Who is saying there should be NO benefit cuts in the next Parliament?

There is an auction taking place on the size of the welfare cuts to be imposed in the next 5 years.   The Tories are arguing for £30bn cuts in the first 2 years to 2017-8 via no tax rises, £12bn in welfare cuts, £5bn in extra corporate tax evasion revenues, and bigger departmental cuts (up to £17bn).   The LibDems accept the overall £30bn target set by the Tories, but propose to reach it by £6bn in higher taxes, £6bn by clamping down on corporate tax evasion, £12bn in departmental cuts, and £3.5bn in welfare cuts.   The Labour party has not explained in detail how it would reach its target of eliminating the structural deficit by 2019-20, though the cuts would be less than under the Tories and confined to current expenditure, not capital expenditure.   Nobody is saying that there should be no welfare cuts in the next 5 years.   But they should be, for several strong reasons.

First, it is iniquitous to impose on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society – namely the 13.5m people living in households below the official poverty line (60% of median incomes) – huge further burdens when they are already living so precariously on the edge of the abyss, and especially when they had no responsibility whatever for the financial crash which is allegedly the cause behind this whole decade of austerity.   Second, it is egregiously harsh to concentrate further savings heavily on welfare cuts when no tax increases are being imposed at all, letting the richest completely off the hook.

Third, there is no a big song and dance about where exactly Osborne’s further £12bn welfare cuts are going to come from, and with good reason.   Leaving aside the £93bn devoted to pensions and pension credit which Osborne has said he won’t touch, how then will he chop £12bn off the remaining £74bn of the UK’s total welfare bill?   Housing allowances cost £18bn and have been rising fast, but that’s because far too few houses are being built and anyway the benefit goes entirely to private landlords; excluding young people from the allowance, as is mooted, will not save anything remotely near £12bn.   Both DLA and ESA pay out £13bn a year, but to disabled people and those with long-term illnesses, and the government’s callous attempts to cut their numbers drastically by Atos declaring them fit for work has already run into the sands.   So what is left?   JSA, the government’s favourite target, only accounts for £3.6bn, and at £72.40 a week this unemployment benefit is already almost the lowest in Europe and so meagre that it’s difficult to survive on.

Nobody, but nobody, is saying, not just that further major welfare cuts won’t work, but rather that it’s the wrong policy.   Contracting the economy further, and at such a huge human price, is self-defeating.   It won’t even begin to make any significant contribution to cutting a deficit still stuck at £92bn.    The real way, the only way, to escape this endless recession is to break with further cuts and grow the economy though public investment to kickstart sustainable growth, raise household incomes, increase government tax receipts, and pay down the deficit much faster.

8 thoughts on “Who is saying there should be NO benefit cuts in the next Parliament?

  1. Cuts why the poor ninty nine percent who aint rich pay their taxes but that one percent dont so making them pay has we do is a start plugging that gap taking back control of all the private contracts awarded by these crooks back into government hands this would allow more people to be employed more paying tax and stop the big yanky companies taking monies offshore has now the council’s and government’ has control cuts yes to their offshore accounts making it illegal and jail those crooks in power now they damaged britain killed the sick disabled and mentaly ill shamefully you all allowed it under the banner of austerity but you and your erk didnt justice for the poor jeff3

  2. “Who is saying there should be NO benefit cuts in the next Parliament?” Well, as far as I know, you’re the only one! Going by your previous articles on inequality and your parliamentary debate of a few months ago you perfectly understand how bad inequality is, not just for the poorest in our society but also for the country, due to the detrimental effect it has on society in general and also on the economy.

    The Tories just don’t want to know and, judging from the latest polls, what the Liberals say or think hardly seems to matter. The problem, however, is Labour.

    Time and time again, I come across people who have always voted Labour in the past but say they will not do so at this general election, because they feel let down and that the party no longer represents people like them; some even think that UKIP does! They no longer feel that Labour are the party of the people, or of workers and of the vulnerable. So they’re looking to the Greens or to UKIP, without realising that even if they do manage to get enough seats to make any difference, they still won’t help the most vulnerable to the extent that Labour could.

    When it comes to welfare, Labour are sitting on the fence, trying to be all things to all people, but I fear they may be failing in this. To the better off people, Labour are still the party that can’t be trusted with the economy, as Cameron keeps on reminding them. We know, this isn’t true, but this seems to be the general perception as Cameron has largely gone unchallenged on this point; Lord knows why!

    However, those near the bottom, who must surely be in a majority, feel that Labour will do nothing to help improve their lives. Rachel Reeves has often been misquoted and quoted out of context, which has reinforced this view. Unfortunately, those at the bottom already feel so very downtrodden and in such a hopeless position, that they fall for these cheap tricks, hook line and sinker!

    This is exactly what the great Tory electoral machine wants to achieve, as these are the people who, if they voted in their vast masses, would get Labour back into government. So Labour needs to do everything they can to get these voters back.

