Tag Archives: IFS

Coronavirus-prompted benefit boost won’t help families who are crushed by the Cap

We all thought it was so wonderful when Boris Johnson and his pals told us they were making the benefit system more generous because of the coronavirus.

It turns out the generosity went a very short distance.

For example, the 76,000 families who are subject to the Benefit Cap won’t get a penny more than £20,000 a year (if they’re outside Greater London) or £23,000 a year (if they’re within that boundary.

The Benefit Cap hasn’t been lifted, you see.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has raised this with the government, as reported by Rightsnet:

the IFS says that, due to the current benefit cap, some families are not reached by the temporary increase in the safety net, including most of the 76,000 families already subject to the cap, and those people who have moved from work without having been continuously employed for 12 months prior to that (and who therefore don’t qualify for a 39-week exemption from the cap).

Commenting on the issue, IFS deputy Director Robert Joyce said –

‘The government has implemented a substantial temporary increase in the generosity of the welfare safety net. But the overall cap on how much a working-age family can receive in benefits will mean that those increases will not benefit most of the around 76,000 families who were already capped on the eve of the crisis, as well as a small fraction of the large number who appear to have lost employment during the crisis. At the present time encouraging families to move into paid work, or to cheaper housing, is less of a priority. The government should therefore temporarily raise or remove the cap.’

For more information, see If the cap doesn’t fit? from ifs.org.uk

Will the government accede to the request? Don’t you believe it!

Source: Government should temporarily raise or remove the benefit cap, says Institute for Fiscal Studies – Rightsnet

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Tax and spend pledges show neither Johnson nor Hunt can be trusted with our money

Johnson and Hunt: I wanted to use the image someone mocked up of them as ‘Dumb and Dumber’ but I couldn’t find it.

Has the Tory leadership election degenerated into a contest about who can lie the most blatantly and get away with it?

If their tax-and-spend pledges are any yardstick, it has.

Jeremy Hunt wants to spend £20 billion from Brexit “war chest” that will only exist if the UK manages an exit deal with the EU – and that would only be available for a year. That’s not enough for permanent changes.

And Boris Johnson promised public sector pay rises that were coming anyway as the years-long Tory-imposed pay freeze finally comes to an end.

According to Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, both candidates were really saying that they are willing to borrow more money.

This means they are happy to continue racking up the highest national debt in the UK’s history – something for which the Conservatives used to blame Labour at every opportunity.

Labour, meanwhile, is having a great time mocking both candidates’ “reckless spending commitments”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party went to great lengths to disprove claims that its own spending plans were unfunded during the 2017 election campaign, when Theresa May proved unable to do the same.

Now it seems both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt are unable to do their maths.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been accused of misleading the public with “extraordinary” tax-and-spending pledges, as leading economists and senior Tories unite in criticism.

The two Tory leadership candidates came under fire after Mr Hunt unveiled a no-deal Brexit spending splurge worth almost £20bn – while a Johnson ally promised big public sector pay rises if the favourite wins.

The spending race provoked alarm from Conservatives, including Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and the former leadership contender Rory Stewart, who warned that such promises would make it impossible to attack Jeremy Corbyn for his “unfunded” pledges.

The head of the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) went further, saying the two candidates were misleading voters in claiming they could dip into a £27bn “war chest”.

Paul Johnson pointed out it was a figure for one year only, so could not be used for permanent tax-and-spending changes – and it would not be available at all if the UK crashes out of the EU.

“There have been some extraordinary pledges – they add up into the tens of billions of pounds,” the IFS director said.

“They claim, somehow, that these will be paid for from this so-called Brexit war chest. Well, they are not going to be.

“First, that is only available in the event of no deal not happening. And, in any case, what they are just saying is they are willing to borrow more.”

Mr Hunt, as he set a new deadline of 30 September for a no deal becoming inevitable, pledged £6bn to compensate some industries from tariffs – claiming £1 trillion had been spent to bail out the banks.

But Mr Johnson said: “It is simply not true that, in any real sense, we spent £1 trillion bailing out the banks in the same way that he’s referring to potentially finding £6bn for the farmers and fishermen.”

