Tag Archives: millionaire

Was ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ really meant to help super-rich Tories get cheap meals at the taxpayer’s expense?

Nadhim Zahawi: this image from a few years ago highlighted his choice to strip people with disabilities of much-needed benefits while guzzling taxpayers’ money in expenses claims. Now fat Nadhim is using our money to guzzle cheap restaurant meals too.

It seems the chief beneficiaries of Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme are… his fellow Conservative MPs.

Here’s a tweet from multi-millionaire Jeremy Hunt, confirming that he has been using public money to subsidise a meal:

For all we know, he may have claimed the rest of the cost on expenses…

Also vowing to take full advantage of the public – I mean, public money being put up for the scheme – was another Tory multi-millionaire, Nadhim Zahawi, who told BBC Breakfast:

“I’m looking forward to going out and using the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to make sure me and my family enjoy a nice meal over those few days.”

Asked if he will be having a half price meal, Mr Zahawi said: “I’ll be going out and helping those restaurants in Stratford-on-Avon, in London, wherever I can, of course. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Asked if he could choose to pay full price, he replied: “Well… It’s worth all of us going out and if the Government is supporting the sector, why not?”

It’s exactly as some of us predicted – while poor people starve under the privations forced on them by the Tories’ ridiculous Covid-19 policies, the super-rich are stuffing themselves silly and charging it to the taxpayer.

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
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

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

Iain Duncan Smith has emerged from under his rock to announce means-testing for disability benefits

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all - talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all – talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Iain Duncan Smith was practically invisible during the Conservative Party conference. He made a speech – apparently. Can anybody remember what it was about? It seems to have been obscured by overarching interest in what people like Theresa May, George Osborne and even David Cameron had to say.

Well, he’s back now, talking such flagrant and unremitting nonsense about his job that it is hard not to remove the asterisks from the following description of his words: B*llsh*t.

So in Saturday’s Telegraph he was b*llsh*tting about his mission to kill as many people with long-term illness or disabilities as he can, and to kick social housing tenants onto the streets: “I don’t think about this as a job… I have a vocation.”

Oh is that right? Let’s see what RTU has to say when the public kick him out of office next May, when he’ll be told in no uncertain terms – as he was when he was in the Army – that his Services are No Longer Required (and never were).

The Torygraph article seems an attempt to rehabilitate the image of this evil dunce by claiming his founding of the (let’s give it its proper name) Centre for Social Injustice brought into being “one of the most influential centre-right thinktanks in British history”. Does it deserve this gushing praise? Not at all; its only influence is as a cheerleader for RTU’s policies of hate.

“Mr Duncan Smith’s animating passion is to help the workless poor to help themselves by moving off benefits and into employment,” gushes the article by some apparatchik called Tim Ross (who?). “It is easy to see how much value he places on meaningful work, especially after a recession.

“’People at the bottom end have felt it worst,’ he says. ‘I just want to get on and improve their quality of life. This is my mission so I’m going to continue on it.’”

Let’s look at how he plans to do that. According to The Independent, it involves taxing disability benefits for the first time, in order to make it even harder for people living with permanent and progressive conditions to “get on and improve their quality of life”.

The new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is already much harder-to-get than the benefit it replaces, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Smith reckoned this was fair when he introduced it but now he has decided it would be more fair to reduce the amount of cash available still further.

He’s saying that those on higher incomes should be taxed in order to subsidise higher benefits for the poorest – but the same article states that the move is intended to raise £7 billion, not for people with disabilities, but for the Tory-led government.

It quotes a government source, talking to the Sunday Times: ““It cannot be right that those on the lowest incomes get the same disability benefits as those who are millionaires.” Do we know many millionaires who have claimed DLA or PIP – other than David Cameron?

Ending the universality of disability benefits would involve means-testing. This is complex and costly and results in people who need the benefit not claiming it because the process is too complex or intrusive. Iain Duncan Smith – that odious worm – is aware of this. Why else would he be proposing it? You can expect the new system also to have a version of his ‘mandatory reconsideration’ procedure, currently ruining Employment and Support Allowance, to make sure possible claimants get the message and clear off.

