Tag Archives: income

Rachel Reeves admits there is no point voting for Labour any more

The truth: if you oppose the Conservatives, you MUST now oppose Keir Starmer’s Labour as well – because they are on the same side as the Conservatives.

Obviously, she didn’t say it in as many words.

But the Labour Party was brought into being in order to re-balance the UK’s system of government so that people who had to work – or seek work – for a living would have improved rights and a fair share of the profits accruing from the work they did.

Part of the latter would come from pay deals, and part from a re-distribution of wealth using progressive taxation.

Keir Starmer’s version of that party has already kicked any plan for improved workers’ rights into the long grass, and his attitude to the current wave of strikes and the cost of living crisis shows that his party won’t be imposing better pay for workers on profit-gouging bosses.

And now Rachel Reeves is telling us there won’t be any change to progressive taxation under a Starmer Party government.

His Labour will support the current, corrupt system from the first day of any government it forms to the last.

Labour is finished – as a party representing working and working-class people. A change of name is in order but Starmer won’t go that far because he wants tribal party supporters to keep voting for him and his cronies, following the Peter Mandelson maxim that they don’t have anywhere else to go.

This Writer isn’t convinced about that, though.

The Green Party offer of a £70 billion wealth tax is looking mighty attractive just now.

You might also take a look at what the Breakthrough Party is doing.

And there are myriad Independents springing up to offer alternatives.

But those are thoughts for the future.

The message today is that if you don’t want to see Tory policies and corruption continue, then you must not vote for either the Conservatives or Labour at the next election.


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The Tories are lying about Universal Basic Income

Oliver Dowden: he doesn’t want people to have a guaranteed minimum income; he wants us to live in fear of poverty.

As England prepares to run two pilot studies on Universal Basic Income, the Tories have been talking it down just as much as they can.

But is it that bad? A recent study in Finland would suggest that it’s actually very good for people, no matter what Politics Live panellist Lee Rowley might say.

What do you think? Would you like a guaranteed minimum income? Would you feel more secure with it? Would it encourage you to try things you otherwise would not?

Send in a comment!


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Rishi Sunak’s statement shows he’s paying a ridiculously low tax rate

Rishi Sunak and money: as the richest man in the UK, isn’t he keeping a little too much of his cash away from his own government’s Treasury?

Let me get this right: Rishi Sunak pays 45 per cent in income tax and 20 per cent in capital gains tax.

He made £1,970,992 in income and capital gains last year. We may take it as a rule of thumb that this was split between his prime ministerial salary of £164,951 and capital gains that presumably totalled £1,806,041.

His total tax payment was £432,493, which is less than he might be expected to pay, so we may also conclude that he did not claim his full salary.

Add to that his two per cent National Insurance of 3,299 and we get total deductions of £435,792 (or thereabouts, depending on how much of his salary he claimed).

That about 22 per cent of his total earnings. It’s as near to the percentage a person earning the lowest amount possible to still be paying tax – £12,570 – as makes no odds.

So, for example, a nurse earning the average wage for her profession (£35,000 per year) pays £7,814 in income tax and National Insurance. That is also about 22 per cent of their total earnings – but in fact is a little more than the percentage Sunak pays.

Doesn’t it seem a little strange that, in a country that has supposedly progressive tax rates, the richest man in the country pays only the same proportion as the average in a profession that has been on strike due to low pay?

If I were a nurse, I’d be up in arms about this.

Come to that, if I were a higher-earner who actually pays anything more than 22 per cent on my total earnings for the 2021-22 tax year, I’d be up in arms too. Wouldn’t you?


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DWP won’t contact over 100,000 ESA claimants owed millions in compensation

This comes courtesy of Benefits and Work; This Site is just passing it on:

The DWP has refused to follow a recommendation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to contact over 100,000 ESA claimants who are owed compensation totalling many millions for DWP errors. However, one claimant has been awarded £7,500 in compensation and we explain below how you can begin a claim if you were affected.

