The coronavirus crisis isn’t all bad news, it seems:
The Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP (pictured below), has today confirmed that disability benefit awards have been automatically extended by six months for claimants due to be reassessed within the next three months.
PIP (Personal Independence Payment) reassessments are notoriously harsh on claimants because these are people with serious conditions who find the demands of the assessments extremely difficult.
So this is good – if it’s true.
Tory government promises haven’t been wonderfully reliable so far.
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.
The Guardian has announced that he has been trying to mislead the public on the proportion of his planned austerity-led spending cuts that he has already enacted, in order to make it seem that the worst is over.
The newspaper put it a little more diplomatically than that, saying he “got his sums wrong” (and this is the party that most people trust to look after the economy? People are strange) – but we know that Cameron is perfectly aware of where his cuts programme stands and what it is doing, don’t we?
The report has it that Cameron reckons he’ll have imposed four-fifths of the cuts on us by the general election – but the Institute for Fiscal Studies, having examined the figures, said he has not imposed even half of what he has planned.
Cameron said he’ll have made £100 billion worth of “savings” – the IFS says this is hugely inaccurate, and it is more likely that just £23 billion has been cut.
More interestingly, Cameron said the next Parliament (if the Tories are elected) will see a further £25 billion of “savings”. In fact, according to the IFS, he means a further £28 billion of cuts.
Let’s pause for a moment to get our terminology right. Cameron wants us to think he is making “savings” because that implies that services are unaffected – but we know that this is not true. The more accurate description is “cuts”, because he is reducing the services provided using taxpayers’ money wherever he can. Look at your local council and the cuts it is making; those are being dictated by David Cameron. Look at the restrictions that have been imposed on taxpayer-funded social security benefits – both in terms of eligibility and the amount being provided; they are also being dictated by Cameron. He is cutting – not saving.
Now consider the drastic effects of the cuts that have been imposed so far – the way social housing tenants have been terrorised with the Bedroom Tax; the persecution of the physically and mentally ill with the humiliating work capability assessment; the humbling of the English health service that has fallen from its highest satisfaction ratings ever to closed Accident & Emergency departments, inaccessible GPs and faceless Clinical Commissioning Groups who refuse to fund basic medicines for patients.
Tens of thousands of people are dead now, who would have been alive if David Cameron had never become prime minister.
And he wants to increase the agony by more than double.
Oh, but look – here’s why it’s all right: He has cut income tax by £10.5 billion! So we’re all better-off, then. Right?
Wrong. The national debt has nearly doubled since Cameron came to office and the deficit is rising, due to the Tories’ incompetent mishandling of the economy.
Most people are £1,600 worse-off per year. It is only the very rich who are better-off. Their incomes have doubled since Cameron came to office. Does anybody remember him saying he would spread the burden of austerity equally? Another lie.
If you take the average income as £26,000, then £1,600 is around 6.1 per cent of it. That’s what we have lost, every year, on average. The richest one per cent of the population has enjoyed an income increase of 50 per cent.
To my way of thinking, that means these people owe the UK 56.1 per cent of their incomes over the past five years, to bring them into line with the rest of us.
Is Cameron going to make them pay? The proposition seems doubtful. Is he going to make up the shortfall from his own fortune, then?
As British citizens, we are owed that money. It won’t bring back the dead, but it might help stop any more money-driven fatalities.
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