For further evidence against means-testing, read this Vox Political article. It should make you angry.

And keep scanning the newspapers for more stories about poor people who have died as a result of our now-punitive benefit system.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
bringing you the facts about the UK’s social insecurity!

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

Britain’s starvation crisis won’t bother our new millionaires at all

Britain's shame: The front page of yesterday's Daily Mirror.

Britain’s shame: The front page of yesterday’s Daily Mirror.

So the United Kingdom now houses more millionaires than ever before – but at the huge cost of forcing hundreds of thousands of people to seek help from food banks or starve.

This is David Cameron’s gamble: That enough people will profit from the misery of the huge underclass he has created to vote him back into office in 2015, to continue his attack on anybody who takes home less than £100,000 pay per year.

Are you really that selfish?

Do you think this is any way for a civilised, First-World society to order itself?

No – it’s more like the description of the Third World that became prevalent towards the end of the 1960s: A country with low economic development, low life expectancy, high rates of poverty, and rampant disease. They are also countries where a wealthy ruling class is free to exploit the population at large who, without money or force of arms, are powerless to stop them.

Let’s see now… The UK definitely has low economic development. Neoliberal governments since 1979 have decimated our industrial base and the so-called recovery we are currently enjoying has yet to show any worthwhile results, despite the dubious rises in employment and wages that are making headlines this week.

Low life expectancy? Yes, we have that. People in lower-class residential areas are expected to live only a few years into their retirement, if they make it that far, while those in rich areas may continue into their late eighties. Sharp readers will recognise that, although we all pay the same amount into the state pension, the rich get more from it as they live long enough to receive larger amounts.

High rates of poverty? According to the Trussell Trust, the number of food parcels it handed out per year tripled from 346,992 in 2012 to 913,138 last year, with 330,205 going to children. Another 182,000 were provided by 45 independent food banks. The government says poverty is falling but bases its figures on a proportion of the median wage, which has been dropping for the last six years. This means government claims that worker wages are rising must also be lies.

Rampant disease? Perhaps we should not go as far as to suggest this is happening – but the British Isles have witnessed the return of diseases long-thought banished from these shores, like Rickets and Scarlet Fever, along with an increase in Tuberculosis. These are all poverty-related, as they are caused by malnourishment. You can thank your Tory government for forcing so many people out of work and diverting so much NHS funding into privatisation.

As for a wealthy working class exploiting the population – the evidence is all around us.

Look at the reasons people are being driven to food banks, according to the Daily Mirror article from which I quoted the food bank figures: “Benefits cuts and delays, the rising cost of living and pay freezes are forcing more and more people into food banks, experts have long warned.” All of these are the result of Tory government policy.

The government is, of course, unrepentant. I had the misfortune to see Treasury minister David Gauke – who found infamy when he signed off on huge “sweetheart deals” letting multinational firms off paying billions of pounds of income tax they owed us – saying he was not ashamed of the huge food bank uptake. He said they were doing a valuable job and he was glad that the government was signposting people to them. Nobody seemed to want to ask him: In the country with the world’s sixth-largest economy, why are food banks needed at all?

Of course, I’m not likely to persuade anyone to change their political allegiance over this. You all know where I stand and, besides, this blog is simply not big enough to make a difference.

So I’ll leave you with the words of someone who is far more popular: Eddie Izzard, writing in (again) the Mirror:

“A million food parcels. How did our Britain get to be so hungry? Our country, where even after the Second World War, we still had the ambition to feed our poorest people and build a better country.

“This government said it wanted to reform the British welfare system. Instead, it has broken it. The proof is here in the desperate families who have had to turn to their GP, not for medicine, but for vouchers to be able to eat.

“Instead of supporting the most vulnerable people in Britain during the recession this government has hit them with a wave of cruel cuts and punishments – sanctions, Bedroom Tax, welfare cuts.

