Category Archives: Debt

Kwarteng will announce plan to deal with debt on October 31. It won’t work

The grinning Kwarteng: in his next public statement, he’ll announce a plan to deal with the debt he created in his last public statement. Who’s willing to bet he’ll cut your public services to the bone?

Who reckons he’s going to cut public services?

Kwasi Kwarteng, who by some miracle is still Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that he will set out his new (detailed, he says) plan to cut public debt and balance the government’s finances, on October 31. That’s nearly a month before his previously-announced date, November 23.

An independent forecast of how the economy will perform in coming years, by the Office of Budget Responsibility, will be published at the same time, so we will all be able to judge whether his plan is worth the paper it’s written on.

The statement will come days before the Bank of England announces its latest decision on interest rates – on November 3. We’ll definitely know if ‘Queasy’ Kwarteng has got it wrong by then, and if interest rates rise again, it’ll be further evidence.

Today’s announcement is yet another u-turn for Liz Truss’s hapless government; Kwarteng claimed on October 4 that the plan would be announced on November 23, as he had originally stated and that “people have been reading the runes and the pauses”.

It turns out that those people knew more about the future than he did. How normal for a government that simply doesn’t know what it is doing from one day to the next.

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DWP rejects MPs’ plea to pause benefit deductions – hides it behind Queen’s funeral

The Department for Work and Pensions has refused to stop taking money from already-inadequate benefit payments – and has hidden the decision by releasing it while the media were focused on the Queen’s funeral.

MPs on the Commons’ Work and Pensions Select Committee called for the DWP to stop debt repayments being deducted from benefits, back in July.

They said deductions should be restarted only when inflation eased or benefit levels caught up.

It seems DWP chiefs have spent around two months waiting for “a good day to bury bad news”, as the saying goes.

According to Open Democracy,

[MPs] said the debt deductions were causing “hardship” for “households currently struggling with huge financial pressures”, and people needed “breathing space”.

Nearly half (45%) of people on Universal Credit are currently having deductions taken out of their benefits to repay debts, at an average of £62 a month. The debts are typically caused by historic overpayments and other errors, advance payments made during the five-week-wait for Universal Credit, and by arrears on energy costs and other priority bills. Currently the government can deduct up to a quarter of someone’s benefits each month to repay these debts.

MPs heard from charities including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that these deductions were “a key factor in destitution”. The Trussell Trust said the practice was pushing “people into destitution and needing to turn to a food bank”.

Now brace yourself for the DWP’s nonsense justification for putting people into destitution:

the Department for Work and Pensions said it did not believe pausing deductions was “necessarily in the claimant’s best interest”. It said that if that deductions were paused between now and the April 2023 rise, people might then not notice the impact … when it comes … and people might “feel no better off”.

But they’re not going to feel better-off anyway if the whole uplift has to go towards servicing debts that could be avoided if the DWP simply paused these deductions for a while.

The government also rejected MPs’ calls to bring forward the uprating of benefits, currently not due to take effect till April 2023. In April this year, benefits were increased by an inflation rate that was seven months out of date – rising 3.1%, at a point when inflation was already running at 9%.

So already, people on benefits are receiving far less than they should, simply to keep up with inflation.

Claimants are eligible for additional money to help with housing costs – but this is “not intended” to cover the rent fully in many areas, meaning people have to make that shortfall up from their benefits, too. MPs called for the housing element to be increased, as happened during the pandemic, but the government rejected this call, too, citing its work on helping people on benefits save for a deposit to buy a house instead. According to housing charity Shelter, most private tenants have a shortfall, as the maximum amount is set to cover only the lowest 30% of rents in any given area, and there are other exclusions as well.

It should be easy to conclude from this that the Tory “benefit” system is unfit for purpose and the sooner they are taken out of its administration, the better.

And the reason the DWP is refusing to take action to stop people on benefits from falling into debt and destitution should be clear: that is exactly what the Tory system is designed to do.