And, on public-sector pay, he pointed out the freeze was over anyway – arguing the cash now being spent would be in jeopardy from a no-deal Brexit because “the economy will grow less quickly”.

Source: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt accused of duping the public with ‘extraordinary’ tax-and-spending pledges | The Independent

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The Tories could end austerity now – but you can bet they’ll use Brexit fears as an excuse not to

“End austerity? Me? But Brexit!” That’s what Philip Hammond would say.

The Conservative government could use £15 billion to end austerity policies after a surprise boost to the public finances – but you’d be a fool to think that will happen.

That’s the view of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, whose director Paul Johnson urged Philip Hammond to make good on the promises the Tories have been making for the past few months.

You see, it’s all very well saying austerity is over, but if the services the Tories have destroyed haven’t been restored, then it isn’t.

But even Mr Johnson admitted the Tories would be in a better position to boost public services if not for uncertainty over Brexit.

“There is a consensus that the economy would have been about 2 per cent bigger had the Brexit vote not occurred,” he said.

“In those circumstances the deficit would have been smaller still and the fiscal room for manoeuvre greater. The end of austerity could already have been rather more decisively with us.”

The IFS warned that the chancellor’s Spring Statement deferred crucial spending decisions in areas such as social care, public service funding and benefits which will put him under pressure to raise taxes further down the line.

The Treasury said on Wednesday that the “headroom” built up by the chancellor could go towards government priorities such as keeping tax low, reducing debt, public service spending and capital investment, so long as it is not soaked up coping with a no-deal Brexit.

Of course we should remember that George Osborne (remember him?) said on becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2010 that the public finances would be restored to health by 2015 – nearly four years ago.

We may reasonably conclude only one thing:

Tories will use any excuse to continue squeezing public spending – they’ve used a fictitious crisis in the public finances; they’re currently using Brexit. It will be something else in the future.

Source: Government has enough money to end austerity if it wants to, IFS report concludes | The Independent


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Voting with the Tories on ‘welfare’ will end any credibility Labour has left

George Osborne is a liar, from a party of liars - one only has to consider the UK's secret bombing of Syria - after Parliament voted against it - to see the truth in that.

George Osborne is a liar, from a party of liars – one only has to consider the UK’s secret bombing of Syria – after Parliament voted against it – to see the truth in that.

What an amazing piece in The Guardian about George Osborne’s call for “progressive” Labour MPs to support his entirely regressive changes to social security (the only people who call it “welfare” are Tories)!

Will people believe this pack of lies?

The article starts by saying he has urged “progressive” MPs in the Labour party to back his cuts in a major Commons vote today (Monday) on the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

He wants Labour MPs – but more importantly, the electorate, to think that the plan to cut child tax credits (among other measures) is what the public wants, and also builds on “mainstream Labour thinking”.

This is moonshine.

Labour believes that the profits of all our work should be shared out to ensure a decent standard of living for everybody, including those who cannot work but contribute to society in other ways. For example, if you have children, then you get child tax credits because their contribution to society has yet to be made.

Removing the tax credits and lowering the standard of living – as the Conservative chancellor’s plans would do to many people – is therefore the opposite of “mainstream Labour thinking”.

Osborne also calls on Labour to “stop blaming the public for its defeat”. This is typical Tory gaslighting. As a party, Labour has not blamed the public. The prevailing mood in the party is that Labour needs to draw the correct conclusions from the election result and create policies that acknowledge what the public wants, while fitting Labour values.

That’s real Labour values – not George Osborne’s fantasy.

You can tell that Labour isn’t doing as Osborne claims. Nowhere in the Guardian article is any factual evidence provided to show Labour has blamed the electorate for its defeat. Harriet Harman is paraphrased as having said the party needed to recognise that the electorate had sent Labour a message – which is quite the opposite.

Osborne also fails to support his claim that the majority of the electorate support his cuts. The majority of the electorate voted against the Conservative Party on May 7, with the Tories managing to gain only a 24.3 per cent share of the possible vote and a tiny 12-seat advantage in Parliament. That does not indicate majority support for the cuts programme.

