Robin Hood in reverse…

THIS week sees the biggest attack on the incomes of ordinary people in a generation.

Like Robin Hood in reverse, the Tory Lib-Dem Coalition has robbed the poor and given a tax cut to the rich. ​

A Trident missile in action: The Green party says it would scrap the missile programme to save £100billion and reduce the need for benefit cuts.
A Trident missile in action: The Green Party says it would scrap the missile programme to save £100billion and reduce the need for benefit cuts.

Experts have calculated that cuts to disability benefits, housing benefit and council tax benefit will hit the poorest with a staggering 38 per cent reduction in their income.

In Tamworth, from this month, everyone of working age who doesn’t receive severe disability benefits will have to pay at least 25 per cent council tax. That’s an extra £4.57 a week for a Band A property.

Tory Tamworth council is one of the biggest cutters of council tax support in the country – most are charging less than ten per cent.

And before readers run away with the idea that people on benefit are living in luxury, I’d like to ask how many could afford cuts like this from the £71 a week, which a jobseeker gets for food, travel, utilities, clothing, toiletries, and other household expenses?

If you are hit by the bedroom tax, you will lose £10-£15 a week from your housing benefit as well.

No wonder these changes will push a further 200,000 children into poverty in the UK – a disgrace in the seventh richest country in the world.

Our own MP’s website peddles the myths Tories use to gain support for their attacks on the poor. Mr Pincher talks about how ‘it pays not to work’.

He and his ilk pretend our country is drowning under the weight of people who have never worked but play the system.

Yet the truth is that in 2012, only two per cent of working age adults had never worked: over half of them were young unemployed people who’d never been given the chance of a job.

As Mr Pincher knows, over half of the ‘bloated’ welfare bill goes in pensions – Jobseekers Allowance makes up only three per cent.

The Tories bleat about the escalating cost of housing benefit and claim this is why they need to impose the bedroom tax.

Over half of housing benefit goes to poor pensioners and people who are in work but earning poverty wages. The real scandal is the failure of this and previous governments to build social housing resulting in a grossly inflated property market.

As Channel 4 News recently showed, the bedroom tax will cost more, as people are forced to move into costly private rented accommodation. And who are these people? Disabled adults who need a room so their partner/carer can get some sleep or to store vital equipment. Separated parents who need a bedroom so their kids can come and stay.

People who can’t ‘down-size’ because smaller properties don’t exist.

I’m proud that my parents were part of the 1945 generation that built the welfare state when this country was on its knees economically.

We then had a government that knew we really were ‘all in it together’. This phrase is now a hollow lie. The Tories’ real agenda is the destruction of our welfare state because their government of millionaires don’t need it and don’t want to pay for it.

There is an alternative. The Green Party would scrap Trident missiles, saving over £100 billion. We would get people back to work in the green economy, cutting fuel bills and reducing carbon emissions as well as creating jobs. Increased employment boosts tax revenues and reduces welfare spending and is the only way to get out of the economic mess.

Ordinary people didn’t create the global banking crisis and ordinary people shouldn’t be punished for it while the richest get richer. We need a real alternative – a future that works for people and the planet.

Simon Johnson, Chair, Tamworth and District Green Party.
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