linking what happened to British industry in the 1980s to the welfare cuts being borne by communities in the north, Scotland and Wales today.
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