The article states: “Osborne sprung a surprise in the budget by proposing cuts to the level of tax credits, but balanced these in part by a rise in the minimum wage to more than £9 an hour by 2020 for those over 25.” Notice that the tax credit cut is immediate, but the minimum wage will only rise to more than £9 per hour in five years’ time. How are people supposed to survive in the years between?

Also, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the cut in tax credits, along with the other cuts that ‘Slasher’ Osborne wants to make, will remove £12 billion from the economy – but the minimum wage rise – when it finally happens – will only add £4 billion.

So the Conservatives want Labour to support an £8 billion cut in living standards for the people who can least accommodate it.

Osborne’s argument that the responsibility for ensuring decent living standards should be rebalanced, from the state handing out subsidies towards employers providing decent wages, falls because he has no intention of making employers pay decent wages.

Osborne also writes: “Three in four people – and a majority of Labour voters – think that Britain spends too much on welfare.”

Are these the same people who think 41 per cent of the entire social security budget goes on unemployment benefits, when the actual proportion is just three per cent?

Are these the same people who think 27 per cent of the entire social security budget is claimed fraudulently, when the actual proportion is just 0.7 per cent?

Are these the people who believe George Osborne’s lies, and the lies of the Conservative Government?

In case anybody is wondering, the figures quoted above are from a TUC poll that was carried out a couple of years ago. It seems that, with the help of compliant media (such as The Guardian?) the Conservatives have succeeded in continuing to mislead the general public.

Osborne continued: “For our social contract to work, we need to retain the consent of the taxpayer, not just the welfare recipient.”

People receiving social security payments are also taxpayers; indirect taxation accounts for around three-quarters of the taxes received by the UK Treasury from the 20 per cent of people in the lowest income group.

The lies keep coming: “For those that can work, I believe it is better to earn a higher income from your work than receive a higher income from welfare.” If this was true, then he would have forced the minimum wage up to a point at which people would no longer need to claim tax credits in order to receive the same amount. He didn’t; he lied.

Osborne goes on to praise interim Labour leader Harriet Harman for capitulating to the Conservatives over child tax credits. There is only one reason he would do this – to undermine support for the Labour Party by suggesting that it really is ‘Tory-Lite’. Shame on Ms Harman for allowing this to happen!

His claim, “She recognised that oppositions only advance when they … recognise that some of the arguments made by political opponents should be listened to,” would be reasonable if the argument for cutting tax credits was sound, but it isn’t – people will be worse-off in this instance. If people were to become better-off afterwards, he might have a point. As it is, it is drivel.

His very next point confirms this: “A previous Conservative opposition realised [this] 15 years ago when it accepted the case for a minimum wage.” The Conservative Party only accepted this case in 2008, under David Cameron – a Tory leader who, when campaigning unsuccessfully for the Stafford constituency seat in 1996, had said it would “send unemployment straight back up” (The Chronicle (Stafford), February 21 1996). Even now, many Tory supporters despise the minimum wage.

Osborne ended with an appeal for “moderate” Labour MPs to vote with his party.

That would be the end of any credibility Labour has remaining, as a party of Opposition.

According to The Guardian, Osborne said: “The proposals are part of a common endeavour by Labour and the Conservatives to implement difficult welfare reforms.” Again, he is trying to make the public think Labour and the Tories are the same. Labour MPs would have to be complete idiots to help him.

Some of the complete idiots in Labour who have already helped him are, according to Osborne, “New Labour work and pensions secretaries such as John Hutton, David Blunkett and James Purnell [who] all tried to reform the welfare system… Alistair Darling [who] says tax credits are ‘subsidising lower wages in a way that was never intended’ [and] Frank Field… [who] agrees the system as it stands is simply ‘not sustainable’ and the budget represents a ‘game-changer’.”

Wouldn’t social security be a little more sustainable if George Osborne spent less time obsessing about wringing more money from those who can least afford to lose it, and more time getting his extremely rich corporate friend to pay up more of the £120 billion a year they are believed to owe in unpaid taxes?

Why isn’t Labour making this point, whenever Tories like Osborne start bleating that anything is “unsustainable”?