“The zero hours economy it champions is not enough to put food on tables. It’s done nothing to tackle food and fuel costs.

“No wonder that today, 600 faith leaders, dozens of charities and 40 bishops are telling David Cameron he is failing the country’s poorest people.”

Perhaps you are not affected, like all those new millionaires on whom the Tories are relying. Do you think that makes it all right for this to be happening here?

You can use your vote to share your opinion.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political deplores poverty because we live in its shadow.
T
his independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Don’t believe Cameron’s claims; there is no need for austerity – and there never was

Flinging around the bling: Someone should have told David Cameron that he shouldn't surround himself with gold when he's rubbing the proles' noses in unlimited austerity. The horse impression may also have been ill-judged.

Flinging around the bling: Someone should have told David Cameron that he shouldn’t surround himself with gold when he’s rubbing the proles’ noses in unlimited austerity. The horse impression may also have been ill-judged.

David Cameron must think we are a nation of fools.

He came into office by the back door after failing to convince a majority of British citizens that his pal Gideon’s George’s plan to starve the economy of money would magically refill the Treasury’s empty coffers. Three and a half years of relentless pro-Tory propaganda from the tabloids later, and he tells us – at an opulent banquet, no less! – that austerity is here to stay.

Isn’t that because his policies have been a disaster, then?

Yes. But a disaster for us, not him or his bankster/financier/corporate masters.

As this blog stated more than a year ago, “people need to understand that the Coalition government’s fiscal strategy isn’t about reducing the national deficit at all. If it was, we would not have had a big tax break for the richest in society as part of the last budget. It’s a strategy to axe public services, selling off to rich corporations any that might be capable of yielding a profit. George W Bush followed this policy in the United States a few years ago; it’s called ‘starving the beast’.”

Look this up on Wikipedia and you will find that it involves cutting taxes in order to deprive the government of revenue in a deliberate effort to force reduced spending. In the USA, we are told, “the short- and medium-term effect of the strategy has dramatically increased the United States’ public debt rather than reduce spending”.

Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson’s tax-cutting plan was expected to be funded by lower government spending on social security and healthcare – and it is important that people here in the UK should see the similarities between that and the Coalition government’s privatisation of the National Health Service (we’re told the NHS is a registered company now), along with its many attacks on people who claim social security benefits.

We’ve had tax cuts for the very rich – the so-called “millionaire’s tax cut” that brought the top rate of Income Tax down from 50 per cent to 45 per cent. Corporation Tax is coming down from 28 per cent to 21 per cent while the corporations that write UK tax policy are using it to facilitate tax avoidance schemes. And the poorest workers in the country are being fooled into believing they are getting a good deal out of the policy of raising the tax threshold to £10,000 per year.

Let’s look at that. Nick Clegg wants to raise it still further, so that nobody is taxed on earnings below £10,500 per year, but this means the Treasury will be starved of £1 billion. That’s a lot of money. Meanwhile, the deficit – and the debt – keeps rising.

We’ve had almost no change in the national deficit, year on year. Michael Meacher’s latest blog entry tells us, “the UK debt overhang is growing, not reducing… the budget deficit is not going down appreciably either. In 2011 it was £118bn and in 2012 this had hardly fallen at all at £115bn. The 40% cut in public spending budgets and the £18bn cut in benefits and hence in consumer demand, plus the £40bn further intended cuts after 2015, has produced searing pain, yet next to [no] improvement in the national accounts which was supposed to be the whole aim of the exercise.”

It is also important to note that the effect of raising the tax threshold for poorer people has been completely negated by other changes in government benefits for people on low incomes, unemployment or incapacity support; in fact they are worse off.

