Thursday, July 30, 2009

Budget squeeze hits the weakest.

Philip Hammond, the shadow Treasury chief secretary, announced recently that he was going to be so savage with his cuts in public spending - should the Tories comes to power - that he was quite sure he was going to become a figure of national hate.

He sounded almost proud as he made this claim.

This is what I loathe about spending cuts, the people targeted always come from the weakest elements of our society. Yesterday the Labour party announced that allowances for people seeking asylum in Britain are to be slashed in the Autumn.

The "penny-pinching" reductions provoked fury last night with ministers facing accusations they were penalising some of the most vulnerable members of society. They were also warned that the reductions would force refugees into destitution. Under the moves, the subsistence allowance paid to single asylum-seekers aged 25 and over will be slashed from £42.16 to £35.13 a week in October. The cash is intended to cover their living costs while they wait for their claims to be assessed.

In future, single asylum-seekers – the majority of applicants – will be expected to exist on just £5 a day. Under government rules they are not allowed to increase their income by working. The revised rates will apply to new asylum applicants rather than those already in the system. The allowances paid to lone parents will be frozen at the current level of £42.16.

Asylum support payments have traditionally been raised in line with the rate of inflation in the previous September, which would have entitled claimants to an increase of more than 5 per cent this year. But the Home Office has ruled that such increases cannot be afforded this year.

I understand that money needs to be raised, but is anyone seriously going to argue that taking £7.02 a week from some of the most vulnerable people in our society is the most efficient way to trim our spending in these difficult times?

I mean seriously, how much money is actually being saved by this savage attack on some of the poorest members of our society?

If the government are serious about the need for savings, why are they making this needless one? Why not carry out one which would be hugely popular on the left and state that we can no longer afford to update Trident? That would save anything up to a £100 billion.

But no. That might prove controversial amongst the Daily Mail readers. Far easier to attack the elements of society that no-one stands up for. I mean, there aren't any votes to be won in protecting asylum seekers. There are even some left wingers I know who are rather dodgy when it comes to that subject. So, they are the first people to be hit when it comes to the need to make savings.

This is just one sad indication of what is to come further down the road.

We have a Tory shadow Treasury chief secretary who is positively salivating at the chance to turn himself into a hate figure due to the savage cuts he is planning on making.

As always in times like this, the people who earn a bit more than everyone else will never be asked to contribute a bit more in taxation, rather the savings must always be taken from the people who can least afford it. Especially if they are members of social groups, like asylum seekers, who have few people willing to defend their cause.

It's not only an obscenity, it's also an act of political cowardice. The Labour party - of all parties - is supposed to defend groups regarded as societal outcasts. In this case Brown has decided to kick them when they are down because it is easier to do that than anything else.

The Tories, when they come to power, will be even more brutal. They are already signaling that to us.

But the bankers, the people whose rampant greed led us all into this financial mess, will continue to pay themselves obscene amounts in bonuses. Their lifestyles will remain largely untouched while the poorest find their meager incomes slashed.

What's worse is that there will be no public outcry at this blatant injustice. That's exactly why Brown has chosen this group in the first place.

Click title for full article.


nunya said...

yes, they cut the weakest here and subsidize the greed and stupidity of bankers.

Kel said...

It's despicable, Nunya. Utterly despicable.

Who can be expected to live on five pounds a day? They were paying that as unemployment benefit in the 1980's. It was mean then. Almost thirty years later it's positively Dickensian.