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Graph shows how Osborne’s ‘One Nation’ budget attacks the poor

150711budgetimpact

George Osborne’s claim that a boost to incomes from his National Living Wage would leave ordinary families with a higher standard of living is bunk, according to the i paper and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The IFS said the budget would make the poorest 10 per cent of families about £800 a year worse off by 2019, while the next-poorest 10 per cent would suffer a greater loss as their annual incomes were slashed by £1,100.

The regressive nature of Osborne’s changes is revealed by the fact that the richest 10 per cent of families will see their incomes fall by only £350 a year, while the second-richest 10 per cent will lose virtually nothing.

“Child poverty is expected to shoot up and the majority of losers from the squeeze on tax credits will be people in work,” the newspaper stated.

And IFS director Paul Johnson pointed out that the £4 billion aggregate increase in employment income from Osborne’s £9-per-hour Living Wage would not compensate for the £12 billion cut in social security. Both are to be in place by 2020.

Osborne’s budget is more like Pandora’s Box – the more we see of it, the worse the evil that comes out of it.

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Cameron’s Conservatives welcome increased poverty in the UK

130617childpoverty

If David Cameron wants to tell us the current definition of child poverty is a bad one, he’s probably right. The problem is, his preferred changes to that definition will probably be worse.

Poverty is currently defined according to whether a household’s income is less than 60 per cent of the national average. So during a recession, when most incomes (apart from those of the very rich) drop, poverty actually appears to decrease.

Now, despite there having been no appreciable rise in incomes across the board, the Institute for Fiscal Studies is forecasting a rise in child poverty from 2.3 million to 2.5 million – that’s 200,000 more children in poverty, as it is currently measured.

For David Cameron, this is a disaster because it shows that – even with the help of the silly sliding-scale definition of poverty, his government is worsening the situation for children across the UK. What an evil man. What an evil government.

His solution, it seems, is to revive plans to change the way child poverty is defined, to ensure that all those children who have fallen on hard times since he came into office (in 2010, not this year – we, at least, can be honest about the effect he is having) may be dismissed from the poverty figures even if they don’t have food to eat or clothes to wear.

The thought of taking action to stop children falling into poverty probably hasn’t even occurred to David Cameron.

It seems he discussed the matter on Tuesday morning with Nicky Morgan, our dunce of an education secretary, Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister they keep in a back room in case he frightens children, and Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary who models his behaviour on the Nazis – any of his solutions are likely to be final.

(In fact, the £12 billion cuts being planned for the Gentleman Ranker’s welfare budget are likely to be fatal to a huge number of people in any case.)

The Guardian‘s report on this points out that “a little-noticed line in the Conservative party’s general election manifesto said the government would “work to eliminate child poverty and introduce better measures to drive real change in children’s lives, by recognising the root causes of poverty: entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, problem debt, and drug and alcohol dependency”.

So the manifesto plan is: Blame the parents.

What are they going to do, then – sanction them (take money away)?

Already popular organisations are starting to line up against the government. Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group took an early shot at Cameron’s claim to be running a ‘One Nation’ government (a slogan he stole back from Labour after the general election).

“You can’t have one nation if children’s lives, opportunities and life chances at every turn are shaped and limited by poverty,” she said. “The government’s child poverty approach is failing but the prime minister’s speech [on Monday] simply missed the point and failed to set out what his government will do to prevent his legacy being the largest rise in child poverty in a generation.

“It is no good pulling bodies out of the river, without going upstream to see who is throwing them in – especially, if turns out the culprit is government policy. The right choices that would reduce poverty include protecting children’s benefits with the same triple-lock protection pensions enjoy, fixing the deep cuts to tax credit help for the low-paid, tackling cripplingly high rents, high childcare costs and expanding free school meals.”

These things will not happen under a Conservative government. There’s no profit in it for them because children – unlike pensioners, for example – don’t vote.

So, in simple terms, this is the situation:

Child poverty is rising.

The Conservative Party intends to pretend that it isn’t happening by fudging a new definition of poverty.

The Conservative Party will do nothing to tackle the real causes.

What conclusion can we reach?

The Conservative Government welcomes increased poverty in the UK.

