Idealogical driven slash and burn of public services and the welfare state

The twelve tax dodgers of Christmas

The twelve tax dodgers of Christmas

 We're not closing in on the undeclared income of Starbucks


We’re not closing in on the undeclared income of Starbucks

Awful autumn budget statement: £1 billion for more roads, cutting fuel duty instead of rail and bus fares, plus massive dash for gas. — FoE Birmingham

Scrapping fuel duty rise will cost Govt £1.5 billion a year – would rather see that put into cheaper rail fares and poverty reduction. — Caroline Lucas MP

We are are to have austerity for the foreseeable future and yet the fiscal hole far from shrinking, is growing bigger. What is going on?

What is going on is smoke and mirrors and highly misleading commentary, that simply parrots the official party line.

The fiscal hole is not shrinking because it is a useful tool to be used for an idealogical driven slash and burn of public services and welfare spending.

Spending on welfare, roughly 2-3% on those out of work, roughly half on pensions. You would not know that from the cuts to people who are on Job-seeker Allowance.

A freeze in payments for the next three years is a cut.

Unemployment pay used to be linked to average earnings, it also used to be linked to a different measure of inflation. These two changes mean that over a period of ten years, unemployment pay as compared with average pay, is half what it would otherwise have been.

Inflation does not accurately measure the expenditure of those on low income. A higher proportion goes on non-discretionary eexpenditure, fuel, food, heating, which has risen far faster than the rate of inflation.

Many people are faced with a stark choice, heat or eat. The poor do not have a choice, they are already struggling.

It is not simply, find a job, when there are no jobs, and many of those jobs that do exist are seeing a worsening situation in pay and conditions for those at the bottom.

Starbucks is forcing its staff to sign a new contract that leaves them worse off. Asda is forcing its shop floor staff to sign a new contract that forces them to accept compulsory overtime.

Those who are unemployed are being ‘helped’ back into work. Real help provides those who are unemployed with high quality training or transferable skills, puts them in a stronger position to apply for work that may be available.

The welfare to work and workfare companies are parasitical companies that feed off the flesh of the unemployed and cost the taxpayer millions. They do not even meet the abysmally low target set by government of six months in full time employment for those who are ‘helped’ into work.

Unemployed are being forced to work for companies like Primark for nothing, or risk losing their benefits.

Homelessness is rising – cutting housing benefits for under 25s and a freeze on benefits will force more people on the streets and/or into crime. The benefit cuts announced today in the Autumn Statement (a budget in any other name) need to be added to those already in the pipeline and about to kick in.

Already we have a sharp increase in people reliant on food banks or dependent upon what they can scavenge out of skips and dustbins.

For the disabled their benefits are not to be cut. There is no need, Atos can be relied upon to kick them off their benefits even if at death’s door. The head of Atos has recently received a £1 million bonus.

Meanwhile tax dodgers get off Scot free. If they were pursued with the same rigour that Atos bastardizes the disabled, there would be no fiscal hole.

Every day rich companies and individuals avoid £68,000,000 in tax. That’s a lot of public spending they’re stealing.

The government must end its softly softly approach to tax dodgers, scrap its proposed ‘anti-abuse rule’ and instead introduce a General Anti-Avoidance Principle to give HMRC a powerful tool to tackle tax avoidance, and make the UK’s tax regime one that is based on fairness, rather than its attractiveness to multinational companies.

Yet another tax dodger has been outed. Tui (owners of Thomson and First Choice) paid no corporation tax in UK last year. This despite it crowing about having a year of “many successes”, and with an 8% leap in underlying pre-tax profits to £390 million.

Increase in fuel duty to be scrapped. If there was money to spare, it should have gone on public transport, to give people a real choice to using the car.

People sometimes question why the foreign aid budget is sacrosanct, not recognising that there are people worse off than ourselves. But that is not why it is sacrosanct. It is sacrosanct because it is another mechanism to syphon money off into the coffers of corporations.

Is Wal-Mart a suitable recipient of foreign aid for climate change?

The dash for gas does not lead to a greener economy or de-carbonise the economy.

If you are feeling angry, then so you should be, there are alternatives, it is just that they are not on the table, let alone being discussed.

The way to express your anger is to join the Occupation of Starbucks on Saturday, where you will meet with like-minded people. If there is not an occupation organised for your local Starbucks, then get together with your friends and help organise one.

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