Tag Archives: wealth

Wealth tax plan to help pay for Covid crisis could be ignored if you don’t have your say

Cash: The richest people in the UK can afford to lose one per cent of theirs much more easily than you can afford to lose nine per cent of yours. But the Tory government listens to them, not you. What are you going to do about it?

The UK’s wealthiest households should pay a special tax to help cover the enormous cost of the Covid-19 crisis, according to an independent team of experts.

The Wealth Tax Commission said it would be better to pay part of the £394 billion in Treasury borrowing, incurred this year, with a tax on those who have profited during the crisis than by causing more hurt to those whose lives have already been seriously disrupted by the pandemic.

The Commission said a rate of just one per cent per year on households with more than £1 million would raise £260 billion over five years.

The Conservatives are, of course, biased against a wealth tax, with Rishi Sunak saying in July that he could see no reason to impose one.

But times change, and huge increases in taxes on the poor – income tax would have to rise by 9p per pound to produce the same effect; that’s nine times as much as the proposed wealth tax – would seriously harm Tory electability in the future.

That being said, critics have justifiably questioned why the proposed tax is being touted only as a way of paying off a national debt.

They say it would be better to invest the money in projects that will raise more revenue for the UK in the future, helping to reduce the wider national debt which the Tories have more than doubled to over £2 trillion in the 10 years since they took office in 2010.

The message for ordinary people is simple: If you don’t want to end up with an almost 50 per cent increase in income tax – or a 6p rise in VAT, which is the other alternative – get on to your MP at once and lobby for the wealth tax.

The richest people in the UK won’t want it, even though the loss of £10,000 harms them less than the loss of £260 (the equivalent from the so-called average pay packet) harms an ordinary working person.

Better still, how about forming groups to lobby your MP? Large numbers of people working together seem to impress the authorities more than individuals, who they can dismiss as lone voices.

The alternative may be a very expensive, poverty-ridden future.

Source: COVID-19: Experts make case for one-off £260bn tax raid on wealthy | Business News | Sky News

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Is Keir Starmer re-installing corruption into the Labour Party, with the wealth of private donors?


There is nothing to praise in the way Keir Starmer has managed to replace a small subscriptions by a large amount of people with large donations by a small number of wealthy benefactors.

No matter how The Guardian dresses it up, it signals a return to the bad days of New Labour, when the party’s direction was dictated by a small number of wealthy donors – for their own gain – rather than by its members for the good of the UK as a whole.

Look at this, from the Guardian‘s article:

“I would not give Labour money under Corbyn, but I would now be happy to give money to Labour,” said one significant former donor.

Those are the words of a person who is “for the few, not the many” – an inversion of Labour’s famous slogan.

The article also quotes Michael Levy, “Labour’s leading fundraiser under Tony Blair”, as follows:

Whereas I would say major donors would have had no interest over this last period, I think there is a real possibility now that they will return to the fold. The party needs to be funded by people who believe in the cause.

Whose cause?

Some of us have very clear ideas about that:

Consider this, from a sitting Labour MP:

That is absolutely right. And a return to a situation where private donors have more say than the rank-and-file members is simply unacceptable.

Look at a few other comments and consider the implications:

If Corbyn’s Labour was “crony donor free”, then Starmer’s isn’t – and that is a bad thing.

https://twitter.com/Kayayemela/status/1292163222540361729

Again, “individual wealthy backers” = bad.

“The Labour Party should be about the people. Always.” But the presence of wealthy donors will prevent that.

James Foster is right. As are the others.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour didn’t need “big money”. It had plenty of “small money”, if that’s how some people want to describe it.

The fact that “big money” is coming back to Keir Starmer’s Labour indicates that “small money” is leaving.

It also indicates that “big money” wants to support Starmer’s appeasement of those staffers who are accused of sabotaging the Corbyn project, of racism, misogyny and in some cases anti-Semitism. Because it makes Corbyn look bad without actually proving anything either way?

This is a very bad look for Starmer’s new New Labour.

We already have evidence that indicates around 2,000 people are leaving the party every week.

This may multiply that outward flood into a deluge.

