Across the UK, firms of all sizes – ranging from huge multinationals right down to the smallest traders – take advantage of the taxpayer-funded benefit system that supports people who earn less than the Living Wage (the minimum amount necessary for a working person to be able to pay their own way).
Osborne would have you believe this is good for Britain; more firms are employing more people – and that’s got to be good, right?
Wrong. More people may be employed, but on increasingly less money, meaning the burden on the taxpayer is increasing all the time.
But the taxpayer has increasingly less money to give to the Treasury, meaning that – instead of saving the economy – Osborne has put us into a vicious spiral of diminishing returns.
That’s what you get when you ask a towel-folder to do a real job!
It would be far better to demand that businesses pay the Living Wage. It isn’t an impossible dream – only a few decades ago, it was possible for one parent to earn enough to house and feed an entire family. Why doesn’t this happen anymore?
There is, in fact, no reason for it to have stopped.
The only conclusion we can reach is that the Tory government is using the system to leach money into the pockets of wealthy businesspeople. By pushing benefit payments so low that the unemployed and low-paid struggle to support themselves, they have made it possible for employers to pay less and pocket more.
That is why the names on the Sunday Times Roll Call of Shame (otherwise known as the Rich List) are so much richer this year than they were before the Tories weren’t elected.
The answer is simple: Compel businesses to pay the Living Wage.
Oh, but you think that will be bad for business too, do you?
Mr Osborne would tell you so, would he?
How odd – because this would be no different from a policy his government has been happily forcing on benefit claimants since 2010.
You see, as stated above, the policy has been to make living on benefits extremely difficult in order to force people to seek employment. This in turn allows firms to depress wages because they can tell the workforce there are plenty of other people waiting to take their places.
Only today, on this blog, we were discussing Tory David Willetts’ plan to cut Disabled Student Allowance. He wants us to believe that this will get students with disabilities to work harder, rather than expecting the taxpayer to lay everything at their feet; in fact, he is taking away their lifeline and leaving them to starve.
But the argument works just as well with employers. Any government with the guts to tell them that the crutch of in-work benefits is being removed and they will have to pay the difference is sending out the same message to employers as they did to benefit claimants: You’ve had it easy for too long. Now it’s time for you to earn your keep.
Some firms will go under. Unlike the disabled people being victimised by David Willetts (et al), we should shed no tears for them; they weren’t helping the economy.
More will pay up – finding new markets to fund the extra expenditure. These are the businesses that will build the real economic recovery.
Labour is one of only a few political organisations that support the Living Wage, and therefore the only mass-appeal political party that would have a genuinely beneficial effect on the economy.
Oh, but I forgot.
You were listening to George Osborne.
And he says Labour is bad for business.
But then – he’s no economist.
He’s a towel-folder.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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