“We are raising more money for the rich” – Hansard uncorrected, and some thoughts. 12th December 2012

Today’s Commons debates – Wednesday 12 December 2012 Version: Uncorrected | Updated 21:28

Christopher Pincher:Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the fall in youth unemployment figures is the largest since records began and will he meet me to discuss how employment opportunities in Tamworth, including in youth employment, can be promoted still further?
The Prime Minister:I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the economic and business situations in Tamworth. He is absolutely right that this morning’s figures show the largest quarterly fall in youth employment on record, with 72,000 fewer people unemployed this quarter. Obviously, there is no room for complacency—far too many people are still long-term unemployed—but we can see from the figures that 40,000 more people are in work, vacancies are up, unemployment is down by 82,000, the claimant count is down and there are more than 1 million extra private sector jobs under this Government.
Christopher Pincher:Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the fall in youth unemployment figures is the largest since records began and will he meet me to discuss how employment opportunities in Tamworth, including in youth employment, can be promoted still further?
The Prime Minister:I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the economic and business situations in Tamworth. He is absolutely right that this morning’s figures show the largest quarterly fall in youth employment on record, with 72,000 fewer people unemployed this quarter. Obviously, there is no room for complacency—far too many people are still long-term unemployed—but we can see from the figures that 40,000 more people are in work, vacancies are up, unemployment is down by 82,000, the claimant count is down and there are more than 1 million extra private sector jobs under this Government.
Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab):Today’s fall in unemployment and rise in employment are welcome. Part of the challenge remains the stubbornly high level of long-term unemployment. Does the Prime Minister agree that that remains of fundamental importance not just to the people who are out of work but to the country as a whole?
The Prime Minister:I absolutely agree—I mentioned it in my first answer—that long-term unemployment remains stubbornly high. The good news about today’s figures is that long-term youth unemployment is down by 10,000 this quarter, which is encouraging. Obviously, long-term unemployment among others is still a problem. That is why the Work programme and getting it right are so important. It has got 200,000 people into work, but clearly there is more to do. I welcome the right hon. Gentleman’s tone, not least because he said on 18 January that“over the next year, unemployment will get worse, not better, under his policies.”—[Official Report, 18 January 2012; Vol. 538, c. 739.]Perhaps he would like to withdraw that.
Edward Miliband:I am glad that the Prime Minister recognises that long-term unemployment is still a challenge. I want to ask him about the people who are doing the right thing and finding work. Last week in his autumn statement, the Chancellor decided to cut tax credits and benefits. He said it was the shirkers—the people with the curtains drawn—who would be affected. Can the Prime Minister tell us how many of those hit are in work?
The Prime Minister:The fact is this—[Hon. Members: “Answer the question!”] I will answer it. Welfare needs to be controlled and everyone who is on tax credits will be affected by these changes. We have to get on top of the welfare bill. That is why we are restricting the increase on out-of-work benefits and it is also why we are restricting in-work benefits. What we have also done is increase the personal allowance, because on this side of the House we believe in cutting people’s taxes when they are in work
Edward Miliband:The Prime Minister is raising the taxes of people in work. Of course, he did not answer the question. Despite the impression given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the answer is that more than 60% of those affected are in work. That means the factory worker on the night shift, the carer who looks after elderly people around the clock and the cleaner who cleans the Chancellor’s office while his curtains are still drawn and he is still in bed. The Chancellor calls them scroungers. What does the Prime Minister call them?
The Prime Minister:The right hon. Gentleman just said that we are not cutting taxes for people in work. Someone on the minimum wage who works full time will see their income tax bill cut by one half under this Government. The fact is, under this Government, we are saying to working people, “You can earn another £3,000 before you even start paying income tax.” That is why we have taken 2 million people out of tax altogether. He should welcome that, because this is the party for people who work; his is the party for unlimited welfare.
Edward Miliband:Of course, as we might expect, the Prime Minister is just wrong on the detail. The Institute for Fiscal Studies table says quite clearly that, on average, working families are £534 a year worse off as a result of his measures. I notice that he wants to get away from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said last week. We know what the Chancellor was trying to do: he was trying to play divide and rule. He said that his changes were all about people“living a life on benefits”—[Official Report, 5 December 2012; Vol. 544, c. 877.]“still asleep” while their neighbours go out to work. It turned out that it was just not true. It is a tax on strivers. Will the Prime Minister now admit that the Chancellor got it wrong and that the majority of people hit are working people?
The Prime Minister:The right hon. Gentleman says that we have not got the detail right. We know his approach to detail. It is to take a 2,000-page report and accept it without reading it. That is his approach to detail. Specifically on the Institute for Fiscal—[Interruption.] I am surprised that the shadow Chancellor is shouting again this week, because we learned last week that like bullies all over the world, he can dish it out but he cannot take it. He never learns. The figures—[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker:Order. I want to hear the Prime Minister’s answer. [Interruption.] Order. Let us hear it.
The Prime Minister:To specifically answer the question from the Leader of the Opposition, he mentioned the figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, but they do not include the personal allowance increase put through in the Budget, and they do not include the universal credit changes that come in next year and which will help the working poor more than anything. The fact he cannot get away with is that under this Government, we are lifting the personal allowance, we are taking millions out of tax, and we are standing up for those who work. He only stands up for those who claim.
Edward Miliband:I must say, I have heard everything when the boy from the Bullingdon club lectures people on bullying. Absolutely extraordinary. Have you wrecked a restaurant recently?The Prime Minister does not want to talk about the facts, but let us give him another one. He is hitting working families, and the richest people in our society will get a massive tax cut next April—an average of £107,000 each for people earning over £1 million. Is he the only person left in the country who cannot see the fundamental injustice of giving huge tax cuts to the richest while punishing those in work on the lowest pay?
The Prime Minister:The tax take for the richest under this Government will be higher in every year than it was for any year when the right hon. Gentleman was in government. He has obviously got a short memory, because I explained to him last week that under his plans for the 50p tax rate, millionaires paid £7 billion less in tax than they did previously. The point of raising taxes is to pay for public services. We are raising more money for the rich, but where he is really so profoundly wrong is in the choice that he has decided to make. The facts are these: over the last five years, people in work have seen their incomes go up by 10%, and people out of work have seen their incomes go up by 20%. At a time when people accept a pay freeze we should not be massively increasing benefits massively, yet that is what he wants to do. A party that is not serious about controlling welfare is not serious about controlling the deficit either.
Edward Miliband:From the first part of his answer, it seems the Prime Minister is claiming to be Robin Hood; I really do not think that is going to work. He is not taking from the richest and giving to everybody else. Didn’t the Business Secretary give it away in what he said about the autumn statement? He said:“what happened was some of their donors,”—we know who he is talking about—“very wealthy people, stamped their feet”,so the Conservatives scrapped the mansion tax and went ahead with the 50p tax cut. They look after their friends—the people on their Christmas card list. Meanwhile, they hit people they never meet, and whose lives they will never understand.

