An important study reported by Global Research.
He caused them but he doesn’t have to put up with them.
Read what an American observer thinks of Breadline Britain…
Force-Fed UK Austerity
By Stephen Lendman
Since 2008, America, Britain and other European nations force-fed austerity harshness. Neoliberal and imperial priorities take precedence.
Bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and privileged elites alone benefit. Ordinary people lose out entirely. Public needs go begging. Human misery grows. Things go from bad to worse. Nothing ahead looks promising.
Britain made things harder. Parliament imposed the largest welfare cuts in modern times. More on them below.
They come when Prime Minister David Cameron wants UK nuclear defenses upgraded. He wants billions of pounds spent doing so. He claims Britain faces threats that don’t exist. An “ultimate weapon” is needed, he says.
His Daily Telegraph op-ed headlined “We need a nuclear deterrent more than ever,” saying:
(A)s prime minister, with ultimate responsibility for the nation’s security, I profoundly disagree with” naysayers. The “nuclear threat has not gone away.”
“My judgment is that it would be foolish to leave Britain defenceless against a continuing, and growing, nuclear threat.”
Saying so defies reason. Wanting billions of pounds spent on what’s not needed reflects deception writ large. Britain’s FY 2014 budget allocates 44.7 billion pounds for defense.
Billions go for nuclear deterrence. Cameron wants billions more. It’s worth the cost, he says. No cheaper options exist, he claims.
He wants Brits to think wasteful spending will protect Britain from nuclear attacks. Estimates run up to 20 billion pounds. It reflects multi-year spending.
At the same time, he supports massive welfare cuts. They come when Queen Elizabeth got a five million pound pay increase. In FY 2013-14, she’ll receive 36.1 million pounds (around $54 million). It’s up from 31 million last year.
She gets regular pay increases. They come from the Crown Estate. Its properties are worth eight billion pounds.
She’ll now receive 15% of their profits. In 2011-12, they earned 240.2 million pounds.
The Queen claims she needs the money. Royal priorities aren’t cheap. Annual expenses keep rising. She’s having a hard time making ends meet.
She’s dismissive about ordinary people’s suffering. It’s their problem, not hers. Let ’em eat cake doesn’t wash. A former monarch learned the hard way.
Tough times keep getting tougher. Ordinary Brits struggle to get by. Britain’s coalition government made things harder. On April 3, Russia Today headlined “UK govt imposes avalanche of cuts,” saying:
Low-income and financially vulnerable families will be hit hardest. Opposition Labour MPs called new cuts announced “the beginning of ‘Black April.’ ” It’s hard imagining why. They’re as neoliberal as Tories.
From June 2007 – May 2010, Gordon Brown was prime minister. Austerity began on his watch. Budget cuts hit ordinary Brits hardest. Brown said “Labour will cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes, and cut lower priority budgets.”
He targeted public sector worker wages, pensions and other benefits. At the same time, Britain spent 94% of its GDP on bank bailouts. It amounted to taxing every Brit about 30,000 pounds.
Labour and Tories conspire against ordinary people. Austerity is policy. So are harsh welfare cuts. Imposed them inflicts enormous hardships. Earlier amounts totaled tens of billions of pounds. In January, another 14.2 billion were announced.
New ones are toughest of all. Britain’s Baptist Union called them “unjust (forcing) the most vulnerable (to) pay a disproportionate price.”
Methodist Church Public Issues Policy Adviser Paul Morrison said they “make April fools of us all.”
“We are witnessing what happens when we create a culture that blames poor people for their poverty.”
“It is a lie to say that most people on benefits are lazy, that they have an easy life or that they are responsible for the nation’s financial deficit.”
“When people are willing to believe those lies, poor families pay the highest price.”
At the same time, wealthy elites got a tax cut. In late March, Britain slashed its 50% top rate to 40%. Corporations got a 1% cut.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s “granny tax” left around five million middle-class pensioners up to 323 pounds worse off. It’s when they most need help. They face other harsh budget cutting measures.
Welfare benefits will be cut another 10 billion pounds by 2016. On average, around 18 million Brits will lose 500 pounds annually. Billions more welfare cuts were announced earlier. Where this ends who knows.
Cameron wants public spending cut 5.3%. Expect more cuts to follow. Since financial crisis conditions erupted in 2008, one in 10 Brits lost their jobs.
The latest measures are worst of all. They include a new “bedroom” tax. It’s on local council and housing association tenants. They get housing benefits.
Recipients claimed to have a “spare” bedroom face cuts totaling 14%. Those with two “spare” ones lose 25%. Britain calls the measure an “under-occupancy penalty.”