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Advance warning: Here’s what Cameron will be saying in the leader debate

150402torydebatepoints

Vox Political is grateful to the spy who provided the above information on Cameron’s talking-points for the televised leader debate this evening.

From 8pm, he’ll be trying to present these as facts – but are they? Let’s see:

Firstly, governments don’t create jobs. Ideally, they create the conditions in which employers create jobs and in that respect, Cameron’s effort has been lousy. We have 800,000 more zero-hours jobs than in 2010 – a total of 1,800,000 people with no job security, who cannot claim holiday pay or sick pay. That’s brilliant for employers like Duncan Bannatyne and the other goons who put their name to CCHQ’s letter in yesterday’s Torygraph – and a living hell for you.

Next, the claim that the deficit has been halved was only ever accurate as a percentage of GDP, which has been increasing through no design of the Conservative Party’s. It seems our economy hit its lowest point somewhere in 2013 and then started bouncing back in the right direction of its own accord. That’s what the economic cycle does, you see. So what happens if we hit another downturn? Well, then the deficit grows and the claim that it has been halved can no longer be made. In numerical terms, it hasn’t happened at all; George Osborne inherited a deficit of around £130-140 billion and cut it to around £90-100 billion.

Capping benefits is no way to ensure that work always pays. Increasing wages is the way to do that. Cutting income tax helps the rich more than the poor. Tories don’t like you to think about that, though – they want you to concentrate on the slight improvement to your pittance.

The claim that Labour will create more taxes and more debt has been debunked – comprehensively and in a most damning fashion – by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It is foolish nonsense. And why is Cameron keen to talk about Labour’s plans? Is it because he refuses to explain where the Conservatives will make £12 billion in cuts to benefit payments?

The claim that Labour will ally with the SNP is a dream shared by David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon. Labour currently has no intention of making any such alliance. Why is David Cameron keen to discuss what Labour will do in a Hung Parliament, rather than what the Conservatives will do? The polls currently indicate he has no hope of achieving a Parliamentary majority and this writer would rather know how David Cameron intends to stay in office – not how he thinks Ed Miliband would take over.

Finally, the question of a referendum on membership of the European Union is a non-starter with most of the electorate. UKIP has made a lot of noise, but less than one-fifth of the voting public want anything to do with that party. Cameron wants a referendum because it will keep the Eurosceptics in his own party quiet – that’s all. It’s nothing to do with what you want.

And that’s all he has to offer today. Not a lot, is it?

Let’s see how many he manages to mention – and how the others shoot him down.

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Tories put Labour’s cart before their horse in budget row

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell us where he'll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn't want you to know and can't be bothered to tell you.

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell you where he’ll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn’t want you to know and can’t be bothered to tell you.

This writer is a big fan of The Critique Archives. Martin Odoni has no problem saying what he means and backing it up with facts – and the latest piece, In a democratic process you are supposed to tell us what your own damned budgets are before you insult someone else’s, is a prime example.

“Well, that was a blundering start to the Election campaign, even by the standards of the modern Conservative Party,” he writes.

“According to [Iain] Duncan Smith, the Conservatives have not yet made decisions on exactly how they are going to make the pledged cuts of twelve billion pounds to public spending, even though they announced them well over a year ago. They just have a nice, juicy-sounding target-figure to aim at, without even calculating whether it is a suitable target, and they are going to work out a budget to reach it ‘after-the-fact’? However, they have managed to calculate a budget for the Labour Party’s plans – and in such impressive detail that they can even tell us how much extra tax the average household will pay?

“After four hundred and fifty days of not figuring out their own budget, that may go down as a disproportionately-rigorous examination of Labour’s plans.”

Having gone on to show that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had comprehensively debunked the Tory claims, the article gets downright festive in its description of how “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” – that’s Grant Shapps – responded. You’ll have to go and visit the article to read it.

The point is that the Tories were more concerned with lying about Labour’s plans than they were with telling the public about their own.

In an election period, those details become very important, don’t you think? And the Tories can’t be bothered… after around 15 months.

