Thursday, 30 July 2015

Care Cap Scrap Crap

The care cap plans are being put on hold until 2020 we read in the Guardian Newspaper this week:

I've been commenting under Guardian articles about this issue from the beginning until I'm blue in the face, but it bears repeating; the following is pretty much what I commented on underneath the article as 'clarebelz'.

I sense that the government really didn't think through the ramifications of capping care costs to £75,000, let alone the originally suggested £35,000. What still enrages me about these articles though is the suggestion that anyone without assets - either claiming benefits or basic pension - are exempt from care charges: this is not true.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

A Left Wing Tosspot Thick Bitch: That's Me!

It's hard to know where to start really, but watch this video then I'll tell you more:

Iain Duncan Smith pumps his fists as George Osborne announces new national 'living wage'

This was my response, and then please read the comments to my response:

"Pathetic: both the announcement, and the pumping of fists by IDS: it is nothing to be proud of. 

70 pence an hour raise of the NMW from next April will not replace the massive cuts to tax credits. The cuts will devastate the 'Hard Working Families' the cons so like to talk about. 

When they say 'people claiming benefits should get no more than hard working families' the point is that it's not benefits that are high, rather it's wages that have been kept low for many years. If governments had allowed minimum wage to rise by inflation it would be £18 per hour by now, so the government wouldn't be paying much tax credits out at all. It would also have helped growth in this country, since poorer people tend to spend their money in the local economy rather than save it. 

More poverty for more people, whilst as usual, the rich individuals and corporations get a tax cut."

Response to my comment from 'KronaTithers':

"Wages have been kept low by things like tax credits which are state subsidies to companies to pay those low wages. Only a left wing tosspot would bitch and moan about the introduction of a living wage. If you think an £18 min wage is sensible then you really are thick."

I considered replying to him, but you know how it goes: you can't debate with people like that who can't even keep abuse out of an argument.

Anyway, this is what I would have said, and my further argument.

Firstly, as regards being a tosspot, I suppose most of us have been such over the course of our lives, but since Tithers does not know me, he can't be sure for definite.

As for being Left-Wing, I admit, I am indeed, but ah, the problem arises that I'm also on the side of responsible capitalism. I believe in some of what the Conservatives have done. For example, I think it's great that families who aren't exactly rich will be able to pass on more of their hard-earned properties. I think 'Right to Buy' is a great idea, as long as replacement properties are built. I think that help should be extended to people who are privately renting too, not necessarily to buy their rented house at a discount, because despite what is said about the 'Buy to Let' sector, many people barely cover the mortgage on their rental property, and will only start to benefit in retirement. 

Concerning benefits, there's is a lot to be said about encouraging people back into work whether they're disabled or not; I'd give my 'left arm' if I could work again lol! I'd be earning £50 an hour and out of the DWP fear agenda. Also, I don't think that it's fair for poor people to have as many children as they wanted. People who can't claim any benefits have to work out if they can afford to have children, so why should poor people be any different? 

I could go on, but you see my point? I'm not necessarily against all of the Conservative principles.

Addressing your 'Left-Wing' comment. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I was amongst their biggest critics: Iraq; ID cards; cash for questions; tax credits fiasco whereby millions had to pay back thousands of pounds; their welfare policies; etc etc.

I don't trust either side really. Both have conspired since the 70s to destroy our manufacturing economy; there would be full employment now if they had not. In my area, from 1998-2008, 28,000 jobs were lost when the pottery industry collapsed. We also lost the mills, the coal mines, and the steel industry. There aren't even 28,000 people unemployed here, so as you can imagine, wages would have been a lot higher had there been a small pool of unemployed people. But we're just a stopping point now for companies delivering to warehouses, in which the working conditions are not good.

Now, coming to the 'bitch' reference. Again, you don't know me, but my comments weren't bitchy, they were fact, and I'll explain in detail why below. By the way though, I've probably been quite a bitch in the past in one way or another, and likely you've been quite a b***ard. We live and learn though, and although I'm 52 now, as my dear pensioner friend says to me: 'you've never stopped learning'.

As for being 'thick', I actually hold a good degree, and when I had to give up work due to my illness deteriorating, I was working towards my masters and hoping to carry on to a PHD. I'm not stuck up though, I cleaned people's toilets for a good part of my working life, and don't think it's below me now. In fact, I'd take menial work over a so-called professional position every time.

Now, this is why your comment is wrong. Firstly, I'll agree that the minimum wage obviously needed raising, and of course that's good news for some, so I should really have pointed that out. My carers get way above the living wage, but only 1 of them will benefit from the rise as she has another job. I'm really happy for them because it could mean an extra £60 a week between them, and they deserve this. 

The problem rises if you have children and you're in a low paid job. The gov are raising the income threshold, so that will be a big reduction for tax credit claimants. Also, the 70pence they receive will largely be deducted from their benefits due to that. If claimants try to increase their work, their tax credits will reduce again. It amount to a triple cut for them. By the time the £9 per hour wage is implemented, it will still be too low.