Imposing it seeks to encourage more efficient social housing use. It inflicts enormous harm on vulnerable households. Expect more ahead hitting them harder. It’s coming in waves. One measure leads to others. Like America, Britain’s heading for third world status.
Hundreds of thousands of people are affected. Many will become homeless. Britain’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said the new bedroom tax will “end up costing more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private renter sector.”
Around 90,000 households are affected. Less than 4,000 smaller homes can accommodate them. In April, “personal independence payments (PIPs)” replace disability living allowances.
Private consulting and information technology services firm ATOS will assess whether benefit claimants can work. It’ll be paid up to one billion pounds to do so. In the past, it claimed stroke victims were fit to work.
ATOS aims to remove another 500,000 claimants from benefit rolls. Doing so will throw many of them in the street. They’ll risk losing out entirely.
New Health and Social Care Act legislation affects them. Enactment reverses 1946 free, universal National Health Service care. Government no longer has a legal duty to provide it.
Newly created Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) now have a “duty to arrange” what used to be mandated. Doing so shifts costs on the backs of vulnerable Brits least able to afford them. Commercializing healthcare lets predatory private profiteers take full advantage.
Combining austerity with welfare cuts heads Britain for third world status. Poverty and unemployment will rise further. So will public anger. On March 30, protesters targeted London’s Trafalgar Square.
Unionists joined anti-poverty campaigners, the disabled, homemakers and others.
Simultaneous gatherings were held in cities and towns nationwide. Thousands turned out in Glasgow. “Axe the bedroom tax,” signs read. One protestor spoke for others, saying:
“We won’t forget what they are doing to working class people.”
“They have just shut the soup kitchen in Waltham Forest despite having a real problem with homelessness. I’m a working single parent. Now I’ve a tiny boxroom, and I’m faced with the choice between food, heat or paying the ‘bedroom tax.’ ”
At issue are numerous other cuts. Expect new ones to follow those announced. More recent ones began last October. Dozens of imposed changes were made. They include:
cutting support for mortgage interest from 6.08% – 3.63%;
scrapping the Child Trust Fund;
reducing the Council Tax benefit;
ending the Health in Pregnancy grant;
abolishing the Disability Living Allowance;
cutting legal aid;
freezing the Child Benefit and Working Tax Credit for low-income workers; and
much more implemented from October 10 through mid-April.
Making ordinary Brits bear burdens they can’t afford is policy. Expect new imposed hardships ahead. Tories and Labour are in lockstep. It bears repeating. Britain’s heading toward third world status. It’s on a fast track toward getting there.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks are due to Annarky on http://radicalglasgowblog.blogspot.co.uk for the following videos. My intention in posting them here is to make you stop and think about where we’re going in this country and whether there’s a different way of living our lives……
WHAT IS ‘GOVERNMENT’ ?
ABANDONED GREEK WORKERS TAKE CONTROL
OPEN YOUR EYES….A SONG FROM THE EIGHTIES SOUNDING LIKE IT COULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN TODAY
Makes you think…..
On 17th June I wrote a post announcing the launch of the TUC’s bus tour of Britain, Austerity Uncovered (http://wp.me/p3mYc5-4J). The tour finished on 29th June and has uncovered some harrowing stories of hardship from all over Britain. Volunteers who took the bus to towns and cities up and down the country found devastated high streets, busy foodbanks and crowds of people of all ages queueing to tell stories of their struggle to live with bedroom tax, welfare caps and precarious jobs paying low wages. Below are some of the stories and videos collected during the tour taken from the TUC website http://austerityuncovered.org/.