It is against that background – tax cuts for the very rich and the corporates, “searing” pain for the poor and worsening national debt – that David Cameron announced, at the gold-trimmed Lord Mayor’s Banquet, “We are sticking to the task. But that doesn’t just mean making difficult decisions on public spending… it means building a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”

At last he has admitted the point of the last three and a half pointless years. He has been starving the Treasury of the cash it needs to balance the books, and now he feels able to tell us that it isn’t going to happen unless public services are cut drastically.

He must be so happy.

Presumably he hasn’t realised that he has just told the British public that his policies, those of his political party and the Coalition of which it is a part, have been an abject disaster for the people of the United Kingdom.

He promised that he would get the deficit down; he failed.

He promised that the measures he took would be applied equally to everyone, from the highest-earners to the lowest; they weren’t.

Now he has promised to build a leaner, more efficient state, using examples from education and health, whose funding has been ring-fenced throughout his period in office; he is lying.

It is time, now, for serious-minded people to draw a line below the selfish policies of the last 30 years and start thinking about government for all the people once again.

When governments talk about making cuts, they’re not talking about help for the rich. Social or economic programmes, supported by taxes, are only ever put in place to level a playing field that would otherwise be tilted against the poor or disadvantaged. Removing such programmes means a less equal society; one that is more UNfair.

Remember that when Cameron and his cronies – especially people like Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey – talk about making Britain a fairer place to live and work.

Their words carry about as much weight as their leader’s 2010 election promises.

Turncoat Tory’s blue-sky talk can’t hide the damning truth

A head up his own behind: David Freud doesn't want to make work pay - he just wants you to think he does.

A head up his own behind: David Freud doesn’t want to make work pay – he just wants you to think he does.

Here’s another Tory who should go boil his head: David Freud.

This former Labour advisor on social security – who had previously worked in the city, setting up company share flotations (and if that isn’t a deeply worrying connection, what is?) – crossed the floor to the Conservative Party when he realised Labour wasn’t going to keep power in 2010, and was rewarded with an utterly undeserved peerage.

It is possible that he has done at least as much harm to the unemployed as Unum and Atos, along with an equal amount of harm to those on low wages.

He has written a worthless screed in the Huffington Post, no doubt part of an attempt to soften us all up for a new assault on the workless. We’ll get to his words in a moment. First, let’s look at the current situation, as created by the David Cameron government that Freud serves.

Under the current government, real wages have fallen in 36 out of 37 months – the only month when they didn’t fall was April 2013, when millionaires had their tax cut and bank bonuses rocketed. You can be assured that ordinary wages continued to plummet.

This has been led, of course, by the social insecurity policies adopted by Freud. The plan has always been to make life extremely difficult for the unemployed, ensuring they will chase work wherever they can find it – no matter how poorly-paid. This is why zero-hours contracts have gained the prevalence they have, which would be unacceptable in a civilised society.

It also means that company bosses can push wages down, even if prices are rising and people are facing a cost of living crisis – because they can always say there are plenty of unemployed people willing to take a complaining worker’s place.

And prices are rising. Inflation has been above the current two per cent target throughout Cameron’s administration, meaning that, in 2011, 70 per cent of people saw their real wages fall as pay packets failed to keep up with inflation. Families were an average of £891 worse-off in the current financial year because of tax rises and cuts to tax credits and benefits introduced since 2010 – negating the much-touted £600 that was given back when the Coalition raised the threshold for tax payment.

The government has blamed high inflation on “rising global prices” but this is nonsense – inflation in other G7 countries has been lower than in the UK, disproving the claim.

Wages after inflation are forecast to be £1,520 lower in 2015 than in 2010, meaning that working people, on average, will have lost a total of £6,660 in real terms under the Coalition government of David Cameron.

It is against this background that David Freud has written, in the Huffington Post, about what he seems to think are his government’s successes in forcing unemployed people to chase your jobs, thereby keeping your wages low. They can’t go after other jobs, you see – this government hasn’t lifted a finger to create any!

“The benefit cap is now in place across the country,” he began. “This means that benefit claims are limited to a fair level, a maximum of the average working household earnings of £500 a week.” Instantly, he is distorting the truth. The income of an average household earning that much would be topped-up with benefits totalling a further £105 or thereabouts. The benefit cap is, therefore, intrinsically unfair.