The issue relates to mistakes made by the DWP which began over a decade ago.

In 2011 the DWP began transferring claimants from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA). However, in many thousands of cases the DWP only assessed claimants for contribution based ESA and failed to check whether they should also have been awarded income-based ESA.

Eventually, after many complaints and awards to claimants who had missed out, the DWP reluctantly launched a LEAP exercise to identify claimants who had been victims of their error.

This resulted in 118,000 claimants getting backdated awards of ESA, in many cases amounting to thousands of pounds. Others also got awards outside of the LEAP scheme.

However, these claimants were not told that they might also be entitled to special payments because they had missed out on other benefits or undergone hardship as a result of the DWP’s maladministration.

Indeed, the DWP specifically told claimants that they could not complain to the Independent Case Examiner and did not tell them about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

However, one claimant – known as Ms U – had advice from a welfare rights worker. As a result, she did complain the PHSO after the DWP refused to pay her compensation in addition to £19, 832 in backdated ESA.

The PHSO found that Ms U had suffered considerable hardship and her health had suffered as a result of the DWP’s failures. She had also missed out on free prescriptions, warm home discount payments and other help such as paying for a washing machine.

The PHSO recommended that the DWP pay Ms U £7,500 as compensation and also pay interest on the back payment of ESA.

The DWP paid Ms U, but refused to follow another recommendation of the PHSO.

This was that they contact claimants both within the LEAP exercise and outside it who had been given ESA arrears due to their maladministration, look into their circumstances and award them any appropriate compensation.

Instead the DWP argued that: “should a claimant feel that they should receive compensation due to their individual circumstances, they can contact the Department and set out their reasons. All requests received will be considered on a case by case basis.”

The DWP know very well that almost none of the affected claimants will ever discover that they might be entitled to compensation and thus they will never know to ask for it.

In a recently released letter dated 10 May 2022, the PHSO said that they were “extremely disappointed” with the DWP’s decision not to follow their recommendations.

Unfortunately the PHSO has no power to force the DWP to do so.

We know that only a small proportion of Benefits and Work readers will have been affected by this issue.

But if you are one of them, we have a downloadable letter, complete with instructions, that you can use to begin the process of applying for compensation.

It comes with no guarantees that it will work, but waiting for the DWP to act seems to guarantee that you will not get a penny of what you may be owed.

If you are not personally affected but know someone who may be, please send them a link to this article.

And if you regularly post in a forum or belong to a group that might include affected people, again please give them a link to this page.

Who is affected

Affected claimants are those who were transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA, a process that began as far back as 2011, and who later received a lump sum payment of arrears because the DWP had failed to award you income-based ESA as well as contribution-based ESA.

Many claimants who received such a lump sum will have missed out on passporting to other benefits, such as free prescriptions and warm home discount payments.

What you can do

If you think you were affected you can write to the office which administers, or used to administer, your claim for ESA to ask for compensation.

We have created a simple, downloadable letter which you can use as the basis for your own.

We have kept this letter as simple as possible, with instructions for you in italics. If you know the dates of any award of back-dated ESA or the amounts that you may have missed out on then by all means add them. But, at this point, the most important thing is to begin your claim.

If you don’t receive a reply, do as the letter says and make a formal complaint as well as contacting your MP’s office and asking them to pursue the matter

Download the letter in rich text format

Download the letter as a .pdf

You can read the PHSO’s original findings on the case of Ms U here

You can read the correspondence between the PHSO and the DWP here

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Poor income growth and inequality mean UK families face ‘terminal decline’ in living standards

Champagne for some: rising income inequality and stagnant growth for poor families mean most of the UK is teetering on the brink of financial disaster – and our politicians have been to blame since 1992.

Income growth for poor households has suffered “complete collapse” over the past 20 years.

Income inequality has run rampant under successive governments since 1992, with five of the most unequal years taking place since 2013-14.