There are more festive descriptions of the possible outcome of any further Tory spending cuts, then we get to the meat and the (blue) blood: “It says a great deal about the arrogance and inflated self-importance of Cameron and his closest circle of colleagues that they see no need to explain to the country what they hope to do next. Make no mistake, these are people who see themselves as ‘above’ most of the rest of Britain, and as such, feel no compunction over lying to them, and sneer at the very thought of being ‘accountable’ to them. No, it is their innate ‘right’ to lead.

“It is the nature of democracy, if it is ever to work, that the public are trusted with the truth, so that they can make informed decisions on whom to trust in turn with their vote. The Conservatives will not co-operate with that ideal though. Their priority is power alone, and they rightly fear that an informed public, aware of precisely what a Tory Government would do to them, would never trust them with that power.”

That’s worth bearing in mind when you’re watching the televised leader debate on ITV tomorrow!

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Thinktank shoots down Cameron’s tax warning

Locked out: Cameron will talk himself out of Downing Street if he carries on making stupid mistakes.

Locked out: Cameron will talk himself out of Downing Street if he carries on making stupid mistakes.

It seems the Conservatives can’t make a single claim without having it shot down by the fact-checkers these days. What does that say about David Cameron’s integrity?

Yesterday, standing on the steps of 10 Downing Street (a big no-no during an election campaign), he told the world that if Ed Miliband took up residence there, the cost would be “over £3,000 in higher taxes for every working family to pay for more welfare and out-of-control spending. Debt will rise and jobs will be lost as a result”.

Within hours, the Institute for Fiscal Studies dealt this claim a devastating blow. The IFS said Labour could meet its fiscal targets with as little as £3 billion in tax rises from 2018-19, and not the £15bn in tax rises from 2017-18 onwards that the Conservative numbers assumed. It’s point-by-point rebuttal stated:

  • The £3,000 figure was a cumulative increase over parliament and not an annual increase.
  • The figure also assumed that all of the burden fell on only 17 million working households, and not on the 26.7 million total households in the UK.
  • If the figure was recalculated on an annualised basis, households would beonly £560 a year worse off.

In a note, the thinktank said: “There is little value in bandying around numbers which suggest either party would increases taxes by an average of £3,000 for each working household. We don’t know what they will do after the election. But neither of the two main parties has said anything to suggest that is what they are planning.”

Incredibly, George Osborne refused to admit that the game was up and kept digging. He declared that the Tory figures “were based on what the Labour party has voted for in parliament. They voted for a £30 billion saving and Ed Miliband has said half of that should come from taxes – that is £15 billion – and then you take the working families and you come up with that number, £3,000, for the next parliament.”

No, thicky! It’s time for another point-by-point rebuttal:

  • Firstly, Labour did not vote for a £30 billion saving. Osborne keeps trying to put this one over on the voting public but you’d have to be really stupid or a supporter of the SNP, Plaid Cymru or the Greens to believe it or repeat it. Labour voted in favour of the Charter for Budget Responsibility and its aim to balance the budget within a rolling three-year period. There is no mention of £30 billion of savings in that charter.
  • Secondly, why is Osborne only including working families among those facing a rise in taxation? Everybody pays taxes. Is he trying to demonise people who don’t have a job, either through sickness/disability or because the Conservative drive to kill British industry has deprived them of any opportunities (Tories started dismantling our industries in 1979, in order to create insecurity among the workforce)?
  • Finally, a £3 billion tax rise, divided among the 26.7 total households in the UK, means a total tax rise of £112.36 per household – but Labour probably won’t hit every household. Raising the highest band of Income Tax back to 50 per cent will raise a huge amount, alone – remember, the richest are twice as rich now as they were in 2009. while working families have around half as much, if that, after living expenses are deducted from their income.

The last point is most relevant: Labour won’t tax everybody; they’ll rebalance taxation to ensure the richest pay their fair share. That’s what the Tories fear; what they are desperate to avoid.

They’re hoping that, by telling you a lie about £3K extra in taxes, they’ll be able to prevent their own supporters (and themselves) from having to pay their way.

Conservatives would much rather make you pay their dues for them.