 Some thoughts.

Ed Miliband’s comments – “I must say, I have heard everything when the boy from the Bullingdon club lectures people on bullying. Absolutely extraordinary. Have you wrecked a restaurant recently?” –   are also well worth preserving here. The exposure of Cameron’s lie that the welfare reforms were about “making work pay” also makes this a memorable Commons debate.

Well, it’s not as if most of us hasn’t spotted the the growing gap between the wealthiest and the poorest, and made a fundamental connection there.

Tax avoidance and evasion costs this Country £69 billion a year, at a conservative estimate. Also, note that the highest earners each stand to gain a further £100, 000 EXTRA per year, courtesy of the Tory-led Coalition. That’s most certainly reflects traditional Tory ideological commitments, and it drags Osborne’s sham “economic strategy”  shrieking into daylight, revealing it starkly for what it is. The real reason for the austerity measures this Government have inflicted on the poorest citizens is that Tory sponsors and very greedy rich people are being handsomely rewarded with tax payers money. The money for our welfare provision, our healthcare, our public services, schools, and so on, is being stolen from the British public and backhanded to the undeserving rich – there is the REAL “culture of entitlement”. Tory sponsoring private companies are making a fortune from the poverty that has been inflicted on many citizens. We have seen that the private sector do not deliver public “services” or meet public needs at all. (Atos, A4E , G4S, for example.) Private companies simply make profit. Indeed, that profit is all too often made at the expense of the well being of Citizens. That is most certainly and clearly true of Atos.

