The answer is George Osborne, his parents, and everyone he knows. The same could be said about David Cameron, Nick Clegg, David Miliband and even Nigel Farage. And that is the reason why high earners with whopping savings are now presented as the norm in the UK – and the only people that matter to all of the main political parties.
The reality is that the average weekly wage is just over £500 a week, which doesn’t leave much room for an ISA if that’s all a family has to live on. Around 5 million people are paid below the living wage, and another five million or so live from hand to mouth on meagre benefits. Nearly six and a half million households – that’s families not individuals – have incomes so low they qualify for Working or Child Tax Credits and the vast majority are in full time work. Four million older people qualify for Pension Credit – the subsistence benefit paid to the poorest pensioners.
There was nothing in last week’s budget for the poorest: the families queuing at foodbanks, or disabled people living in fear of the next Atos assessment. Osborne’s decision in 2012 to impose a cut on in-work benefits by pegging annual rises below inflation means that low income workers have been effectively locked out of seeing any extra money from raising the income tax threshold.
The poorest pensioners, either now or in the future, will not see any benefit from pension reform. Those without annuities, who struggle to afford a train ticket let alone a Lamborghini, will not be a penny better off due to Osborne’s changes. Many will see a cut in their incomes from April as housing benefits, now also pegged below inflation, mean they have less money to pay soaring rents – a cut that has received little media attention and could lead to over 200,000 pensioners facing possible homelessness.
Half the country is now being written off, fobbed off and abandoned simply because they don’t have enough money. The entire political class and the rich they serve now just see us as either hard-working mugs or thieving scroungers. And they couldn’t give a fuck which, as long as the distinction keeps us at each other’s throats. Unemployment keeps wages low, competition for jobs ferocious and a steady supply of low paid skivvies to empty their bins and wipe their arses. The largest bulk of the benefits bill goes to landlords, whilst much of the rest props up low wages. Most of the spending on social security finds its way back into the pockets of the rich one way or the other.
The latest divisive trick is to talk of generational conflict as the reason why so many young people have little to look forward in the future. You’re poor because your parents spent all the money laugh the chortling toffs as they light another cigar. The youth are out of control and too lazy to work they whisper to the older generation – not like you, salt of the earth types, here have a game of fucking Bingo on the cheap.
But this is not generational conflict anymore than it is about skivers versus strivers – this is class war and last week’s budget shows that. The poorer you are the less you get whilst those at the top are given hand outs and tax cuts. We are all being fucked over, young or old, working or not working. Never has it been more important that we recognise that, and never more vital that we escalate the fight back against all these attacks – together.
Since I’m on the subject, the new Class War election website is now up and running.
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