I am getting to know Luton well. I was born in London and I live in inner London and I suppose I would have crept off to the suburbs, or the country, if I didn’t like the cosmopolitan nature of city life, the diverse cultures, noise, different foods and the vibrancy, the rough and tumble of street life. Luton has many of those colourful qualities, and yes, it is ‘edgy’. It also has a ridiculous ring road around the town centre. A triumph of planning, a nightmare for building a sense of community but highly advantageous when navigating a double-decker bus to a prime location smack outside the Town Hall, in St George’s Square, thanks to the support of the Leader of the Council, Hazel Simmons, and the positive attitude of Steve the driver. He is already a legend at the TUC. What would the people of Luton tells us about their experience of austerity, of the squeeze in pay and hours and the impact of public sector service cuts? How many of the 200,000 people who live there could we talk to in one day? The answer is lots. With up to 20 people working around the bus the stories came quick and fast, everyone a personal story, but patterns quickly developed. First, were people who had been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit but who have been assessed by ATOS as fit for work and were clearly stunned at the outcome, and really struggling with the new harsh regime of compliance with the Job Seeker’s Allowance rules. And secondly there were seemingly legions of people who had allegedly made an error in the management of their JSA Claim, or their search for work pattern, and received a benefit sanction. If a claimant is deemed to have failed to attend an interview they are likely to get a sanction – a benefit suspension of 4 weeks, rising to 13 weeks. A claimant’s right to benefit can be withdrawn for 3 years! No-one could answer the question, if you are poor enough to receive means tested benefits what are you supposed to do if the state takes the benefit away? And then astonishingly we met people who used to live in cheap rented accommodation in Luton whose landlord has recently refused to extend their tenancy because he can let the property for more money to a family who has been displaced from London by the cuts to Housing Benefit. What should a person in Luton do if confronted by such a problem? One answer is that you should seek help from ‘Luton Rights’, which is an independent centre specialising in advice about welfare benefits, debt and housing. It is one of the few of the Unemployed Worker’s Centres that the TUC recognised in the 1980s that not only survived, but it has evolved to the point where it has a legal aid franchise. At the centre I met a couple who are welfare benefit recipients. At the end of long working lives things have gone wrong for them. He has had a mental breakdown and his career as a manager in the electronics industry is over. She has diabetes, uses two crutches and has numerous other health problems. But ATOS has judged her to be fit for work. Luton Rights will do all they can to help the couple but the couple’s stark summary of their prospects was that they were “Too poor to live, and too poor to die”, as they live hand to mouth and have no means of paying for plain but dignified funerals. But Luton has attitude and it has strong communities. Its people are determined to help themselves, and mostly this means the poor helping the poor, such that those in need help those in even greater need. We met Sanum at the newly launched Luton Food Bank where she and 30 volunteers gather, sort and allocate food parcels, which are then distributed from 5 collection points. I have never seen so much breakfast cereal, but that is great, because the food bank already has hundreds of users, all of who are referred from specialist agencies in the community. Sanum and the volunteer’s good humour, good will and positive can-do attitude was a welcome antidote to the stories of hard times that we heard by the bus. But when I asked about the impact of impending changes to welfare benefits, including the introduction of welfare Universal Credit she said, “there is a storm of need coming our way in the next few months”.
Nightmare images of hunger, poverty and deprivation are emerging as the Trade Union Congress tours Britain gathering evidence of life in austerity Britain. Its “austerity uncovered” bus arrived in Liverpool today on the third day of its two-week tour. People have already offered up first-hand testimonies of the appalling effects of the policies being implemented by the Tories and their Lib-Dem accomplices. The bus called first at Liverpool’s dockland Echo Arena, where public-service union Unison is holding its annual conference. Hundreds of delegates gathered to welcome the bus, along with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson. Workers queued up to tell stories of hardship.
Among them was care worker Joan Pritchard-Jones from Bolton in Lancashire. The Unison convener said: “We’ve got home-care workers who by the third week of the month have no money for petrol to do their jobs, and that is regular. I ring the manager and explain and the manager says: ‘Tell them to just come to work and I’ll give them a walking programme.’
“People are living in fear of not having enough money to live on week-to-week. It’s appalling. Our members are living in poverty. Our members are going to food banks. It’s an absolute disgrace. And people are in fear of their jobs. Jobs have gone but the work is still there to be done by those that are left.”
The bus and TUC team left the docks for Kirkby and a visit to the town’s unemployed centre. It has been in operation since 1981, when it opened to help people thrown out of work by the Thatcher government’s wrecking of industry. Today it’s as busy as ever – but the job of helping people is even more difficult than in the 1980s because of the extreme government attacks on Britain’s benefit system, in particular the vicious bedroom tax. Hundreds of victims turn to the centre for help every week. Lynne Dempsey has been a money advice worker at the centre for 18 years.
“Since April there has been a change to the climate, particularly with the bedroom tax,” she said. “There are clear cases of people who cannot afford to pay it and it’s difficult for me to advise them what to do about paying their rent when they don’t have enough money for food. Last week for example there was a client who had not eaten for a number of weeks and he’d lost 16 pounds in weight. The reason he hadn’t eaten was that he had been paying the rent – he didn’t want to get into arrears.”
MAYOR OF LIVERPOOL
ROBERT EXELL TALKING ABOUT THE BEDROOM TAX
BEN RAPIER, BRANCH ORGANISER AT NEWPORT PASSPORT OFFICE
TIM ROACHE GMB UNION SPEAKING IN HALIFAX
PAUL CLAY CWU REGIONAL SECRETARY SPEAKING IN NEWCASTLE ABOUT ROYAL MAIL
So, the people have spoken…but will the government listen?
The Baron cracks his feudal whip once again. He’s determined to keep us poor . Is this the reason why I wonder http://wp.me/p3mYc5-88