‘David Cameron and George Osborne believe the only way to persuade millionaires to work harder is to give them more money.’

‘But they also seem to believe that the only way to make you (ordinary people) work harder is to take money away.’ Ed Miliband.

Bravo Ed, very well spotted contradiction regarding Cameron’s claims about how “incentives” work. Apparently, the rich are a different kind of human from the majority of human beings.

It’s plain to see that Cameron rewards his wealthy friends, and has a clear elitist agenda, whilst he funds his friends and sponsors by stealing money from the tax payer, by stripping welfare provision and public services down to the bare bones. The truly terrible and catastrophic thing is that some are paying for Cameron’s shameful and unwarranted generosity to the already wealthy with their very lives.  73 sick and disabled people die on average every week, many after having their benefit claim ended unfairly by the DWP. This Government have written targets  into Atos’s  contract when they renewed it : 7 out of 8 claimants to lose their benefit. That indicates quite clearly that people are losing their benefit regardless of whether or not they they are fit to work, since the target exists before the claimant is even assessed.

Taking money from the most vulnerable and poorest members of Society means they are unlikely  to be able to meet their basic biological needs. Welfare provision – our various benefits system – was based on the carefully calculated amounts we need to survive, so the amount of benefit is just enough to cover the costs of housing, food and fuel. That’s all.

There is no provision made in any benefit for cars, holidays abroad, children’s birthdays and Christmas, large , flat screened TV’s. books or clothing. Just food, fuel and shelter. Anything more generous is simply added via propaganda. The Mail, Telegraph  and the Sun perpetuate myths that mean spirited Tories drip feed the media, to cultivate petty and divisive social “concerns” to “justify” the fact that we are being systematically and massively robbed of the money we paid in for our own provisions and services. Meanwhile, those provisions and services are being sold off to Tory-sponsoring businesses. Bravo! What a truly cunning heist.

So let’s get this right…Cameron claims that the wealthy need more money as an incentive to work, whereas the poor need money taking from them via “Reforms” to “incentivise” them to work harder. Sixty percent of the welfare cuts will affect the working poor most of all. So much for the flat lie that Cameron and Co are “making work pay.” The jobless, of course, are to be starved into finding none existent jobs, in a depression.

Everyone knows that when people are prevented from meeting basic needs – food, fuel and shelter –  they die. It’s an irrefutable fact. Consider the new sanction regime that the Tory – led Government has just introduced from December 3rd 2012. Up to three years with no benefit at all for those benefit claimants that don’t “meet certain conditions for eligibility”. That certainly contravenes fundamental and established human rights. And it is certainly calculated and deliberate removal of the means that the poor have of basic survival. That is certainly a calculated and deliberate Social Darwinist agenda.

Bearing in mind that the Government has set sanction targets for the DWP, and also, we know that claimants are set up to be sanctioned by DWP staff, we know that the sanction regime is just another way that the Government are stripping welfare, punishing and harming claimants, and in a recession (some are calling it a depression). What kind of Government would do that? This is Cameron’s Cruel Britannia. Killing the vulnerable via policy IS deliberate. People are dying so that Cameron can hand out their paid for welfare provision budget to the already rich.

We are raising more money for the rich

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Thank you to Robert Livingstone for his brilliant art

Worth reading:

Ed Miliband magnificently challenges Cameron on the massive growth of food banks over the past two years-  “I never thought the big society was about feeding hungry children in Britain,” Miliband tells Cameron.

On the subject of foodbanks – private companies with Conservative connections are benefiting from ‘reform’ of the British welfare state

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11 thoughts on ““We are raising more money for the rich” – Hansard uncorrected, and some thoughts. 12th December 2012

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