“The taxpayer who funds the welfare state has the assurance that someone in receipt of benefits no longer has an income that’s beyond the reach of the average working family.” A flat-out lie. The average benefit recipient never received more than an average working family. As a rule, benefits totalled one-sixth of wages and the one per cent limit on benefit uprating over the next three years – no matter what inflation does – means a huge drop in real terms during that period.

“The benefit cap has removed the barrier some people faced getting into work.” Another lie. The barrier that was stopping people getting into work was a lack of jobs that paid enough for people to cover their costs. Freud and his government want you to compete for jobs that put you into debt at a s-l-I-g-h-t-l-y slower rate than if you were unemployed.

“I must be clear, the old system failed people. If benefits provide an income well above wages, sticking to receiving state support over going out to work is too easy a decision to make.” A false premise. Benefits never provided an income well above wages – except for people in extraordinary circumstances (and those people had stopped receiving such income before the benefit cap was imposed). It’s lie after lie with this man.

“Our reforms put getting into work at the top of the agenda.” No – they set working class people against each other, scrabbling for jobs that pay marginally more than benefits while employers compete in a race to the bottom, to see who can get away with paying the least.

“Universal Credit will make sure it pays to work and the benefit cap ensures a lifestyle on benefits is not a lifestyle beyond the reach of the average household.” Universal Credit is, as we all now know, a money pit into which Iain Duncan Smith has poured hundreds of millions of pounds and received nothing in return. The average household will soon endure a lifestyle – in work – that is almost indistinguishable from one on benefits, as wages continue to fall.

“That is why alongside putting the cap in place, we made sure that people who get a job and are eligible for working tax credits are exempt.” But hasn’t this government made working tax credits harder to claim?

“We have ensured that households who should be exempt, such as people claiming disability benefits as well as war widows and widowers, have not been affected.” What about sick and disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance, which is not classed as a disability benefit even though it is paid to people with disabilities? They have been dying in their thousands as a result of Freud’s policies.

Yes, this man’s ideas kill.

David Freud’s middle initial is ‘A’. Someone recently pointed out that initialising ‘David A Freud, Tory’ gives you the acronym ‘DAFT’.

You’d have to be daft to believe him.

Sunny summer was good for the economy – shock! All YOU get is a tan

130920camspeechblower

At risk of seeming to be ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’: Why, oh why, oh why is everybody making such a big fuss about the fact that the economy bounced back a little bit over the summer?

Did nobody think that, perhaps, the fact that it was more sunny than in recent years meant our tourism industry might get a much-needed shot in the arm – not least from run-down British people, desperate for relief from the constant, grinding monotony of the Conservative/Lib Dem Coa-lamity government’s austerity agenda?

Did they not recall that the holiday season is a traditional ‘lull’ period and that, therefore – unless unusual situations apply (as they have in previous years) – government spending should be less? What’s the relief to the public purse from not having any Olympic Games to stage this year? What’s the benefit of having no riots?

And, finally, for the vast majority of the British people, these figures are no reason to celebrate because they make no difference. The cost of living is going up while average real-terms earnings have plummetted. If we are seeing a recovery, it is a recovery for the rich alone.

As was always intended.

For the record, public sector borrowing for August was £13.2 billion – £1.2 billion lower than the amount recorded in August 2012. This puts the UK’s net national debt at £1.19 trillion – 74.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

GDP itself grew by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 (April-June), and tax revenues have been 2.8 per cent higher than in the same period of 2012. Total government spending has fallen by 2.2 per cent, led by a sharp drop in spending by individual departments.

You can read all this on the BBC News website and might find it pleasant enough, but then David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce had to ruin it by saying “Our ability to generate tax revenues will struggle to return to pre-recession levels, even when the pace of growth picks up. As a result, the government must continue to make cuts in current spending in order to reduce the deficit further.”