    The best way to tackle welfare is to make it redundant, by stimulating the economy, creating jobs and improving funding to the NHS which, at the moment, due to cost cutting, is unbelievably refusing or cutting treatment to some people who, if treated properly, could be in a position to return to work and contribute to society. Also capping rents, which as you so rightly say, is welfare money that goes into the pockets of landlords.

    In the meantime, people need to have enough money to live on, as poverty is making them ill, which in turn is costing society even more. Many have died, through cold, neglect, suicide and even starvation!! This is completely unacceptable here, in the 5th largest world economy. The people responsible should be tried in a court of law; I’d really like to see this happen in reality. I think there may be a case pending in the European Court of Human Rights.

    Today, I had a chat with the owner of my local paper shop, a short distance form where I live but it’s surrounded by council houses. He told me his takings have halved since he first took over some years ago. He still has the same number of customers, but they only buy the bare essentials, because they have no money to spend on anything extra. A prime example of how poverty is bad for the economy.

    Surely, in this day and age of computers and vast information, it would be possible to find out just how many people are hovering just above or below the poverty line. Should they form the majority, then Labour should do all they can to appeal to them and obtain their votes.

    Other people would still vote Labour as they realise the importance of the NHS to everyone, even those who are better off. Articles/ adverts need to appear explaining how inequality is so very bad for everyone, and not just the very poorest. People with money don’t want to lose it, so perhaps pointing out that the crime rate is escalating (which I’m sure it must be) would also strike a chord with them.

    When the situation here deteriorated in the early 1970s and the Tories were in power under Ted Heath, my family actually emigrated!! I eventually returned, and no longer have the possibility of leaving the country, so I, and many, many others, desperately need Labour to win the next election!

  3. If further cuts are made to benefits there will not be anyone left, accept the rich! People are struggling to survive and provide for their children already any more cuts would be savage. It is crazy, people on income support with children are being dragged into try and force them to work too. These people are not ‘worthy’ to employ because they are inflexible with their hours!! Benefits are there to help those in need of it disabled, people who have fallen on hard times, parents who are struggling financially. Yet piece by piece they’re being stripped away with sanctions!!! The Tories are evil and deserve to be tried for their crimes, against the people and against this country, in a European Court of Human Rights and they should be charged with at the very least manslaughter!

  4. “Unfortunately, those at the bottom already feel so very downtrodden and in such a hopeless position, that they fall for these cheap tricks, hook line and sinker! ”

    Speak for yourself, personally I’m angry as hell.

    Once again that all too familiar prejudice, that being on low income or being on benefits equates with a lack of education and critical faculty and that the reason that we wont be voting for Miliband’s sleazy post socialist Tory party, (the Tories in drag as it were,) is that we’re all much too stupid to realize we’re being conned ?

    I’d actuality argue that quite the opposite is in fact the case; many people that I know are looking to Milliband and at his sticky fingered mates and seeing them for exactly what they are, just another bunch of right wing Tory spivs all but completely indistinguishable in practice from Cameron’s equally repellent and dishonest bunch in every single important respect.

    But too move on, much as I despise IDS, (and whole discredited Thatcher social legacy,) he nonetheless still has a point about the benefit system which is a mess and was much in need of reform and rationalization, (unfortunately as with NHS; in both the Tory and the Conservative lexicon, reform is simply another synonym for abolition,) a mess which is also a legacy of the Blair Profligacy and of the lunacy, (and hubris,) that arose; as historically it always will, during last financial bubble, (“an end to boom bust,” really?)

    I speak as someone currently dependent of befits.

    Everyone living in the UK should always have a guarantee of having somewhere to live and enough to live on with a modicum of dignity and particularly those people who have the misfortune to be physically or mentally disabled and/or unable to work

    But IDS is right in so much as someone in work should almost always be better off financially than someone claiming benefits, (and I fully understand the resentment of many working people who see benefits as lifestyle choice or as an overgenerous free ride, but the real problem isn’t the unemployed; it’s unemployment,) but that is really a problem, arising as much out out low wages and insecure employment and the current depression, (walking through Oldham, I can see little if any sign of a financial recovery taking place,) as out of the deficiencies of our benefit system.

    But the UK is country that currently gives away about £14 billion in foreign aid, (through various dodgy scams being administered first and foremost for their own benefit by the usual suspects; Miliband and Cameron’s friends, colleagues and hangers on and partners,) whilst poorest and most vulnerable people here in the UK are now regularly being robbed of even their most basic and fundamental right to shelter and subsistence and are regularly being sent off to bloody food banks or out to beg or steal or worse; almost without comment from Labor’s own millionaire elite.

    This is not socialism, this is not social justice this not even, “fair,” yet the same people who want to form the next British government are all completely indifferent to it, are even supportive of it.

    Personally since the next election is pretty much a busted flush anyway, which ever bunch of right wing tossers actually wins, (and I refuse to endorse the current Labor party simply because the other lot will be even worse still, when personally I can’t see a mote of difference between them,) perhaps the only remotely positive outcome left might be the complete collapse of the Labor vote, (which is happening already,) forcing them to dump all this middle class right wing progressive neoliberal crap and to regroup under a genuinely socialist, (even a Marxist,) umbrella as has now happened in Greece.

