I caught the bus into town yesterday. As we passed the Houses of Parliament, where Chancellor George Osborne was giving his budget statement, I saw a very sad looking Santa Claus, begging on the streets. On my lap was a copy of the morning’s Metro. The headline read ‘Third World Britain’ and the lead story talked about families in the UK that are walking miles to food banks to get food handouts.
The Chancellor, who likes to say frequently that we’re all suffering in this economy but is actually independently wealthy, announced more cuts. Once again, these cuts disproportionately target the poor. The rich are still not being asked to out their hands in their pockets. Corporations are not being asked to pay the tax they should. Once again we are asked to believe that the economic crisis was not caused by reckless banks and perpetuated by poor governance but by lazy workers who want to live on benefits.
The benefit system exists because we realised it was bad for everyone if some people fall through the cracks. Now the government are destroying support system. Families are already suffering, and more will.
So: two rants for you today (consider it a festive bonus!): Strivers vs Skivers talks about how the government turns us against each other so they can get away with these attacks on the welfare system. The new social safety net outlines what you can now expect if you’re one of the 200,000 people expected to lose their jobs in the next 12 months.
Maybe I’m being the grinch, talking about this so close to Christmas, but I think it needs to be said. We need to fight this cruelty.