Occasional government U-turns: but only for the rich

It is good to know that the government is considering modifying its ill-informed intention to limit tax reliefs on philanthropic donations.   If the Big Society meant anything substantive whatever, it would never of course have been mooted in the first place.   Now Cameron is thinking again after a ComRes survey found that 90% of Coalition MPs questioned said the government “should do all it can to use the tax system to encourage charitable donations from wealthy donors”.   What a good thing it was wealthy donors whose tax privileges are at issue: if it had been poor families whose survival was being put at risk, it might not have elicited the same concern.   Nor is this just a rhetorical point.

There have been three major back-trackings by this government.   One was over the cutback in child benefit for rich families where Osborne fine-tuned the reduction by phasing it out gradually over a wider range of income rather than at a cliff-face.   Then there was the infamous cutback in the top rate of income tax for the top 1% on more than £3,000 a week.   This retreat on charitable donations is the third.   All combine one key factor: it exclusively benefited the rich.

When it comes to measures that impact instead on poor families, and not just a diminution of their privileges but a real threat to their survival, it’s a very different story.   The cut in housing benefit is expected to lead to the eviction of some 80,000 families from London alone because the tenants will no longer be able to afford the rent demanded.   The budget abolition of working tax credits for anyone working less than 24 hours a week means that people currently receiving these credits for working 18 hours a week will lose them if they can’t get another 6 hours a week employment from their employer, and in current economic conditions that probably means 80% of them will lose out. 

It’s not as though there hasn’t been a hue and cry about the impact that these cutbacks (and many others) will have on family budgets, impoverishing tens of thousands of families and even robbing them of their homes.   But has there been an ounce of easing, let alone elimination, of the harshness of these burdens?   Hardly, these apply exclusively to the poor and they don’t register on the ledger of the Coalition.   This is a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.


2 thoughts on “Occasional government U-turns: but only for the rich

  1. Ed Milliband is finally talking about the mass evictions that are happening up and down the country. My own Councillor and Head of Brighton & Hove Council, Cllr. Jason Kitcat, cannot get responses from Coalition MPs, despite his constant campainging and lobbying about Housing Benefit Caps. I have been campaigning for over 2 years, when my rent increased twice in one year. Caroline Lucas MP was, and is now, the only MP who responded to me.

    I am a victim of these Mass Evictions, caused by caps on Housing Benefit and the demonising of people on benefits of any kind. Yes, there are scroungers, but these are a significant minority, NOT the majority, who have disabilities that prohibits fulltime and occasionally part time employment. Domestic violence injuries interefered with my finding fulltime employment, so took part time, but after 10 years, my damage was found to be degenerative and I could no longer fulfill my duties for which I had retrained, at cost to myself for the full period of my employment.

    Now, after over 14 years in one flat, my landlord has evicted me because he knows I cannot afford the increases in rent that he knows he can charge, due to the pressure on housing. Thousands of landlords are evicting their tenants as they are not prepared to take the chance that caps on benefits will reduce tenants capacity to pay rent. I cannot find a new home independantly as I am physically and financially unable to, even if I could find a landlord to take Housing Benefit, so the Council is forced to help me.

    Evicted just before Christmas, I have only 6 weeks to be rehoused, necessarily losing 2 weeks due to holidays. This is impossible, so I have to allow my landlord to take me to court, for which I have to pay, when I have never been involved in a Court case in my life. These are extra costs that I do not have the money for, so have to be helped by charities again, for which I am immensly grateful. But these charities too, are under major pressure, as Cameron is cutting their funding, which is criminal, as his policies are massively increasing their workload.

    So tell me, how is Cameron saving money, when his policy to cap Housing Benefit is costing more money than can be saved, as charities and councils are having to bail out the thousands of people made homeless?

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