  5. Well said Mr Weston. I concur. As a pensioner, with no supplemental income, life is difficult to say the least. One example only will I give: No matter the temperatures, there is no possibility of switching our heating system on more than once a day. Such is the legacy of rogue consensus government in Great Britain. Greed has almost run its course, so that now the good cops and the bad cops must change roles.

    Voting is a confidence trick of course. Always has been. To vote, one must “REGISTER”. Registration of any kind with GovCorp is the Act of giving your responsibility to the state. “registering” to vote is how GovCorp presumes your “Consent” to be Governed, policed, fined, pay taxes, placed in prison by courts etc. Registering ones child has the same outcome: It is what gives GovCorp the right to steal your child through the agency of of beloved SS. One has to “register” to get medical help from ones GP. Or to send ones’ child to school. Caveat Emptor, always.

    Democracy? Freedom? In a country where fines are levied by camera? Where Bailiffs can seize your wealth to pay unlawful fines and taxes? Where one is watched everywhere by Electronic surveillance cameras: Too unlawfull. Banks impersonating Courts. Local Council using illegitimate “court” documents and fraudulently impersonating courts to publish liability orders. Labour, Lib Dem, Tory partys have supported this obscene illusion for centuries; If under different names. I believe these political entities are become inelectable for the reason that the establish through its actions have become indistuingible from organised crime syndicates. If this sounds too strong, I am sorry. But if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like duck………

    Words are important too. Parliament? Mmmm just roll that around. Feel the history. The great men: And yes there were some of those. But the word Parliament derived from the French words: parle/parlez and ment. This literally means: Speak Lies. Hmm…Establish ment?

    Well, anyway. Britain needs something radical. An end to party politics would be a start. MP’s insofar as they are any use at all (sorry Mr Meacher) are supposed to Re-Present the will of their constituents in Parle Ment, not the Party line. I also believe (besides throwing our dynastic banksters in prison) that after an election the winner must sign a binding contract with his/her constituency leaders to accept “immediate recall and dismissal for failing to so Re-Present his constituents. Real accountability: Not an election after five years of unlawful wars for banks and corporations, with political clones in all three or four or however many parties are extant. Too an end to the aforementioned foreign aid budget, which I personally view as a slush fund to bribe foreign politicians on behalf the same banksters and corporates our armed forces now seem to operate on behalf of.

    FACT: Before Afghanistan Opium production was close to zero.

    Now? Production under NATO’s tender care production of “refined” opiates including Heroine is at all time records. And, conveniently, much of goes through Kosovo! Ching Ching…Ringing any bells.

    Well that will do. I could go on all day, and it is so depressing writing this dirge for our country and our Nation and our people.

  6. Harry-

    Have you claimed the Warm Home Discount; it’s an award of £140 to people on low income to help offset the cost of electricity during the winter/spring that you have register for and claim from your electricity supplier, (we get it and my wife’s just got it for one our neighbors who was in a similar position to you,) it’s been life saver, (literally.)

    I think it’s now closed for this year, but you still need to register for next.

    Also, we have electricity and gas meters, (pay as you go,) which are brilliant for budgeting and allow us to build up a descent amount of credit when the weather is warm against the cold periods when as you say it;s impossible otherwise to keep the house heated, (which my wife who is in more or less constant pain depends on on.)

    If I’m telling you stuff that you already know I apologize, but there is some help there and you sound as if you’d qualify, but claiming it can be a bit of nightmare sometimes.

  7. Harry-

    Also, (and we were a bit snotty and indignant when OMBC insisted on this as a pre-condition of us receiving the discretionary grant to cover the bedroom tax,) we recently had to attended a debt counseling/review with the Citizens Advice Bureau; which was actually an extremely useful exercise, not just for us, (I had thrift and economy driven into me as a child by two able and disciplined women; who had survived 2 wars, rationing and the great depression,) but perhaps indirectly, even more so as well for some of the people we know who have various problems with debt/low/unreliable income.

    They’ll walk you through what you’re spending your money on and make you think critically about it and then offer some, (not all of it by any means, helpful,) suggestions about what you might want to change and advice about contacting other people and organizations about any, (not much, but some,) additional help and support that may be available to you as as well.

    Worth checking out ?

  8. Who’s arguing for no cuts to benefits? Well, the Green Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru all are.

    Sadly Labour are falling for the Right Wing trap of pledging not to accept support from these true socialist parties under the banner of “Nationalism” – that SNP (and likely PC next) are committed to destroying the Union, and therefore should be sidelined. The real reason the likes of the Murdoch press and Conservatives want these parties to be ignored by Labour is that it makes Labour less likely to be able to form a majority coalition, and lets Cameron in through the back door!

    What Labour should be doing is considering why these parties are gaining more support (Scotland, Wales and England outside of the SE are suffering under Westminster “London centric” rule), and work with these parties to make them feel like they are part of the Union after all, rather than vassals to the almighty City. Moving Parliament out of London might help, and would enable the repairs to Westminster Palace to be carried out, after which it could be turned into a tourist attraction?

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