Source: DWP rejects ‘cost of living’ plea by MPs to pause benefit deductions | openDemocracy

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Cost of living crisis: 10 years of Tory benefit cuts are driving people deeper into debt

Sanction centre: people paying back debts to the benefit system are being penalised for being poor by the current Tory cost of living crisis because their situation forces them into the hands of high-interest doorstep lenders who will make their situation worse. Isn’t the benefit system supposed to keep people out of debt?

It is amazing that this has to be spelt out for people but, with us all having to deal with the Tory squeeze on our incomes, this may have evaded a few people.

The cost of living crisis has hit the poorest people and families worst, with people on benefits suffering the worst after 10 long years of punitive Tory cut after punitive Tory cut.

The Resolution Foundation has already pointed out that the poorest households are facing a higher rate of inflation than richer people.

This is because the rising cost of home services (like energy bills), transportation and food is having a greater effect on people with less income and fewer savings to pay for them; it’s not rocket science.

So the headline inflation rate for the lowest tenth of families is around 10.3 per cent, while it is 8.7 per cent for the richest tenth. This is the greatest disparity since cost of living data began to be collected at the start of this century.

Now the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced a study showing that a decade of social security cuts, underfunding, and punitive government debt collection terms are pushing low-income families – particularly benefit claimants – into financial crisis.

In many situations, people were forced to choose between feeding their loved ones and making their rent payments on time, as described in the study. 2.3 million homes had already gone without both.

Low-income individuals have resorted to borrowing, adding £12.5 billion in new debt in 2022 out of a total of £22 billion. They owe high-cost lenders, such as doorstep lenders and illegal loan sharks, a total of £3.5 billion, which jeopardises their future financial stability.

Families are already having a difficult time making their payments. Since October of last year, total personal debt arrears have more than quadrupled from £1.8 billion to £3.8 billion, and JRF anticipates that these arrears will continue to grow as interest rates rise.

Unsettlingly, the research discovered that the government is making life extremely difficult for people by exploiting the benefits system to collect some debts, sometimes at exorbitant rates. Families receiving assistance without these “debt deductions” suffer less than those who are obliged to have them.

JRF has suggested a simple way to ease the burden on these claimants: allow them to repay their debt more slowly while the cost of living crisis is ongoing, rather than cutting their income by a quarter every month.

And Universal Credit entitlements should increase to ensure that – at a bare minimum – people are able to afford the essentials when they fall on hard times.

This is, of course, entirely logical. The benefit system is intended to ensure that people don’t fall into debt at all – not simply to make them prey to loan sharks at a slower speed.

But we’re seeing no announcements about this from Rishi Sunak or Therese Coffey.

All we’ve had are big headlines about payouts to everybody, including £400 for every house – meaning people who own multiple dwellings receive that amount many times, in comparison with the poor who only have one.

This Site has stated it before: it’s a big subsidy for the rich. And the fact that the poor are being driven to loan sharks makes it all the more obscene.

Source: Tory cost of living crisis made worse by a decade of welfare cuts

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Which is more irresponsible – overspending billions of public pounds or ‘financial repression’?

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

Rishi Sunak has been accused of wasting billions of pounds of public money – your money – because he failed to insure against interest rate rises on government debt.

It means higher than necessary payments on £900bn of reserves created through the quantitative easing (QE) programme, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The loss over the past year is around £11 billion, the think tank estimates.

The Treasury has retaliated by saying NIESR’s proposal would undermine the independence of the Bank of England and be “hugely damaging” to the credibility of how public finances are managed.

Not only that, but there is an argument that, even if the Treasury had been able to predict the rate rise (which is possible), it would have been a potentially expensive bet – taking chances with the system.

Really?

Read the arguments here – if you can make sense of them.

The question for us as laypeople is, what do we think is more irresponsible – damaging the credibility of the public finances by pressuring the Bank of England to take a particular action, or damaging the credibility of the public finances by wasting £11 billion?

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Nazanin’s calm criticism makes nonsense of boasts by Johnson and his government

Home at last: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has, quietly and with dignity, made nonsense of claims by Boris Johnson and his government that they worked tirelessly to free her.

