The great wage con is keeping you poor

Is anyone else sick of employers bleating that the minimum wage is hindering their business? They must think we’re all stupid. A few of them were on the BBC’s Any Answers on Saturday, saying the minimum wage keeps pay down, and that people can’t afford to go to work – especially if they live in London – because their housing costs are paid by benefits. This is nonsense. The minimum wage is exactly what it claims to be – a minimum. And if people aren’t getting up to work for…

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The great pensions rip-off

We all know that pensioners have a charmed life under the current government – right? Pensions take up around half the £160 billion social security budget and there are other perks like the cold weather payment during the winter months, free bus passes and free TV licences – right? They get a triple-lock inflation guarantee, under which the state pension rises according to the highest of CPI inflation, the rise in earnings or 2.5 per cent. They get Pension Credit (otherwise known as the Minimum Income Guarantee) to ensure they…

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The future’s terrifying – if the future’s Tory

What does the future have in store for the UK, if the Conservatives win the 2015 election? It seems sensible to conclude my loose series on the current changes to social security benefits – see here, here, here, here and here – by taking a look at what we know they have planned, and what we can reasonably expect from them. Some of this comes from the document ‘2020 Vision’, which has been produced by a group of Conservative Parliamentarians; some is just pushing current activity to a logical conclusion.…

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Bedroom tax will put people on streets while homes go empty

By now you should know that you’ll be in financial trouble from April next year, if you receive housing benefit and the government decides you’ve got one or two too many bedrooms. This applies to people who are working but on low pay, who must therefore claim housing benefit in order to keep a roof over their heads. This means it applies to 93 per cent of people who have claimed housing benefit since the Coalition government came to power (only seven per cent of claimants were unemployed). It applies…

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