Benefit cuts

Clearing the poor away

Issue section: 
Author: 

With the poorest set to suffer most from cuts, Danny Dorling looks at the damage the spending review will do to the lives of millions.

The comprehensive spending review announced the start of a new era of engineered social polarisation: a further separation of the lives, hopes, homes and chances of rich and poor.

One of the first announcements was that new tenants of council and other social housing will now have to pay at least 80 percent of market prices in rent. At one stroke millions of low paid families are to be excluded from living in hundreds of towns, cities and villages where they no longer earn enough to "deserve" to be.

Tories declare war

Issue section: 
Author: 

The Con-Dem coalition has launched an all-out assault on the public sector and the welfare state in the name of reducing the budget deficit. What will be the impact of these austerity measures? Judith Orr looks at the risk of a double dip recession - and the possibilities of resistance.

It started with the banks going bust and ended up with closing playgrounds. Or as Tory education secretary Michael Gove put it, "Play has to make its contribution to tackling the deficit." Today the economic crisis is being played out in the lives and meagre budgets of millions of ordinary people in Britain as the sheer scale of attacks planned by the government starts to become concrete.

Work makes you free?

Issue section: 

"In our new welfare contract our message is simple. Do the right thing and we will back you all the way but fail to take responsibility and the free ride is over" - A New Welfare Contract, the Conservative Party (2010).

Just over 100 days in office and the brutality of the coalition government towards disabled people has been relentless. Much of the Tory welfare reform agenda is "a chronicle of a death foretold" but the speed of implementation and the scale of the proposed reforms have been breathtaking.

Brutal budget to entrench inequality

Issue section: 
Author: 

The first budget of the "progressive" coalition government saw George Osborne promise massive cuts for the poorest in society while offering tax relief for businesses, writes Danny Dorling.

George Osborne - flanked by two Liberal Democrats - spoke with the confidence that you would expect of a man with the pedigree of aristocracy. David Cameron had positioned himself behind Osborne so that the camera could not see him as the chancellor gave out the bad news. Thus "Dave" was nowhere to be seen as the axe was wielded across the welfare state, or when it was announced that VAT was to be increased to 20 percent or that poor pregnant women would have the special benefits being paid to them cut. Dave's wife is pregnant.

Budget is "Vintage Thatcher"

Issue section: 
Author: 

The budget was a big gamble for the ruling class. The government has gone on an all out assault against the working class.

They want to shift the burden of the crisis, with great speed and thoroughness, onto the shoulders of the most vulnerable in society. Derek Simpson, leader of the Unite union, called it "Vintage Thatcher" and even Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf described it as a "bloodbath".

Osborne's references to protecting the poorest were pathetic sops to the supposed sensitivities of the Lib Dems - whose collusion made this onslaught possible. They also say everything about where Osborne thinks public opinion is.

Axe finally falls in Tory budget

Issue section: 
Author: 

"The Tories can reduce the deficit without a rise in VAT," boasted George Osborne to the Daily Telegraph on 6 April. "The plans we set out involved around 80 percent of the work coming from spending restraint... The tax increases are already in place and the plans do not include an increase in VAT."

Honesty was clearly not a prerequisite to securing the keys to 11 Downing Street. But then history is merely repeating itself. In 1979 the then Tory chancellor Geoffrey Howe declared, "We have absolutely no intention of doubling VAT." Strictly speaking, Howe did not lie. VAT did not quite double, as it went up from 8 percent to 15 percent.

The making of a cutters' coalition

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

To their dismay, the Tories failed to win a majority in the election, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. Labour was not wiped out, and, despite losing seats, Nick Clegg led the Lib Dems into government with Cameron's Tories. Dan Mayer analyses the coalition that no one voted for.

The general election will be remembered as the election nobody won.

It was supposed to be the Conservative Party's triumphant return to power. Backed by Rupert Murdoch and the City of London, facing the tired and unpopular Gordon Brown, David Cameron was supposed to fulfil his Etonian destiny by effortlessly sweeping into Number 10.

Cuts, war and MPs' expenses: Are we all in it together?

Issue section: 

A poll conducted after the Tory party conference last month showed that they were down one percentage point over the previous month, while Labour was up three points.

So they received none of the usual boost that the high media profile and set piece speeches give these parties after their conferences, in fact the opposite.

I'm not surprised. Telling everyone that they are going to have to work a year longer before they get a pension is hardly popular. Nor is the constant refrain that cuts in the public sector, of both jobs and services, are absolutely necessary to overcome the budget deficit.

Britain's recession - the cuts out of the bag

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The current bickering between the three major parties about cuts in public spending started with accusations being tossed between them over who was going to make the cuts and who wasn't. But now consensus has been reached.

The argument between all three parties has now shifted to abstract discussions of semantics: Peter Mandelson says the Tories will bring "savage cuts" and the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg boasted of his own preference for "savage cuts" at his party conference. The Tories, meanwhile, have been openly bragging to their rich friends about what they will do to reduce spending.

Freudian slips

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The desertion of New Labour's welfare reform adviser Sir David Freud to the Tories highlighted how little there is to choose between the main parties' policies.

Freud's real expertise (if you can call it that) was as a banker, organising such notable successes as the flotations of Eurotunnel and Railtrack. And as we now know, failure in banking is no barrier to huge earnings. He could retire in his 50s, turning his attention to drafting up welfare reform proposals.

After a mere three weeks' research he announced that most Incapacity Benefit recipients could work, and that private contractors could get the long-term unemployed back to work - if the price was right. He also favoured making claimants work for their benefits.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Benefit cuts