A newspaper reporter on the BBC’s Politics Live tried to say current foreign secretary Liz Truss was to be praised for achieving the release, but we all know her actions were not even slightly motivated by concern for Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Truss paid a £400 million debt the UK owed Iran in the hope that it would win a deal for cheap fossil fuels to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis her government has forced on its fellow citizens.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s calm comments on the way she was mistreated by UK foreign secretaries – including Truss and current prime minister Boris Johnson – should act like daggers in the heart of the Tory government:

Tory voters: take note – if you were in trouble, a Tory government would treat you no better.

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Nazanin could be coming home – but only because Boris Johnson needs Iranian oil

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman may be released at long last – not because of any breakthrough in negotiations over her, but because Boris Johnson has apparently paid a long-standing debt to Iran in order to gain access to cheap oil.

Once again, with Boris Johnson, it seems the right thing has only happened for the wrong reason.

Johnson ruined Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s chance of release from prison in Iran back in 2018 when, as Foreign Secretary, he stupidly said she had done exactly what the Iranian authorities had jailed her for doing – running a course in journalism. In fact she had been visiting her family.

She has spent five and a half years in prison. Her original five year term ended in March last year but she was immediately charged with a further crime of propaganda activities against the government and jailed for another year on April 26, 2021. So her jail term is nearly spent in any case.

Today (March 15), Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP, Tulip Siddiq, tweeted that her constituent’s passport had been returned to her, suggesting that a return to the UK is likely in the near future.

Sadly, it does not seem that this turn of events has been brought about by any change in the prisoner’s circumstances – or indeed, any negotiations on her behalf by the UK government.

It seems to relate to an alleged £400 million debt incurred by the UK government after an order for military equipment was cancelled because of the revolution in Iran in the late 1970s.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard related this to her case some time ago, saying Iran was refusing to release her until the debt was paid.

Now, reports suggest Boris Johnson has paid up – not to free Nazanin, though, but because the Russo-Ukrainian war means he wants access to cheap oil:

That’s a good question to ask Boris Johnson: “Well, is it?

While we wait for his answer, let’s consider some of his remarks about the case today – in the light of the evidence that he has paid off the debt because he wants oil – not Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe (these are from the BBC report).

Boris Johnson said it would not be sensible to comment “until we’ve got a final result” but said “delicate discussions are going on”.

Obviously he’s not even referring to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe but to whether he’ll secure any cheap oil for the UK. That’s the subject of the “delicate discussions”. Otherwise this comment doesn’t make sense.

You can see corroboration of that interpretation here:

Mr Johnson said he did not want to “tempt fate” and said that negotiations about “all our difficult consular cases have been going on for a long time”.

He didn’t want to discuss Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe individually and couldn’t say more than he did, because there was nothing to say.

Then, pressed on Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe individually, he came out with this classic fluff:

The prime minister added: “Everybody wants Nazanin home, we’ve been working on that for a long, long time, I do not want to do anything to interrupt conversations right now.”

This is a stock phrase that you will hear repeated whenever there is nothing new to say on a subject.

It indicates that all the work has been about securing oil – at whatever cost is necessary – and none of it has been about the UK citizen who has been wrongly jailed for nearly six years.

And the fact that Johnson is still groping for credit tells us he is a despicable excuse for a human being.

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Left-wing campaigner rejects Sunak’s energy loan. Will you?

An old friend of This Site has written to Rishi Sunak, turning down the Chancellor’s attempt to foist a £200 loan on him to pay for increased energy bills.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron (remember him from A Letter A Day to Number 10, back when David Cameron was in Downing Street?) said he was perfectly capable of managing his own poverty without having more of it pushed on him.

His letter states: “With regards to the recent news that all customers of energy companies in England will be given a £200 loan from the Government to be repaid over following years.

“I would like to state that I do not want this loan. I have not asked for this loan. I do not wish my energy company to transfer the loan to my account, nor take repayments from my account in the future, and I shall be writing to them to this effect.