Add these together and our failed politicians have left the UK’s families “brutally exposed” to the cost of living crisis.

That is the finding of a new report by the Resolution Foundation:

Real typical household disposable income growth for working age families fell to 0.7% a year in the 15 years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Non-pensioner family earnings rose 2.3% per year, or 25% per decade, between 1961 and 2004-05. Average income growth dropped to 0.7% between 2004-05 and 2019-20.

Too many families today have low discretionary incomes, little or no private savings (one-quarter have less than a month’s buffer), and an inadequate social security safety net (basic unemployment support is now down to just 13 per cent of average pay, its lowest level on record).

The lowest fifth of the population had no greater earnings on the eve of the pandemic than in 2004-05, despite GDP per person expanding by 12% during this period.

On the eve of the pandemic, social and private leased households’ incomes were 37% and 24% below average. Single parents had 35% lower salaries, while children under 5 had 20% lower incomes.

Couples without children (33% higher), mortgagors (27% higher), those 55-60 (19% higher), and those in the South East of England had salaries well above the general median (12 per cent higher).

The research says salary is driving Britain’s falling living standards. Typical salaries remain the same as they were before the financial crisis, reflecting a salary loss of £9,200 per year.

Adam Corlett, Principal Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said a solution needed to be found quickly: “To do that, we must address our failure to raise pay and productivity levels, strengthen our social safety net, reduce housing costs and build on what we’ve done well – such as boosting employment for lower-income households.”

Read more: Poor income growth and inequality has left British families ‘brutally exposed’ to the cost of living crisis

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Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers | Left Foot Forward

It’s all happening in Wales!

I bet UK Labour members are eating their hearts out that they’re stuck with Keir Starmer, who probably wouldn’t dream of allowing such a policy in a million years.

The Welsh government has announced that young adults leaving care in Wales will be offered £1,600 a month for two years as part of a universal basic income trial.

That means around 500 18-year-olds will be receiving the money as a ‘safety blanket’ as they enter adulthood. The payments will begin from 1 July and the Welsh government hopes that it will help them “on a path to live, healthy, happy and fulfilling lives.”

Read more: Wales is trialling a £1,600 a month Universal Basic Income for care leavers – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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Sunak’s non-dom wife to pay UK tax on overseas income after being dragged to it

Rishi Sunak: I use this image a lot because I think it looks like his “nervous” face. Trouble is, it might also be his “angry” face. 

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s non-domiciled wife Akshata Murthy has agreed to pay tax in the UK on her overseas income after he came under fire for it.

Her decision to change her tax arrangements follows accusations of hypocrisy against the chancellor, with opposition parties saying Mr Sunak’s family is benefiting at a time when the cost of living is going up.

The BBC estimates Ms Murty would have avoided £2.1m a year in UK tax through her non-dom status.

Ms Murty said her tax arrangements had been “entirely legal”, but added: “It has become clear that many do not feel it is compatible with my husband’s role as chancellor.

“I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family,” she said.

It’s the right choice – but This Writer can’t help thinking it’s for the wrong reason.

As the wife of the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ms Murthy was rightly expected by the people of the UK to accept the same tax conditions as were being forced on us by her husband,

But it never occurred to her to do that. She had to be dragged to it.

This happens with politicians – and I’m not going to blame just the Tories for it – and those connected to them, all the time.

She was happy to take dividends from one of her companies based in Russia, while the rest of us were sanctioning that country and its businesses – until she was found out.

She was happy to avoid UK tax by claiming non-dom status – until she was found out.

And it does reflect poorly on Sunak himself; he must have known that it was not a reputable way to behave but he allowed it to happen all the same.

And then he tried to brazen it out by claiming he was being discredited by proxy and that his wife was being used to attack him.

He knew that his job made it wrong. If he didn’t, he should not be in that job – or in Parliament.

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Spring Statement analysis: UK is facing biggest drop in disposable income since records began

Rishi Sunak: he’s squeezing you until your pips squeak. How do you like it?