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Tories plan benefit system massacre

zIDSmurderer

 

The headline is no joke. Based on the plans revealed by the BBC, if the Conservative Party is re-elected in May, all but the richest of us can look forward to the death of a loved one – perhaps many loved ones.

They’ll have to hang signs over entry points into the UK: “Conservative Britain, 2015-2020: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”. At least now we know why David Cameron was determined not to reveal any details of the proposals to cut £12 billion from the benefits budget.

Chequebook euthanasia play a prominent role, and it is clear that the plan is to push as many benefit claimants into destitution as possible while encouraging suicidal thoughts. It has already worked with many people on Employment and Support Allowance; they want to spread their version of Aktion T4 more widely.

Top of the proposals is the replacement of the Industrial Injuries Compensation Scheme with an insurance policy provided by companies. Any not doing so would become members of a default national industrial injuries scheme, similar to the programme for asbestos sufferers. This is the long-anticipated arrival of private health insurance in the British benefit system; we have been expected this ever since Peter Lilley invited the criminal American firm Unum into the then-Department of Social Security in the 1990s. Vox Political predicts that nobody taking out such insurance will ever receive a payout on it; it will be run by Unum.

The DWP predicts that £1 billion will be cut from the benefits budget. The human cost might be significantly higher, especially when you consider the following:

Carer’s Allowance may be restricted to those caring for somebody eligible for Universal Credit. We know already that Universal Credit has been designed to prevent genuinely sick and disabled people from receiving their benefit, and that Universal Credit doesn’t work; this attack on their carers will tip both deep into poverty. Leaked documents suggest about 40 per cent of carers would lose their payments, despite the fact that they genuinely need the money.

The DWP hopes to cut another £1 billion from its bills with this. As it ties in with current chequebook euthanasia programmes, expect many thousands of deaths.

Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance claimants may be denied the privileges that should be afforded to them by virtue of having paid enough National Insurance contributions; your record will not count if you claim these benefits. The plan here is to cut benefits for more than 300,000 families – by around £80 per week. Those on ESA may have carers who will also lose their benefit, therefore we can conclude that this is another planned area of chequebook euthanasia.

Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance (for over 65s who have personal care needs) would be taxed in order to cut payments by around £1.5 billion a year (based on IFS Green Budget calculation ). Many of those claiming these benefits will also be claiming ESA and will have carers as well, so chequebook euthanasia – again – applies. Who knows how many will live to see the 2020 general election if the Tories gain another term in May?

Council Tax Support may be incorporated into Universal Credit. This blog is prepared to be corrected on this, but wouldn’t that mean the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (and the Northern Irish Assembly if it runs a relief scheme) would be unable to pay the council tax demanded under the Pickles Poll Tax that came in after Council Tax Benefit was scrapped? This would cut funds to claimants of ESA, JSA, DLA, PIP, AA, carers, and those claiming Housing Benefit and therefore – again – the government is opening itself to accusations of chequebook euthanasia.

Child Benefit may be limited to the first two children in any family. How nice that the Tories may be planning to spring this on families without enough prior warning. This writer would suggest that 18 years’ warning is necessary, to clear the books of people who could reasonably have expected child benefit to be paid as it always has. What about those having triplets? Apparently little would be trimmed from the benefit budget at first, but up to £1 billion might be kept, every year, in the long term.

Regional Benefit Caps – instead of £26,000, the Tories are planning to cut its already-too-low Benefit Cap to £23,000 – and then vary it still further in different parts of the UK. Londoners would receive the top amount due to the higher cost of living; people in rural areas could be forced out of their homes by this.

The leaked documents were prepared by civil servants and commissioned by Conservative Party officials.A spokeswoman for Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of previous state-sponsored pogroms against the poor, sick and disabled, told the BBC: “This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation… Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians… It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”

In other words, this will definitely happen if the Conservatives are elected in May.

This blog has made much of Labour’s own failure to plan the scrapping of the homicidal Work Capability Assessment if that party is elected into office in May (the other parties’ plans aren’t as important; they won’t be running a government for the next five years). Labour is still wrong to inflict it on people who have illnesses and disabilities through no fault of their own.

However, faced with a choice between the Tories’ certain death and Labour’s possible death, the decision should be obvious.

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