So he wants the madness to continue. I wonder… If his business was in trouble, would he cut investment in – say – advertising and then expect profits to improve? That would be madness. Every pound cut from public investment by the government results in a loss to the economy of £1.70-£2.20. It is the government’s own demand for austerity that is slowing the recovery!

And what does this mean for ordinary people?

It means that, after adjusting for inflation, average earnings are £1,350 per year lower than they were at the time of the 2010 General Election. The UK has suffered the biggest fall in income and living standards of any country in the G7. You are worse-off under the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats!

By 2015, average wages are forecast to be £1,520 lower than in 2010 (based on figures from the House of Commons Library). This means working people will have lost an average of £6,660 in real terms while David Cameron has been Prime Minister – enough to support the average family’s weekly shop for one and a half years, at 2012 prices!

Inflation has been higher than in other G7 countries throughout David Cameron’s period in office, meaning that George Osborne’s claim that “rising global prices” have forced the cost-of-living increase is nonsense.

Claims like that of then-Treasury Minister Chloe Smith at the start of 2012 that lower inflation meant “the cost of living is coming down a little for families” were also rubbish – it was still increasing; just not quite as fast.

In fact, price rises have outstripped wage growth in every single month of the Coalition government – except April this year, when David Cameron cut taxes for millionaires and bank bonuses skyrocketed. Who benefited? The rich. Who lost out? The middle classes, workers, and the poor.

A YouGov survey of ordinary people has shown that 70 per cent do not believe the much-touted recent improvements in the economy have helped middle- and lower-income families. Only 10 per cent thought they had.

And 81 per cent had seen prices grow faster than household incomes, with just three per cent (and only one per cent of women) seeing income grow faster than prices.

It doesn’t matter what they say the economy is doing. You will continue to lose money as long as you have a government of millionaires, ruling in their own interests rather than the interests of the country.

It’s as simple as that.

“Unfair, incompetent and completely out of touch” – the chance(llo)r’s autumn statement

(Please note: This is a first-glance appraisal; it may contain inaccuracies, gloss over parts that you find important or miss things out entirely. Feel free to mention anything you feel important in the ‘Comments’ column)

In May 2010, the Conservatives asked us to judge them by two yardsticks. The first was that they would cut the deficit – completely – by the 2015 election. The second was that they would protect the National Health Service.

We all know what they did to the National Health Service, and everybody living in England who must now rely on a now-corrupted and degenerate system has my complete and utter sympathy.

Now we know that they have completely failed with the other measure as well. The deficit will not be eliminated by 2015 and the national debt is unlikely to be falling.

That was the main message from Gideon George Osborne in his Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The announcement adds validity to predictions that the UK will soon lose its AAA credit rating.

Estimates for government borrowing over the course of this Parliament have – of course – risen and it is now estimated that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition will borrow £212 billion more than stated after the 2010 general election.

Austerity is therefore likely to continue until 2018 and the deficit in 2015 – when it was supposed to reach zero – is now expected to be £73 billion. The message here is that the government will eliminate the deficit in five years’ time.

Wait a minute! Isn’t that what Gideon said in 2010? Have we been taking welfare cut after welfare cut, pay cut after pay cut, attacks on public sector pensions and cuts to economic investment for two and a half years, only to be told that we have been standing still?

This is not just incompetence; it is endangerment. This government is harmful to the UK economy. International readers should note that this entails a knock-on effect, dragging the world backwards as well. You are all endangered by this disaster.

It’s also a breach of a Conservative manifesto promise from 2010 – thanks to the BBC’s Paul Mason for this snippet.

Let’s have a look at the growth forecast from the Office of Budget Irresponsibility. You may recall that in 2012 the economy was initially expected to grow by 2.8 per cent. Don’t laugh! Now the OBR has downgraded that, by a massive 2.9 per cent, to show a contraction of 0.1 per cent. We’re expected to go back into recession for a TRIPLE-dip.