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement – and the pitifully few measures he announced in it to counter the cost of living crisis that he helped create – means citizens are facing the largest fall in disposable income since comparable records began in the 1950s.

That was the verdict of the independent Office of Budget Responsibility, as reeled off on the BBC’s Politics Live.

See for yourself:

Unless you are a millionaire, you’re probably going to face money trouble.

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.

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#BorisJohnson’s lies: he says your income has rocketed, so why can’t you afford to live?

This was perhaps the most offensive lie Boris Johnson told in Prime Minister’s Questions on January 5, 2022.

He said income inequality in the UK has fallen.

In a country where poverty is “steadily increasing”, according to the Office for National Statistics, while billionaires have boosted their own income massively, this is an insult to the millions of us who are struggling to make ends meet.

When one adds in the fact that he lied about child poverty – it is increasing, not decreasing – the insult is overwhelming.

Here’s the video evidence:

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Welsh Labour is finalising plans for UBI pilot that could slash poverty and galvanise the economy

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister has promised to devote the rest of his time in office to rolling out a Universal Basic Income that will lift everybody in Wales out of poverty.

While England suffers under Boris Johnson’s tyranny, Wales may soon prosper under a coalition of Labour and Plaid Cymru led by Mark Drakeford.

Flagship policy is Drakeford’s plan to roll out a Universal Basic Income that could slash poverty by at least 50 per cent in a stroke. A pilot is planned for the spring involving young people leaving care, with other groups to be added.

The aim seems to be to find a way of introducing it without provoking sanctions from the deeply neoliberal – and poverty-encouraging – UK government run by Tory Boris Johnson in Westminster.

It seems the aim is to present Johnson with an argument he can’t refute, like showing the plan improves economic activity by giving people more spending power – as indicated by research from the Autonomy think tank.

According to Autonomy’s report, an introductory UBI of just £60 per week for adults aged 18-65, across the whole of Wales, would immediately cut poverty in half – and child poverty by two-thirds (to 10 per cent from 28 per cent, currently the highest level in the UK).

Pensioners would get £175 on this system, and pensioner poverty would be cut by 61 per cent.

A more substantial (and, yes, more expensive) UBI rate would almost wipe out Welsh poverty entirely. It is suggested as a long-term goal for policymakers.

The report forecast that UBI could create £600 million of extra spending in Wales by putting more cash in the pockets of lower-income households – the group acknowledged to spend most of its income into the economy, rather than saving it.

This would generate tax income for the Welsh government, allowing it to push on with further progressive policies.

The income security provided by UBI will improve the nation’s health and increase life expectancy – people in Wales will be able to expect longer and healthier lives.

And people will enjoy more freedom to try new things like finding appropriate jobs, starting businesses of their own, or improving their education or skills. These are all things that the Tory system of means-tested and heavily-restricted benefits suppress.

And the Welsh people support it by a clear majority. Surveys show 69 per cent of the Welsh public want UBI, while only 11 per cent oppose it.

And the First Secretary of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has said he will devote the remainder of his time in office to rolling out UBI in Wales.

This could be hugely important, not just for Wales, but for UK politics as a whole.

As England sinks into the mire of Tory corruption, its people forced deeper and deeper into poverty by higher costs for groceries, commodities and – very soon – health care, they may find themselves staring across Offa’s Dyke at a land of healthy, happy, people in a country that is moving forward, not downward.

The Tories will do their best to obstruct it, of course, but they can’t stop it. Indeed, any overt attempt to do so will be rightly condemned as anti-democratic.

Done properly, it may stand as a demonstration of the harm being done by Tory – and Westminster Labour – neoliberalism that promised us increased wealth for the rich minority that would trickle down to the rest of us once they’d had enough but only proved that the rich minority never have enough and enjoy keeping the rest of us in poverty and misery anyway.

In short: this could be the pebble that starts an avalanche, overturning failed right-wing economics for good.

Or am I overstating it?

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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