Poverty has long been a tool of oppression, vital in maintaining a hierarchical system of inherited titles and wealth, as well as keeping the masses in their place. In Britain today, the current mechanism for this is ‘austerity’.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
– Nelson Mandela
“Poverty costs a staggering £78 billion we are told we do not have have … It is a subject that no-one really wants to talk about, referring to it as the Third Sector; part of the Social Justice Equality agenda, anything, in fact, but what it is… POVERTY . It kills thousands every year, their [The Rowntree Foundation] research reports, and costs us all, through high taxation and loss of earnings, a staggering £78 billion per annum.”
Since the Tories came to power in 2010, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth, transferred from the poor to the rich, only they branded it as Austerity and pushed a wholly spurious argument of necessity to balance the books. Has this happened? No, debt to GDP has increased, as has borrowing.
Since 2010 the Tories have added £800bn to the national debt, £167.6 billion (£167,600,000,000) of which since Theresa May became Prime Minister.
The UK national debt grows at a rate of £5,170 per second and currently stands at over £2 trillion, you can watch it grow in real-time here;
This has happened whilst there has been a simultaneous and sustained assault on the socialist elements of our society, the NHS, public services, fire, policing, state schooling, social care and the general welfare state, through retrograde policy such as:
“The Tories’ £1billion inheritance tax cut will hand a windfall to just 26,000 people in predominantly Conservative seats, a new analysis shows.”
“The human cost of George Osborne’s austerity drive has been laid bare as it emerged that poor families will lose up to £7,000 a year under benefits and other cuts that kick in this week.”
George Osborne had said that the lowest income families would be protected. New documents show that Osborne knew that he was trapping children in poverty and only raised the minimum wage in the same budget because civil servants told him this “could mitigate” the impact of the wage squeeze for some.
The document concludes: “This policy will make it more difficult for low income families with children to access essential goods, and will therefore make it harder for the government to hit the Child Poverty Act targets.”
They pressed on anyway.
It’s Tory policy that has lead to Poverty affecting 1 in 4 of British children…
“More than 14 million people, including 4.5 million children, are living below the breadline, with more than half trapped in poverty for years, according to a new measure aimed at providing the most sophisticated analysis yet of material disadvantage in the UK.”
Policy that has seen 440 homeless people die on British streets or in temporary accommodation in the past year, more than one per day.
Policy that has seen the U.K. drop 162 places in the Kids Right Index which measures elements such as life expectancy, health, education, protection and rights. When Theresa May became PM in 2016 the U.K. ranked 11th in the world, by 2018 it has fallen to 173rd.
Policy that has seen “120,000 excess deaths in England, with the over 60s and care home residents bearing the brunt, reveals the first study of its kind, published in the online journal BMJ Open.”
And it’s important to remember;
“There has been a lot of hot air about the “end of austerity” since the Conservatives’ unexpectedly poor general election result. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has reassured us that “there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
But there is a crucial point here that is underappreciated. Even if no new cuts are made, many future cuts planned by George Osborne have been pre-programmed into the system. Even if the government does nothing, these pre-loaded cutbacks will roll onwards, and their effects will intensify as demand for public services grows over time. Spending per person is forecast to be 3.9 per cent lower in real terms by 2021-22 than in 2010-11.”
But new cuts have already been made….
“Philip Hammond is to slash £1.3billion from frontline council services in the next 12 months. Main grant funding from central government will be cut by 36% in 2019/20.”
The poorest will be squeezed yet again…
And this is at a time when the lives of so many have not been so precarious outside of wartime.
“After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.”
According to a report produced by the House of Commons library, by the year 2021 there will be £37 billion spent less on working age social security compared to 2010. They include cuts to disability benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that together will have been cut by £5 billion, or 10 percent, since 2010. Other cuts include: Universal Credit, (£3.6 billion), Tax credits, (£4.6 billion), Child benefit, (£3.4 billion), Housing benefit, (£2.3 billion), disability benefits, (£2.8 billion), ESA, and Incapacity benefit, (£2 billion).
The argument that giving the moneyed elite more money will make everyone wealthier manages to ignore the roaring evidence of the past.
Under this latest Tory reign there has been a stratospheric increase in food bank use, affecting formerly secure professionals such as nurses and police officers, who have been severely hampered by the 1% salary cap imposed by the Tories for the last 7 years (whilst subsequently giving themselves a rather generous 11% pay rise). Although this cap has now been lifted, once adjusted for inflation, these professions are still earning less than they were almost a decade ago.
To take a look at why Austerity is a failed and wholly unjust ideology, and how it has actually served to dramatically slow down UK economic recovery:
The Resolution Foundation have found that 67% of the Tory welfare cuts will impoverish the poorest third of UK families, whilst 80% of the tax cuts are being handed to the well off…
Or to give you a broader sense:
“Analysis by The Equality Trust found:
* The richest 100 families in Britain have seen their combined wealth increase by at least £55.5bn* since 2010. An average increase in wealth of £653m each, or £2 million each per week.”
For the whole report:
“Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a rich country with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its people. The resources that would comfortably fund the National Health Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to avoid and evade billions in taxes.”
– John Pilger
“According to the economic orthodoxy of the last thirty years [neoliberalism], a stiff dose of inequality is a necessary condition for economic progress. Higher rewards and lower taxes at the top, it is claimed, boost enterprise and deliver a larger economic pie. The income gap might get wider, but eventually everybody, including those on the lowest incomes, will become better off. Here, Stewart Lansley puts the theory to the test…
…This theory has been put to the test over the last thirty years in both the UK and the US. Both countries have allowed the concentration of income and wealth to return to levels last seen in the inter-war years. Moreover, although it was a theory that originated with the new right, it came to be embraced across most of the political spectrum, including by New Labour in the UK and the Democratic Party in the US…
…In search of greater efficiency, successive UK and US governments from 1979 allowed, indeed encouraged, the fruits of growth to be colonised largely by a small business, financial and corporate elite, leaving the workforce with a continually shrinking share of the nation’s output. According to market theorists, this shift in the division of output in favour of business and the very rich would trigger a sustained investment boom and deliver more robust economies. Instead, it appears, concentrating the gains of economic progress in this way has created a dangerous structural imbalance that has made nations much more prone to instability and crisis.”
And it is all detrimental to our society as a whole…
Something that would greatly help would be for the Tories to take the issue of tax avoidance and the tax gap seriously, instead of actively participating in and protecting a crooked system:
To see how our country created, facilities and protects an offshore jurisdiction that syphons an estimated £120 billion a year out of our economy in evaded and avoided tax. Tax which would comfortably pay for the NHS and much more:
“This is a Society built on insecurity, exploitation and being ripped off by one of the harshest governments this country has ever seen.”
– Ken Loach