My argument has always been for a staggered yearly rise towards a much higher figure. I haven't just plucked £18 per hour out of the air; this is what analysts have quoted as a raise in line with average wages. If it had just risen by inflation, it would be less than £18 per hour, but still quite substantial. As it stands, the least amount that will benefit people is apparently £11 per hour - and this is currently, not in the future. Again, these are not my figures. As for £18 per hour, I don't understand why it's ridiculous figure; I was being paid more than that when I was training. Many people are paid this rate: why isn't it good enough for the poor? Why is it that the services that they provide should be considered as lesser than anyone else's labour?

We subsidise corporations by £93 billion a year, and we lose about £120 billion a year in tax avoidance and evasion. We waste much more by out-sourcing (though I'm not against this if it saves money). My point is that we subsidise both companies and the rich, but people don't seem to want to pay the poor a decent wage. I'm not against the rich; my grandparents were wealthy, and my family either had a business or worked professionally. I'm glad that my daughter has had a few tax breaks; she won't get any child benefit for any future children, so good for her.

You see Tithers, I'm not against people having money; I'm glad when things work out for people. The fact is though, that the £49 billion cuts have paid for further tax breaks and other things for companies. This is wrong whether you're 'left' or 'right'. 

Raising minimum wage was a positive thing for some; for others not so. You could say that it's at least a start. Taking the budget as a whole though, it's a disaster for anyone with a family, for young people, and for the disabled.  

UPDATE: I edited the above a little and I replied to Tithers on youtube, and I just got a response:

"Lol! Sorry. The more I have read about this you are right. It's a con job."

Never should it be said that it's best not to reasonably challenge people online, and in other circumstance, but people need reasoned arguments and facts, not reactive name-calling.  Eh herm, and you need to let people speak without butting in (you know who I am lol!), then you can get your point across.

We need to keep informing as many people as possible about the real facts of politics; never just taking a side 'right' or 'left' just for the sake of it. As I posted above, I'm not left wing or any 'wing'. I just would like what is best for everyone. The plain facts are, that the super rich could remain rich without lambasting and ruining the lives of the poor. In fact, if you paid the poor more, the rich would probably get richer. Since that's obviously not going to happen any time soon, we have to ask the question as to the real reason for this hammering of the poor and sick.

Well, everyone to their own. I'm happy with my income, and I don't want to be super rich. The only reason that I'd want to be rich is so that I could help others: what an amazing thing that would be.

This is the point though. Why don't the politicians and the rich see that? What has happened to them that makes them behave like they did yesterday? There is no need for austerity. There is no need for Greece to be impoverished like it was some kind of third-world country. So what is going on? What will it take for ordinary people to see that there is something desperately wrong going on here? 

We just have to keep informing people until everyone understands the wider issues, but it's a bit hard when people are fighting for their existence, and experiencing or observing the suffering. I decided to start trying to get a message out again, and it's not easy when people have gut reactions and attack you; it has a bad affect on me. I couldn't sleep all night just for what Tithers said to me. 

I don't hate anyone. I don't wish harm upon anyone, rich or poor. We need that starting point: we must not hate. Nothing ever good came out of hating and despising people whatever the relative circumstances. 

If you hate, then you're hating humankind and nature itself, which is by nature, imperfect, often selfish, and prone to making mistakes, swinging the lead if at all possible. Go on. Admit it. Have you never done that? 

But out of nature, out of mistakes, out of consideration, amazing things happen. Who knows?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Balls to the Budget

Balls to the Budget 
(apparently #ballstothebudget if you want to comment, but I don't do Twitter)

Short one. Lets look at what the Office for Budget Resposibility said about the :

"Loosing the squeeze on public services spending funded by welfare cuts, net tax increases and three years of higher government borrowing - that is the budget verdict of the Office for Budget Responsibility.


Statistics, Statistics and Damned Lies?

Statistics, Statistics, and Damned Lies?

 I just realise that I never posted this last year (been a bad one):

Amidst the row between the government and a charity who was trying to highlight poverty in the UK, I came across some strange figures. Please forgive me if I'm not cognisant with regard to how unemployment and employment figures work, but when the head of this charity Ben Phillips spoke in an article about the 'fact' that there are 2 million new jobs in the economy since the coalition came to power, I was slightly confused. The figures below demonstrate why:

The Benefit Cap Already Costs the Tax Payer 1 Billion: A Tale of 'Larger Families'.

The Benefit Cap Already Costs the Tax Payer 1 Billion: A Tale of 'Larger Families'.

Long post, but apart from the ethics, learn why the country hasn't saved a penny from all of the changes in benefits (and this post only deals with housing). 

Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, my friend's partner was made redundant from his long term job (lets call them Julia and John). They had 3 children and an adult son living with them (who was unemployed at the time). 

Julia told me that they were managing quite well on benefits; it wasn't the same, but they certainly weren't going without anything necessary, and of course, John was looking for work nonetheless. After a little while, the same company John had worked for had a new position available, so he started back to work again.