Austerity officially started with the Tory-led coalition in 2010. We were told to live within our means as we knuckled down to the new economic reality as one big family keeping an eye on the almost empty purse, because we were ‘all in it together.’ And as we know, the 2008 Crash was always the fault of the little people.
Has it really only been seven years? I ask because such financial hardships have really taken their toll; it feels a lot longer. Peter Dowd MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, commenting on TUC research which has revealed one in eight workers skip meals to make ends meet, said recently: “This is yet further devastating evidence of the consequences of seven years of the Conservatives’ mismanagement of our economy which has left many people struggling to afford basic necessities.'' He was only warming to his theme. “While the Conservatives are running an economy rigged for an elite few and failing to tackle tax avoidance, Labour will stand up for the many and put more money in people’s pockets by introducing a £10 an hour Real Living Wage, scrapping the public sector pay cap and reducing household bills by bringing key public services and utilities back into public hands.“
Alongside the 13% going without food and 17% having to brave the cold, the TUC/GQR ‘mega poll’ revealed a quarter of workers would be unable to stump up for an unexpected £500 bill. It's a fair assessment in today's Britain, with many families devoid of savings compared to when we last had a left-wing Labour government. Furthermore, the holiday season would once see packed seaside coastlines at this time of year, filled with holiday makers from all parts of the country enjoying time away from work. Where do they go now? More to the point, can families afford a two-week break in the way they once did?
McDonalds workers, 'We're Strikin' It!': Read the Provocateur article by clicking this link!
The union say research that they have carried out shows while real wages in the UK have fallen since 2008, they rose across Europe. Labour has branded the findings "devastating". And of those that could pay, one in five (22%) say they would have to go into debt or sell something. The poll of more than 3000 working adults also found that nearly half (44%) have fears over whether they will meet basic household expenses, such as food, transport and energy. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said of the findings: “When you come home from a long day at work, you shouldn’t have to worry whether you can afford to eat. Having a job should provide you with a decent life, but it’s not even covering the basics for many.
“Ten years on from the crash, working families are on a financial cliff edge. Pay packets are worth less and less, but bills keep rising, and personal debt is at crisis levels. The government’s inaction must not last. Ministers can raise wages by scrapping public sector pay restrictions, investing to create great jobs across the country, and increasing the minimum wage.”
Meanwhile a third (36%) think cost of living pressures are worsening, while 17% have pawned something in the last year because they were short of money. A survey of over 3,200 workers for the TUC also found almost half are worried about meeting basic household expenses, such as food, transport and energy, and a third believe the cost of living pressures are getting worse.
Chunkymark (The Artist Taxi Driver) 'AKA' Mark McGowan explains what Britain really needs is a pay rise!
Speaking at a recent session of Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May said the government’s focus was on “tackling the root causes of poverty”. She said ministers would be “looking at” the proposals put forward by Labour MP Frank Field’s bill to provide free meals to poorer children who may go hungry in the holidays because of the absence of school lunches. But then “looking at” probably means “was aware of, but ignored.” She added: "We see record levels of employment under this government; that’s why this is so important, ensuring we get a strong economy and those jobs." Ah yes, a strong economy and high employment. The delusion continues.
May also refers to ‘workless families’, so you might be forgiving for thinking those families might be otherwise 'work-shy' or involve the ‘great unwashed' who neither want to work, nor will be interested in working. What about those families where the parents are disabled and simply cannot work? We mentioned some time ago our concerns via an article entitled Holiday Hunger whilst Parliament was in recess. It's good to know the point wasn't missed by politicians, but please, just do something about it instead of doing nothing! We hold our collective breaths as we wait. Why do we bother? We pretty much know the outcome.
The utter contempt of Theresa May to suggest the Conservative government are doing something about the root causes of poverty whilst putting people through endless assessments at the bequest of the DWP is, I find, staggering to say the least. Her ministers can look all they like; they may even find ways to strangle and stifle families even further, and we already know that most of Fleet Street will just bang their anti-poverty drum and defend the government time and again. It’s contempt (and dare I say it ‘class war’) on a grand scale, and there’s no attempt to even disguise it.
Jeremy Corbyn is the antidote to the venomous, slithering poison that are conservative policies. He is presently the head of the only political party who can put an end to pathetic self-serving attitudes from politicians who think more of representing corporations than they do of representing the people. And as the Tories tear themselves apart in a mad quest for power, Corbyn looks on patiently, a prime minister in waiting, watching the whole unedifying spectacle of a government not so much scraping the barrel, but digging further down for new barrels to unearth. Austerity is a lie. Corbyn knows it, and he knows the Tories know it.
The government has been seen through, just as its biggest (and richest) cheerleaders in the press have also been seen through, and so we have the sight of them floundering together, two for the price of one. After seven years of this, they both know their number is up, but still fumble around, as if in oarless boats on a lake, their hulls taking on alarming amounts of water as they try and change into their most patriotic union flag underwear, their glances fixed in despair.
Dave Beamish for Political Provocateur