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Here’s why people in the UK have really strange ideas about wealth

Laura Pidcock MP.

Isn’t it odd that people think if you’re wealthy, you can’t sympathise with or support people who aren’t as fortunate?

Labour MP Laura Pidcock had a taste of that attitude, as the record on Twitter showed:

The critic was a chap called Bryon Backhouse who appears to have deleted his Twitter history/account and started again after this embarrassing incident.

His comment, “Nice boots Laura, but at £380 a pair my wife will have to make do with slippers from M&S,” indicates a suggestion that her socialism is fake – that she’s in Parliament for the large MP salary that allows her to afford a pair of pricey boots.

Ms Pidcock swiftly put him straight: “LOL they were about £40”.

You have to laugh yourself, don’t you?

And John Scratcher’s response, “He’s probably trying the old fallacy that someone on £75k isn’t allowed to care about poor people,” seems right on the button.

Of course it isn’t true.

The measure of a citizen in today’s United Kingdom isn’t the amount they earn; it’s whether they are willing to pay their way – to give up a proportionate amount of their income for the state to use, investing in the economy or providing social security.

Sadly, too many Conservatives seem determined to avoid this responsibility – hiding their wealth in tax havens or pursuing other ways of avoiding paying their fair share.

If anybody thinks it is a coincidence that the UK is due to leave the European Union a matter of days before new EU laws come into force, forbidding tax avoidance, they need to think again.

So, for me, a person who takes home a huge amount of money is entitled to every penny – apart from the amount that is levied by the state.

As that person has benefited from economic conditions created by the state, it seems only right that they should contribute as well.

It seems clear that Ms Pidcock does indeed contribute in that way. I wonder if her critic does?

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Rough sleeping up 134 per cent while UK’s richest increase wealth by 183 per cent and developers hog land for 130,000 homes


Compassionate Conservatism? It’s more like Conscious Cruelty!

Bearing in mind the fact that the UK is the sixth-richest country in the world, the following is a scandal in itself:

Want to argue with the statistics? The evidence is all around.

The moral of the story:

And that is the fact of the matter. Homelessness has more than doubled since 2010 because of the policies of the Conservative and Conservative-led government.

The Tories have squeezed wages and benefits to the point where people are unable to hold onto their homes; they go into debt and then they go out on the street.

But what else has been happening while all this has been going on?

See for yourself:

“The combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has increased by 183 per cent over the past 10 years.

“As austerity continues to bite low-income households shocking figures show the wealthiest in society now rake in almost three times what they did in 2009.

“Ten years ago the wealthiest 1,000 people in Britain had a combined wealth of £256 billion, but the same cohort now sit on some £724 billion.

“The figures show that the pace of change has been ramped up notably over the past five years, which has seen wealth grow by £274 billion, and £66 billion in the past year alone.”

So impoverishing the masses is big business for the privileged few!

Ah, but all but the most destitute have managed to find a house to live in before now. What’s the difference today? Is it the fact that fewer homes are available for rent and there is a shortage of homes-to-buy, meaning the value of mortgages has gone through the roof, and help-to-buy is a club for people who are already wealthy?

Could be!

And if you’re concerned about the shortage of new houses, you’ll be furious about this:

“Developers are sitting on land for more than 130,000 homes in England that have never been built – the worst gap on record, according to new analysis.

“The analysis of housing ministry (MCHLG) figures showed that in 2016-17, planning permission for 313,700 new homes was given, but only 183,570 homes built, meaning a notional annual gap of more than 130,000 homes, the biggest divergence since records began in 2006.

“The percentage of homes built versus permission granted was just 58%, a rate that has been roughly steady since 2012.

“Landowners sell at a price that factors in a significant increase in value after obtaining planning consent, meaning a hectare of agricultural land worth £20,000 can sell for closer to £2m if it is zoned for housing. [But] developers regularly deny using land to speculate, arguing more profit can usually be made from building.”

It’s hard to believe that when developers are sitting on land and only building houses when they can be sure of a certain price. Land has always been a certain way to make money – and look how rich the richest people in the UK have become, while property prices go through the roof…

… And the number of people thrown onto the streets increases exponentially.

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Do not believe Theresa May’s claim about her religious beliefs. She worships corporate money, not God

Theresa May: She falsely claims to be a Christian but - by the terms of that faith - in fact worships the false god Mammon (money).

Theresa May: She falsely claims to be a Christian but – by the terms of that faith – in fact worships the false god Mammon (money).

It was horrifying to read UK prime minister Theresa May’s claim that she is guided by her belief in God. The only god she has is Mammon – the Biblical false deity associated with wealth.

You cannot serve God and money at the same time, according to the Bible (Matthew 6:24) – but whenever Theresa May’s announced policies clash with the wishes of the wealthy, she changes her mind.

Look at the way she changed her plan to cut childhood obesity after the food manufacturing giants leaned on her to strip away possible impediments to their profits.

Some might say her membership of the Church of England (along with many other Conservatives) is enough to prove her good character. I disagree: The Devil can quote scripture too, as William Shakespeare noted (in The Merchant of Venice. If you want a Biblical reference, try Matthew 4:1-11).

So, when she says she has sleepless nights over Brexit but is convinced her faith in God and moral sense of right and wrong will guide her, should we have faith in Theresa May?

No.

Because her God is money, and she will do whatever she can in the service of those who have it.

By her own actions, this daughter of a priest has scorned her religion, falsely claiming to keep the faith while her actions show that she worships a false deity. This is the sin of idolatry.

Those of sincere faith should encourage her to seek the help of the Church to atone for this sin, in accordance with the rules of the religion she claims to follow.

Until she achieves this, then members of the Church of England should certainly be encouraged to reject this woman, the political party she leads and the government of which she is the head.

Their faith demands it.

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Bank bailout was the greatest theft of wealth in history. Will Miliband reverse it?

150113bankrepayments

The money given to UK banks and the amount paid back by October last year – nothing but interest [Image: claritynews.co.uk].

There’s a passage in Russell Brand’s Revolution in which he quotes a chap called Dave Graeber as follows: “During the bailout of Wall Street, $30 trillion in support and subsidies went to the most powerful players… That was the greatest theft of wealth in history.”

Here in the UK, we were part of that. The Brown (Labour) administration paid a fortune into our own banks to keep them solvent because they were also participants in the global economic crisis – it had to, otherwise all of our savings would have disappeared.

We all thought this was reasonable, at the time. Shore up the banks, sure – they’ll pay us back in the long run. Have they paid us back?

Have they heck as like!

(That’s a colloquialism meaning, emphatically, no.)

The Conservative – sorry, Coalition – government has even been helping them steal some more. Look at this RealFare image:

150113camerontaxcuts

The bankers involved in the bailout were all on the top rate of tax – bank on it! – so there’s a double tax cut for them, and their employers enjoyed the Corporation Tax cut too. That’s a huge amount of money that the Treasury has given away to people who already owe the nation a huge amount of money!

Meanwhile George Osborne announces more billions of pounds worth of spending cuts, taking money from the poor.

You see – and perhaps this has been obscured lately – government spending involves the redistribution of wealth, and on the face of it this is to make society more equal. What the poorest can’t afford, the state will provide, to ensure a reasonable standard of living for everybody.

But George Osborne, David Cameron and their government have pig-headedly used the financial crisis and the debts created by it to punish the poor and increase inequality.

The bankers have not been asked to give back the money they were given to bail themselves out – that money has been stolen.

The government has withdrawn spending from people who need it and given the money to people who don’t in tax cuts – that money has also been stolen.

Just because it doesn’t appear in the statute books as an act of theft doesn’t make it any less so.

And now it seems another banking crisis is on its way – because the people who caused the last one are still in charge, haven’t learned their lesson (why should they? They were rewarded for the last crisis), and are hell-bent on repeating the calamity because the only people it hurt were too poor to do anything about it – people like yourself.

Look at this, by Michael Meacher MP: “Six years after the financial breakdown in 2008-9 it is therefore disturbing to see the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority seeking public acclaim for the large increase in financial penalties it has imposed on miscreant banks, as though this has changed the culture of hubris that has infected the major banks over the last decade or more.

“The FCA has certainly imposed fines of £1.4bn on the UK banks in this last year, but that is… too modest by comparison with the enormity of their regular annual profits to change the City’s amoral mindset, and above all focused on the banking institutions themselves (the shareholders) rather than on the real perpetrators (the top executives and traders).

“Not a single top executive in the UK financial sector has been convicted and sent to prison, even for such egregious offences as rigging the Libor and forex markets.”

Ed Miliband has promised to reform the banks, “so they support small businesses” – is that enough?

In September 2012, he promised that, if banks did not separate their retail and investment arms, a future Labour government would break them up (with the aim of protecting personal account holders from debts created by the gambling of the so-called ‘casino’ bankers) – is that enough?

What will be enough?

From where this writer is sitting, the banks and financial institutions are sitting on billions – if not trillions – of pounds of money that doesn’t belong to them, while millions suffer and starve.

Going back to Revolution, Russell points out that this kind of money could cancel the debts of everyone, not just an elite; it could create employment and ‘ease’ life for ordinary people, not just an elite.

Ed Miliband could win an election on this. If he said “A Labour government will take your money back from the banks and use it to improve the lives of everyone,” he’d have a landslide on his hands.

How about it, Ed?

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Income inequality growth means Coalition was either lying or stupid

[Image: Inequality Briefing.]

[Image: Inequality Briefing.]

How nice of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to remind us all, in its new research, that income inequality has a “statistically significant impact” on economic growth!

Perhaps its next report will be entitled “Egg-sucking for grannies”.

It seems that hardly a day goes by without someone telling us this simple fact of life. It isn’t that long since Inequality Briefing told us that a reduction of the gap between the richest and poorest in the UK – to the levels in Denmark or the Netherlands (both of which are roughly on the same level as this country economically) – would put an extra £2,500 in every household’s budget.

That, in turn, would give the economy a major uplift because it boosts spending power. More money would flow through the system and the fiscal multiplier would be higher – meaning the amount of value it creates as it works its way to the Treasury as tax payments would be greater. Then – in a properly-working economy – it would go back into the economy as government investment and the process would start again.

We don’t have a properly-working economy; we have a Tory economy.

That’s why the message has to be repeated constantly, in the same way a teacher might have to repeat a lesson to an uncomprehending child (in this case, George Osborne).

The OECD’s finding that redistribution of wealth via taxes and benefits does not hamper economic growth will fall on deaf ears while George Osborne is the resident of 11 Downing Street. He has been cutting taxes on the rich, and reducing benefits for the poor.

According to the OECD, the gap between rich and poor is at the highest level in 30 years among its 34 members. The richest 10 per cent earn, on average, 9.5 times the poorest whereas – in the 1980s – they earned 7 times as much. Osborne thinks this is a good thing, even though the economy is stuttering on the edge of another precipice.

His policies are designed to increase the income gap: Benefits have been capped to ensure they do not increase in line with inflation – meaning employers are free to pay their workers less, saying that there are plenty of unemployed people who would be happy to take the lower amount. Trade unions are toothless, having had all the fight taken out of them during the first neoliberal Tory government of the 1980s.

The result will be less money flowing through the economy, meaning lower tax income for the Treasury, making it harder to provide public services (as Osborne intends). This provides an excuse for public services to be cut in favour of inferior but more expensive privatised systems that put even more cash into the hands of the rich and starve the economy still further. Debt increases exponentially and the United Kingdom doesn’t just fall over the economic precipice – we leap into the chasm like a lemming in a Disney movie.

The fact is, George Osborne is a Tory. He’ll never accept that his ideas are wrong for the United Kingdom. Whether that means he has been lying to you about his plans, or he is just really, truly stupid, we may never know.

So the OECD’s message isn’t for him at all.

It’s for you – and anybody else who will listen.

The only way to improve our standard of living is to rid the country of Tory neoliberal economic idiocy, by voting them out at the next general election, and taking steps to ensure they can never return on the back of the discredited foolishness they’ve been peddling to us.

The only way that can happen is if we – individually and personally – take responsibility for educating the people around us to understand the faults in Tory ideology and the dangers they represent.

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Government’s ‘troubled families’ programme is failing; we knew it would

[Image: historyextra.com]

[Image: historyextra.com]

Remember back in April last year, when Vox Political said the Coalition government’s plan to stop children in ‘troubled’ families from playing truant, while finding work for the adults and stopping both from committing crime, was doomed to failure?

If you don’t, it’s not surprising (our readership back then was around a quarter of its current level) – and you haven’t missed much, because the scheme is back in the news as it is (again, unsurprisingly) failing.

The VP article pointed out that the government had been fiddling the figures in its bid to make it seem that 120,000 such families exist in the UK; in fact, “the number came from Labour research on disadvantaged families with multiple and complex needs, rather than families that caused problems,” according to ‘trouble families tsar’ Louise Casey at the time.

The article pointed out that local councils, offered a £4,000 bonus for each ‘troubled’ family they identified and helped (for want of a better word) were shoehorning families into the scheme – whether they qualified or not – just to make up the numbers.

It was doomed from the start.

So today we have figures obtained by Labour’s Hilary Benn, showing that around 106,500 families have been identified for the scheme (according to averages worked out from councils that responded to a Freedom of Information request). Of these, only around 35,500 were engaged by the scheme, which then failed in three-quarters of cases (around 26,600 families).

That leaves 8,878 families who actually came back to the straight-and-narrow – less than one-thirteenth of the target figure.

A success rate this low could have been achieved if the government had done nothing.

(That seems to be a running theme with the Coalition. What else does it remind us of? Ah, yes… The Work Programme. In this context it is extremely interesting that Mr Benn said the biggest obstruction to the scheme was the Work Programme’s failure “to deliver jobs to the poorest people in society”.)

According to The Guardian, “Data from 133 councils out of the 152 participating in the scheme found that almost one in seven families that had been “turned around” were either still on drugs, had children missing from school or involved in criminal acts.

“Another 60 per cent of households deemed to have been successfully helped by the scheme in March still had adults on unemployment benefits after leaving the programme.”

Bearing in mind the £4,000 ‘carrot’ that was waved in front of councils as encouragement for them to take part, you’ll enjoy the revelation that each local authority claimed to have found an average of 812 troubled families – 20 per cent more than central government had estimated.

Again, this is hardly surprising. Government-imposed council tax freezes have starved local authorities of money and £4,000, multiplied by 812, brings an average of £3,250,000 into each local authority that they would not, otherwise, have had.

So much for David Cameron’s plan to “heal the scars of the broken society”.

The Guardian also tells us that the ‘troubled families’ programme was launched by Cameron as a Big Society (remember that?) response to the riots of summer 2011.

In fact it doesn’t matter what the Coalition government does – or, indeed, what Labour plans to do if that party comes into office in 2015; schemes that are imposed on people from above will never succeed.

The problem is that the United Kingdom has become an increasingly unequal society, with money and privilege bled out of the majority of the population (who do most of the work for it) and into the hands of a very small number who have power and – it seems – no responsibility at all.

The vast majority of us are seen as disposable commodities by these exploiters – whose number includes a large proportion of MPs with interests in private business; they use us to make their huge profits and then throw us into unemployment.

Is it any wonder that such betrayal breeds families that turn away from the system and take to crime instead?

When David Cameron slithered into Downing Street he said he wanted to “re-balance” society. In fact, he over-balanced it even more in favour of privilege and wealth.

Now we need a proper re-balancing of society. The only way to solve the problem of ‘troubled families’ – a problem said to cost us £9 billion every year, by the way – is for people to be born into a society where everybody is valued and receives a fair (in the dictionary sense of the term, rather than the Conservative Party definition) reward for their contribution.

That will mean a fundamental shift in attitudes that should be taught to everybody from the cradle upwards.

You won’t get it under the Conservatives or any other right-wing government because they are exploiters by definition.

Will you get it under Labour?

Possibly. But a lot of right-wing Blairite dead wood will have to be cleared out first, and Hilary Benn is not the man his father was.