It’s supposed to be the economy, Gideon! Not a rollercoaster ride!

He blames the woes of the Eurozone countries, even though I am reliably informed that it has been comprehensively proven that our economic woes are NOT in major part due to the Eurozone.

So what’s going to happen? Well, millionaires are going to get a tax cut. That’ll help, won’t it? £3 billion, going to the people who need it the least, as Ed Balls said in his response to the Statement.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the 1,000 richest people in the UK are now worth a total of £414 billion – up £155 billion in the last three years. If you were wondering where the money that could stabilise our economy has gone, wonder no more.

What about taxing businesses? We know that the biggest corporations have been hiding their cash in tax havens – is Osborne doing anything about that?

Apparently he is. He’s planning to close tax loopholes and he’s bringing in 2,000 more HM Revenue and Customs staff to do it. Let’s just remind ourselves that he cut HMRC by 15,000 a little while ago.

In the meantime, we have Corporation Tax – is he increasing it? No. He’s cutting it by a further 1 per cent. This means that this tax has been cut by a quarter – 25 per cent – since the Coalition came into power in 2010. And he still can’t get firms to pay up!

Incidentally, Osborne would like us to believe Corporation Tax is keeping the economy weak. However, the US rate is 40 per cent and the economy there is growing.

Where’s the business investment bank we were promised?

Oh! Here’s something: tax relief on pensions slashed for the very high earners. £1 billion expected revenue. Be still, my beating heart.

So: tax cuts for the rich. What do the poor get?

The rise in working-age benefits will be frozen to 1 per cent for the next three years. RPI inflation is currently 3.2 per cent. This means the poor will get six per cent poorer over that period. The Liberal Democrats were crowing about defending inflation-related increases to benefits last year; I notice they have nothing to say today.

The majority of people losing from cuts to tax credits will be people in work.

Disabled people were no doubt completely unsurprised when Osborne wheeled out his tired old line about working people looking at their neighbours’ closed curtains during the ‘scrounger-bashing’ segment of the speech. Let’s all bear in mind that sickness benefit fraud is 0.4 per cent while the government is eliminating 20 per cent of claimants from the welfare bill. That’s 19.6 per cent of claimants who deserve the cash, even if the fraudsters are caught and weeded out (and they probably won’t be).

Disability benefits will be exempt from the freeze, he said, trying to make it seem that the disabled won’t take a hit. This was a lie. Employment and Support Allowance will be affected, and since two-thirds of those who claim ESA long-term are also on the disability benefit, DLA, those most disabled will be hit the hardest.

Scrapping the worse-than-useless Work Programme and Universal Credit would save more than £10 billion, but apparently this won’t happen for fear of upsetting Iain Duncan Smith. As Ed Balls pointed out, though, “You can’t have a successful Welfare to Work programme without work!”

Child benefit remains frozen at the moment, but will increase from 2014. We all know why, I hope. Electioneering. Osborne is hoping that families with (two or fewer) children will support the Tories in the 2015 elections, because of this increase. Pathetic. And anyone who falls for it will be even worse.

Hardly any new infrastructure projects were announced; no new road schemes, no new housing schemes. There’s no repeat of the bankers’ bonus tax.

I could go on and on. You’ll probably hear more about the Statement than Kate’s baby over the next day or so, though; therefore I’ll stop.

One last point: Osborne’s 1.2 million figure for new private sector jobs is a complete fiddle. He is including jobs that have been reclassified from the public to the private sector, also part time jobs and people on the work programme/Workfare, who are working for no pay other than Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Oh, and the government’s borrowing figures may have been fiddled as well; according to Andrew Neil on the BBC it could be £56 billion higher than claimed, by 2017-18.

In March, we had Pasty-gate the day after the Budget Statement. I wonder what we’ll have tomorrow?