“I have several reasons for this decision.

“I do not want any debt imposed upon me that I have not asked or given my consent for.

“It is a certainty that prices will continue to rise, thus creating more hardship which this imposed loan will only exacerbate.

“My chosen route to pay for energy is up front payments via Pay As You Go, I do not consent to any sum of money being added to my account that leaves me in debt for several years. I manage my poverty perfectly well without being indebted by you.

“Your government has a bitter record of forcing us into debt and hardship, whilst throwing billions of pounds at banks and corporations, I want no part of the imposition of this loan on ordinary people.”

These are very good points.

Will you be writing to reject Sunak’s plan to impose debt on you for years to come while enriching the privatised energy giants that a previous Tory government created – many of which are at least partly-owned by foreign governments?

Alternatively, you could report Sunak to the Financial Conduct Authority as he seems to be misrepresenting his squalid little loan as a “rebate” or “discount”:

Or will you just lie back and let him strip you of more self-respect?

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MPs plan to make us spend decades paying the NONEXISTENT cost of Covid-19

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson ordered the Bank of England to create all of the money that has been used to pay the costs associated with Covid-19 in the UK – in the same way that governments create money all the time. There is no debt to pay because the government never borrowed anything.

MPs are trying to fool us into thinking there is a Covid-19-related debt that will need to be paid back. Be warned: they’re lying; there isn’t.

According to the BBC:

Taxpayers will bear the costs of Covid “for decades”… MPs have said.

the PAC [Public Accounts Committee] said the taxpayer would be exposed to “significant financial risks for decades to come” with the estimated cost of the government’s measures having already hit £372bn in May.

UK government debt is now over £2.2 trillion, or about 99.7% of GDP – a rate not seen since the early 1960s. In June alone, debt interest cost £8.7bn.

In one example of future Covid costs, the PAC says taxpayers could be liable for an estimated £26 billion of bad loans, out of a total £92 billion of loans guaranteed by the government.

Shocking numbers, certainly. But here’s the thing: there is no Covid-19 debt.

Here’s Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK to explain:

And here’s my short version:

Any questions?

Source: UK will be paying for Covid for decades, say MPs – BBC News

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Why are people who died after having Covid vaccine excluded from compensation scheme?

Jabber Johnson: if the prime minister had suffered ill effects after having the vaccine, you can be sure the Tories would have rushed to ensure that he received financial compensation. But because only ordinary people have suffered and died, it seems they aren’t interested in compensating bereaved families.

This is shocking:

The families of people who have died after being vaccinated against Covid-19 are being excluded from support schemes because the government has not included their circumstances in the relevant forms.

The Mirror has reported on the case of Stephen Wright, who died of a blood clot on the brain that developed after he had the Oxford/Astrazeneca jab.

There is a compensation process for people whose health is harmed after vaccinations – but it is geared towards children who develop a vaccine-related disability.

A law passed in 1979 says people who suffer harm from vaccines can claim damages from the government of up to £120,000 (£470,000 today, adjusted for inflation). But to do so, victims must prove that they are at least 60 per cent disabled as a result of vaccination.

The form does not allow for the possibility of a vaccinated person dying, and family members are therefore unable to use it to claim compensation.

Mr Wright’s wife Charlotte, having been provided with the form after his death, had to create a box in it to say that he had died.

When the Mirror article was published yesterday, she had not received any confirmation that the form was being processed by the government – or even that it had been received.

This is no way to treat people.

The government knows that people have died as a result of Covid-19 vaccination. News stories on this subject have proliferated over the last few months and 65 other families are known to be in the same situation as Ms Wright.

So why hasn’t the compensation scheme been adjusted to provide help for these people?

Is it further evidence of our Tory government’s utter incompetence – ministers simply never stopped to think that they should make sure compensation would be paid if people died?

Or do they simply not care?

Source: Wife of man who died from AstraZeneca jab is locked out of £470k government support – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Why the UK has NO Covid-19 debt – the short version

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
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If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook