George Osborne must be having a good old chuckle about that one right now. News outlets, led by the increasingly biased BBC, have lapped up the description of the ‘budget for working people’.
‘A budget for working people’
A budget for rich people; the Tories have raised the inheritance tax threshold which the IFS have explained will benefit wealthy families. Osborne has also given tax cuts to corporations.
If you are a poor working person they will make it look like they have given you more money by introducing a ‘living wage’, but that will not actually make up what you have lost in housing benefit and tax credits.
Tax credits will now only be paid for the first two children meaning the Tories are punishing children born in to already poor families by making sure they have even less.
Despite the housing crisis affecting thousands of working people, there will be fewer affordable homes built.
‘Higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare’
A higher wage? See my below point about ‘living wage’.
Lower welfare yes, cut straight from the poor and the young. Maintenance grants to be scrapped meaning that poorer students who want to go to university will be left with even more debt if they dare to take on the burden of trying to better their position this way.
Cuts to tax credits, cuts to housing benefit, no access to benefits for 18 -21 year olds. All supposedly to encourage people to work and not live on welfare; whilst ignoring that there are obviously not 1.86 million job vacancies out there for all of the people currently unemployed.
What will happen to all of these people for whom there are no jobs?
And lower tax. Tax is not necessarily the evil thing it is made out to be and of course pays for the kinds of vital services that make our society great, such as the NHS.
Overall, lower tax will be benefitting the already better off. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t off the back off cruel cuts from the poor.
‘A living wage’
£7.20 by April 2016 and £9 by 2020… as soon as I heard this statement and the figures I thought; £7.20 was the living wage the last time I heard many of the left calling for it as a minimum for people to survive. But then that was a long time ago. Even with my limited economic understanding I knew straight away that this wouldn’t be the case anymore.
In London currently the living wage would need to be £9.15, outside London it would need to be £7.85.
In addition, one of the most irritating points about this Tory plan is George Osborne’s defence of the tax credit cuts with his insistence that employers should pay more and that the tax payer shouldn’t need to top up wages. This is absolutely correct. Employers should be made to pay a decent wage. But this is not going to happen. Osborne’s plans for his so-called ‘living wage’, which have already been criticised by business leaders that don’t want to pay, don’t go far enough.
In order to be real ‘living wage’ then, when the cuts to welfare are taken in to account, the amount would need to be around £11.65 per hour.
‘Britain needs a pay rise’
Well no. MP’s need a pay rise apparently; they’ll be getting an 11% pay rise. Public sector pay will be frozen at 1% meaning that as the cost of living goes up they will have a drop in income. But then they only provide vital services that the Tories are rich enough to avoid having to use, so why would they care?
Of course they should care as no one is safe from the cuts because of the unimaginable damage that they will do to our society.
Benefit Cap lowered to £20,000
The benefit cap is the limit to the total amount of money that a person would be able to receive in benefits. Osborne has lowered this cap to £20,000 because he says it is not fair that someone out of work should earn more than those in work. This is a perfect explanation to ensure greater divisions in society and encourage greater hatred for the poor. It doesn't consider individual needs or family size.
As Caroline Lucas MP explained today, the benefit cap will see a further 40,000 children plunged in to poverty.
Caroline Lucas went on;
“The welfare cuts announced today will plunge thousands of people in poverty, and cause families to be evicted from their homes”
So how does the wealthy Work and Pensions Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith, react to a budget that glosses over the incredible harm to poor and vulnerable people with a false ‘living wage’ promise?
Even if you think, in some way, that these cuts are necessary, you must be thinking the same as me; couldn’t they have at least contained themselves a little?