Memes of the moment

A man who hid in a toilet in order to get near enough to David Cameron to shout, “No ifs, no buts, no public sector cuts” has been sentenced to community service. The public were quick to spot the difference in treatment between this man and Andrew Mitchell, who verbally abused a policeman (an arrestable offence) but was not prosecuted. One wonders what punishment the young man in this photograph would have received for the words here.

One of the best ways to make a point on the internet – satirical or otherwise – is to create a ‘meme’. For the uninitiated, this is a picture that has been modified to make a point, then sent around the net via Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. Some of the recent ones have been very good so, while I work on my next piece (probably Cameron selling weapons to the Middle East), I thought I’d put them on show.

David Cameron will always be remembered as the Prime Minister who re-introduced class, and class war, to the UK with his Cabinet of millionaires, and government of aristocrats. Here, Paul Weller gives him the scorn he deserves.

Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous words about the Nazis get an IDS update here. In a week when Iain Duncan Smith turned the glare of his DWP spotlight onto step-parents, single parents and “broken” families, the targeting might seem a little off, but the words still ring true, and it shows that comparisons with Nazism are still coming thick and fast. The fact is that both the Conservatives (now) and the Nazis (in the 1930s) got into government without getting a majority of the national vote, and then set about policies that were not what they had professed to the public.

Finally, a little background reading. Next time you hear the Insidious Dole-Snatcher – or any of his chums – spitting out these claims as though they’re true, just take a moment to check their veracity. The link is in the image.

Poll tax revival plan to take away your home

How much do you like your home?

Is it a good building? Do you get on with the neighbours? Do you live in a pleasant part of the country?

Well, take a good look around because you could soon lose it all if the Tory-led Coalition government has its way.

The plan is to scrap Council Tax Benefit from April next year and compel local authorities to set up local council tax support schemes, in order to cut 10 per cent from the current council tax benefit bill – a total of around £470 million per year.

Because pensioners will not be attacked in this way – at this time – this means working-age people are likely to face a loss of at least 16 per cent of their benefit.

Councils could choose to reduce spending in other areas or increase their revenue through council tax but, as these will affect groups other than current benefit recipients, I think we all know which way our councillors will be pushed. Either way, the local authority will take the blame – or at least, that’s what the Coalition hopes.

It will then be up to those authorities to pursue poor people through the courts for payment, if they cannot afford the new charge. This could amount to more than 760,000 people who work, but whose incomes are so low that they currently receive council tax benefit (The fact that the benefit being paid to them is effectively a subsidy for their employers, who should pay enough for them to support themselves without the need for benefit, is apparently a side issue) plus the disabled (already a target for hate campaigns by the Department for Work and Pensions), the unemployed, and families with young children.

The alternative, of course, is to move somewhere cheaper. You see, this is another part of the government’s social cleansing policy, created to run alongside the housing benefit cap and the ‘bedroom tax’.

The plan, in the government’s Localism Bill, has already been labelled a revival of Margaret Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax because it aims to ensure that everybody pays, no matter how little money you have.

To put this in perspective, the annual saving will total less than one-twelfth of Vodafone’s tax bill. That company owed the UK Treasury £6 billion but the government let it get away with paying just £1.25 billion after a ‘sweetheart’ deal was made with HM Revenue and Customs. That’s the same government that will have you kicked out of your home for the sake of a few pennies.

Rebates of up to 100 per cent have been available to the unemployed, disabled people, full-time carers and households on low incomes, many of whom have not been required to pay at all, ever since Council Tax came into effect in 1992.

Councils are currently setting out how they plan to deal with the change. Manchester has launched a consultation on proposals to require all households except pensioners to pay at least 15 per cent of the council tax bill, while Barnet is proposing a minimum 25 per cent charge for all working-age residents – clearly that council wants to clear out the poor and set up shop as a desirable residence for the rich.

Adding insult to injury, the tax increase for the low-paid will be timed to come into effect next April, on the same day as a tax cut for millionaires.

It all seems a very vindictive way to keep the scheme’s architect, Eric Pickles, in pies.

Wouldn’t it be better just to get Vodafone to pay its taxes?