Tag Archives: George Osborne

Remember This? Impoverished Britain:The 1997 Tory Legacy.

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For the last terrible three years we’ve heard David Cameron and George Osborne and every other Tory MP who’s given a chance to speak on TV blame the suffering they’ve brought to millions of us on ‘Labour’s legacy’ of profligate public spending. Even the lily-livered LibDems have echoed this mantra with enthusiasm. Even now, when the evidence against this ridiculous claim has been featured in the more enlightened press and even that neoliberal stalwart, the IMF, has warned Osborne to go easy on austerity, they persist with the myth. And sections of the British public, having heard the lie repeated so often, now believe its true. Meanwhile, instead of defending themselves, the Labour party , particularly Ed Milliband and Ed Balls, have preferred to hang their head in unnecessary shame whenever its hurled their way in Parliament, instead of nailing Cameron and his crew through the heart with the lie. It makes my blood boil!

images (1) Osborne’s  priggish stubbornness in refusing to be diverted from his great Austerity Scam, however, has some very chilling echoes from the not so distant past. Margaret Thatcher was infamous for declaring that ‘there is no alternative’ when challenged about the cruel cuts she presided over when in power. And her words issued forth from the same moral high ground as Osborne’s, blaming the ‘immoral’ behaviour of the working classes for Britain’s failing economic performance. Just as she waged war on the workers by demonising trade unions and destroying the livelihoods of whole communities, so equally does Osborne. aided and abetted by Duncan Smith, whip up hatred for those whose only ‘sin’ is to have inherited the poverty she created, or to be sick and disabled, sometimes as a result of her social destruction.

So_much-by_Blair We’re encouraged to have short memories by those currently in power over us. We’re encouraged to look no farther than the last few years before that power dropped into their pampered laps by a cruel fluke of a flawed electoral system that has allowed a party with only 37% of a diminished vote (how many stayed at home and refused to vote?) to dictate our non-futures. But there is a much longer history to this dire situation we find ourselves in now and its time we remembered it. Watch this video filmed in 1996, before the country elected New Labour in a desperate hope that things would or could change for the better. It will remind you of the real legacy we live with today. This Tory led-by-the-nose government is merely taking up where the last Tory governments were forced to leave off…

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Osborne’s 7 day wait is not a DELAY in payment, it means NO PAYMENT: Saving him £1/4 billion

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I came across this disturbing piece by the Baptist and Methodist Joint Public Issues Team this morning. I’ve reproduced it as it appears on their website here

http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/comprehensive-spending-review-7-days-is-a-long-time-in-poverty/

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Comprehensive Spending Review: 7-days is a long time in Poverty

Posted on 9 July 2013 by Paul Morrison

 It is entirely appropriate that I have waited 7 days before posting a blog on the Comprehensive Spending Review. As part of the increasingly “tough” rhetoric about welfare the main story from the review was a 7-day wait until you can apply for benefits.

As the chancellor put it: “And we’re going to introduce a new seven day wait before people can claim benefits. Those first few days should be spent looking for work, not looking to sign on.

osborne The implication is that unemployed people need to be threatened into looking for a job immediately after being made redundant. What it took some time to come to light, and what was not announced in the speech, was that benefits would not be delayed for 7 days, but rather not paid at all for a 7 day period.  This will take an estimated £1/4 billion a year from the unemployed.

The dispiriting thing about listening to the review was that every crafted phrase played into the myth of the lazy unemployed person who needs to be intimidated into getting off their backside and going to work. People do not need to be forced and threatened into looking for work. The Department for Work and Pensions and many others have strong evidence that people delay claiming benefits as long as possible, that people start their job search quickly, and they tend only to apply for benefit quickly when they have few financial reserves to fall back on. The data is clear but it doesn’t fit the “tough rhetoric” so it is ignored, and the poorest are misrepresented again.

