|Sarah Teather stood against the BUB|
Last night the headsman's axe fell missed the target and hacked at the body rather than a clean slice through the neck. This Government has taken a step to far in freezing benefit rise.
Don't get me wrong, there are elements of this bill that I think are just and fair. For example drawing a line where income exceeds a certain point and then scaling back child allowance, tax credits etc.
Boris Johnson was quoted as saying that he could have spent his child allowance etc on expensive holidays and champagne and estimated that his wife had received around £50k over the years for their children. Although a flippant remark, it is illustrative of the point that certain incomes don't require assistance. The level the government have is using is £50k PA which seems a fair amount to begin scaling back but it is also arbitrary in the fact that if ONE parent is earning 50K then they are eligible but two parents earning £49K each are not eligible - this is madness!
Although I do not subscribe to the scroungers vs. Strivers point that Iain Duncan Smith has put out on the whole, I do agree that such a "Scrounger" culture exists - just not in the scale that the Government and especially the DWP are suggesting. Moreover I think that the Government should go through an extended process of reform and legislation to combat this culture, the minority of people, and get them in work. Instead of cutting out the tumour with careful incisions they have attacked the whole damn system like Leather face in Texas Chainsaw massacre and everyone has been hit.
It seemed fair to us to distribute some of the pain in a more equitable way.
I agree, I also agree that the welfare bill cannot be insulated and should not be insulated. The problem is the way this bill seems to go about it.
Statutory Paternity/Maternity pay, Sick pay, Jobseeker's allowance, income support, family tax credits, adoption leave pay, couple and loan parent allowances - all frozen at a 1% rate in line with the public sector pay freeze of 1%.
Sounds fair... it isn't.
Inflation is still higher than 1% a year which means, before you get out of the blocks you are already losing when prices go up by inflation. You are then penalised if enterprising companies decide to make a little extra ON TOP of inflation. Look at train fare rise for example at RPI +1 or Sophie's nursery bill which went up by 5% and yet my pay stays at going up by 1% a year and now, the Child tax credits that low income families like mine rely on to help pay the way are also getting frozen at a 1% PA.
According to the IFS if the groups were sorted all of the groups were equal in size the averages work out thusly:
The lowest earning 10% will see 1.6% of their income lost,
Those on £9k a year will lose 1.67% (£150s a year)
The richest 10% will only see 0.03% of their income lost --> This percentage isn't entirely clear as the richest 10%, the Rio Ferdinand and Boris Johnson's of the UK earn so much that they aren't always eligible for certain benefits like income support and earn so much that the 0.03% is lost in a sea of other income.
Low income families are dependent on these little wavers of help from the government - it gives freedom to live and do things, spend money on other goods that generate VAT like days out, more expensive food stuff, alcohol or Cigarettes, electronics etc. The Government need the people to spend money to help the economy. Our family put the child tax credits straight into the nursery fund which alleviates the pressure from our wages and gives us financial freedom to take the children out, buy things for their education like books and educational toys, or to treat ourselves and for both of us to WORK. I don't remember the last time Sam and I went out to dinner, just the two of us because we simply can't afford it.
Those at the bottom are getting crushed by those who do not know what it is like to live at the bottom, £150s a year doesn't sound like much but that extra £10 is a lot when you don't have it. People are going to find themselves priced out of simple things and the only winners will be budget supermarkets and charity shops as people tighten their belts even further into a Warlike rationing or Victorian lifestyle of wage slavery, working under the lash of our betters until we fall into the dust.
It also further gets up my nose that some MPs are still working the expenses system (Helen Grant is an example) and getting away Scot free yet those of us who go to work and have always worked are getting screwed over by having our much needed support held back.
I'm also further disappointed that my party didn't stand up on this, other than Sarah Teather,(Read her comments as to why here) Julian Huppert, John Leech and David Ward with abstentions from Andrew George, Charles Kennedy and Adrian Saunders. We are supposed to be the listening party and this time the pleas of countless people across the UK and in communities such as Gillingham and Chatham where the average wage is well below £20K people are getting forgotten and ignored. Hard workers have been whitewashed as "Scroungers." In a very Victorian discipline;
The Innocent will suffer with the guilty.
When you can't run you walk, when you can't walk you limp and when you can't do that you need someone to carry you and that is where the Welfare system should come and help - those who can't keep up (though not those who won't).