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At last the crisis of British democracy is addressed by a party leader: ED MILIBAND

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling a return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling that Labour plans to return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Hopefully the naysayers among Vox Political‘s readership will have a little more respect for Mr Miliband after today.

He is the first – and so far, the only – leader of a mainstream British political party to have correctly identified the biggest problem facing our democracy at this time:

The fact that people aren’t bothering to vote.

Here’s what he said, in his response to the Queen’s Speech:

“The custom of these debates is to address our opponents across the despatch box in this House, but today on its own that would be inadequate to the challenge we face.

“There is an even bigger opponent to address in this Queen’s Speech debate – the belief among many members of the public that this House cannot achieve anything at all. Any party in it.

“About 10 per cent of people entitled to vote, voted for UKIP in the recent elections. But – as significant – over 60 per cent did not vote at all.

“And whatever side we sit on, we will all have heard it on the doorstep: ‘You’re all the same, you’re in it for yourself, it doesn’t matter who I vote for.’

“Of course, that’s not new, but there is a depth and a scale of disenchantment which we ignore at our peril – disenchantment that goes beyond one party, beyond one government.

There is no bigger issue for our country and our democracy.

“So, the test for this legislative programme, the last before the general election, is to show that it responds – to the scale of the discontent and the need for answers.

“In this election, we heard concerns about the way the EU works and the need for reform. We heard deep-rooted concerns about immigration and the need to make changes. But I believe there is an even deeper reason for this discontent.

“Fundamentally, too many people in our country feel Britain doesn’t work for them and hasn’t done so for a long time:

“In the jobs they do and whether their hard work is rewarded.

“In the prospects for their children and whether they will lead a better life than their parents, including whether they will be able to afford a home of their own.

“And in the pressures communities face.

“Above all, whether the work and effort people put in is reflected in them sharing fairly in the wealth of this country.

“The Governor of the Bank of England gave a remarkable speech last week saying inequality was now one of the biggest challenges in our country. We should all be judged on how we respond to this question, right as well as left.

“There are measures we support in this Queen’s Speech including tackling modern slavery, an Ombudsman for our Armed Forces and recall.

“But the big question for this Queen’s Speech is whether it just offers more of the same or whether it offers a new direction, so we can genuinely say it works for all and not just a few at the top.”

Yes – exactly. Yes!

Within the last couple of days, I was saying on the Vox Facebook page that Labour needs to recognise the threat posed by UKIP in the context of disenchantment with democracy: With so few people voting, the door is thrown open to loony extremist right-wing parties.

The only solution is for the mainstream parties to ensure they know exactly what the people will support and offer the electorate what we want, rather than what they want to push on us.

With this speech, Mr Miliband has made it clear that he gets it, and that he is listening.

As the only leader who does – and is – this should put him well ahead by next May.

All he has to do is deliver what he has promised.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Britain’s richest are even better-off – but how did they get that way?

inflation

The Sunday Times Rich List has confirmed what some of us have been saying for years – that Austerity has funnelled Britain’s money into the hands of a very few, very selfish people.

The 1,000 richest Britons now own one-third of the nation’s gross domestic product, with their combined wealth rising from last year’s total of £449,654,000,000 to £518,975,000,000.

That’s an increase of 15.4 per cent, an average rise of £69,321,000 each and an average income of 518,975,000.

Average wages in the UK are stagnant at around £26,500, with average pay for the lowest earners having fallen by 14 per cent since David Cameron’s Tory government got its nose in the trough in 2010.

There are only two points to make from this.

Firstly, bearing in mind Gary Barlow’s recent appearances in the news for taking part in a tax avoidance scheme: How many of these 1,000 very rich people are participants in the same or similar – legal – procedures for avoiding tax? How many of them pay the full 45 per cent and how many only throw one per cent into the national pot (from which they get as many public services as the rest of us)?

Secondly, bearing in mind that many of these people take their money from very large corporations who employ very many people, how many of them pay very low wages to their employees?

The answers should provide enlightenment – not only on these people and their reasons for living in Britain, but on the policies of a government that intentionally impoverishes the defenceless in order to make this country more attractive to these fellow parasites.