The actual effect of this policy is to exquisitely target the poorest low paid workers – strivers if you buy-into that unpleasant narrative. You may be surprised that such a small measure with take away so much money – £1/4 billion – from the poorest: the reason is the “low-pay no-pay cycle”.

Huge numbers of people go into low paid insecure jobs each year – and huge numbers of people lose those jobs – often many times in a year. It is these people who will lose a week’s benefits every time they transition into and out of work. It is those people who are living hand to mouth trying to stay in work and will find it hugely difficult to save a week’s wages in order to be able to get through their next churn round this nasty cycle. Poverty campaigners are appalled; Wonga should be rubbing its hands together and preparing some more of its characteristic small loans charged at 5853% APR[1].

It is important to note that although only unemployed people were mentioned, when Universal Credit is introduced people seeking help with high rent, disability, sickness or their children’s needs will also have to wait a week.

Although the chancellor said, “We’re doing these things because we know they help people stay off benefits and help those on benefits get back into work faster.” As usual what the minsters “know” about benefit claimants, and what they have evidence to support, bear no relation to each other.


[1] 5853% was the actual rate advertised on the Wonga frontpage 08/09/2013. There is no decimal point.

Isn’t it time we exposed the REAL scroungers?

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We’ve had enough of the lies from Duncan-Smith’s DWP. Now its time for the truth.

truthandlies-twitter-avatarLike so many others I’m sickened by the lies and spin that seem to characterise Iain Duncan-Smith’s DWP public statements about welfare benefit recipients. What’s worse is the way certain sections of the news media, notably the Daily Mail and the Sun reinforce this ‘dog whistle’ politics with aggressive content designed to turn public opinion against the poor. I was appalled to read recently that even Labour supporters were beginning to believe all this evil bullshit.

In view of this, I was more than a little heartened yesterday when I came across an excellent recent report published by The Joint Public Issues Team from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church which identifies six myths propagated by the Coalition government about the nature of the UK’s poor families.

The report entitled “The lies we tell ourselves:ending comfortable myths about poverty” is a thoroughly researched piece and exposes the ideological agenda of a morally bankrupt government in no uncertain terms. In the Executive Summary of the report the Joint Public Issues Team say:-

“The myths exposed in this report, reinforced by politicians and the media, are convenient because they allow the poor to be blamed for their poverty, and the rest of society to avoid taking any of the responsibility. Myths hide the complexity of the true nature of poverty in the UK. They enable dangerous policies to be imposed on whole sections of society without their full consequences being properly examined. This report aims to highlight some comfortable myths, show how they have come to prominence and test them against serious evidence…The reputations of society’s most disadvantaged families became collateral damage in the rush to defend a new policy. Perhaps we are not surprised by this but we should be appalled.”

The full report can be found here  

http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/resources/campaigns/.

In order to publicise their findings and challenge the perceptions of the public which are being fed by the Tory press the Joint Public Issues Team actively encourage people to share their findings and provide a number of graphics which totally blow apart the false picture of families living in poverty which has been painted by the likes of IDS and George Osborne who recently tried to claim that the UK was full of dysfunctional families like the Philpotts who were the products of a ‘benefits lifestyle’. The graphics appear below. Click on each image to amplify. Please share them widely.

benefits3-percent dla drink2 drinkdrugs2 fiddle fraud2 housing-benefit kids

The Welfare Benefits Up-Rating Bill is currently going through parliament and a wide spectrum of church leaders have been lobbying for the government to protect benefits that affect children. As Paul Morrison, a Joint Public Issues blogger said on 13th April:-

“Churches and church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have asked the Government to reconsider and exempt the benefits targeted at children. The Government response to these challenges has been aggressive but failed to address the substantive points or the underlying issues. More troublingly the response is grounded not in robust evidence but in the popular myths about those in poverty and receipt of benefits.”

 I’ve been an atheist for many years and will continue to be one, but I’m impressed that these churches are at last standing up publicly against the government in defence of the many thousands of vulnerable people whose lives and reputations have been torn apart by the pernicious lies emanating from Westminster. Please give them your support.