By Piya Mayenin :: The UK’s current austerity programme threatens to solidify the UK’s position as a country of growing inequality and poverty. Its emphasis on cutting public spending as opposed to increasing taxes has already begun to increase the hardship faced by people on low incomes, whilst allowing the richest bear a comparatively small burden of the pain. As millions, more are expected to be living in poverty and at risk of poverty by the end of the decade, the richest look set to get richer. ‘’ Oxfam. Case Study, 2013.
What we got instead, however, was a hard-right turn in elite opinion, away from concerns about unemployment and toward a focus on slashing deficits, mainly with spending cuts. Why? Paul Krugman. The Guardian, 2015
War Against the Disabled
Since 2008 and especially over the last seven years, disabled people, including people with physical or mental impairments and long-term health conditions, have borne the brunt of the Tory austerity cuts, which has seen the number of disabled people living in poverty rise to 04.2 million. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 took away £3.7 billion disabled peoples befits taking £28 billion pounds from the disabled.
This effective ‘war’ against people with disabilities’ by the Conservative party went side by side with the increasing of poverty and millions of people pushed to the brink of Poverty as reported by the Independent on 15th February of this year.
The Conservatives influenced and even demanded that the country and nation look at and treat people with disabilities as a ‘burden’ and a ‘legitimate, lawful and valid’ target for the state and government to devastate their lives by ruthlessly, mercilessly take away the vital and fundamental support that was given to them by the law of the land.
This undermines the foundations of the United Kingdom that from the very inception of this nation, when it had set out as its objective to seek to establish the ‘rule of law’, which is the foundation of a civic and civilised society and towards this goal the country and nation made progressively positive and effective strides, achieving more and more in getting nearer to this goal as time went on.
It took a passage of centuries to achieve the understanding of equality and the rights of the people with the yardstick being a society that is resolute in its unshakable conviction and choice as to how it goes about protecting the most vulnerable: children, people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses rendering them effectively disabled, those able-bodied but made disabled with devastating illnesses or those, who are terminally ill and the frail, infirm and elderly.
The Labour Party has refused to accept this and goes further in committing to reverse this and invest towards building a United Kingdom where people with disabilities are enabled and empowered so that they can bring out and being the best that they can be as any other able-bodied citizens of this country.
Rule of Law
This General Election offers this fundamental choice before the people. Are we going to restore the Rule of Law, the working for all people in society? Or are we going to continue being mercilessly cruel to the most vulnerable and continue to strip them of their lawful dues.
Those who saw BBC Question Time Leaders’ Special, will remember the partially sighted member of audience giving a harrowing account of her traumatic and degrading experience undergoing the Work Capability Assessment. I saw that experience in large numbers when I helped at Advising London, a national charity last year and many people were suffering similar degradation.
The film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of those who have been demonised and dehumanised by the Conservative’s devastating cuts and a social security system, which punishes, rather than supports, disabled people. This film moved me and many others.
Chaos and Confusion
On the back of this appalling state of affairs for vulnerable people, the Labour Party Leader Mr Jeremy Corbyn stated earlier that in the Conservative Party’s latest string of errors and about-turns, Defence Secretary, Mr Michael Fallon’s pledge that people would pay no more tax under the Tories was immediately contradicted by Theresa May, who refused to rule out a tax rise on working people, through rises in income tax or higher National Insurance contributions.
Chaos and confusion over their plans for social care by the Tories where they would set the cap they originally said they had rejected and were forced to withdraw their school breakfasts policy after it was exposed they had only set aside 06.8p per meal.
The threat of further Tory tax rises on working people comes as it was revealed just 49 individuals have donated more than a third of Tory party funding since Theresa May became Prime Minister. Politicshome, June 2017
In contrast, Labour’s manifesto clearly commits to no income tax, National Insurance or VAT rises for 95 per cent of taxpayers, with big businesses and those paid more than £80,000 a year asked to pay a bit more to reverse years of underinvestment in our NHS, schools and other public services. Mr Jeremy Corbyn said, “First social care and school breakfasts, now the Tories are in chaos over their tax plans for the super-rich, as it is revealed they are entirely dependent on them for their funding. While Michael Fallon claims there will be no tax rises, Theresa May refuses to rule them out.
Labour is the low tax party for the many while the Conservatives are the low tax party for the few. We won’t raise taxes for 95 per cent of taxpayers but will ask high earners and big businesses to pay a little more so we can give nurses and other public servants a pay rise, and invest in the public services we all rely on.”
Mr Andrew Gwynne, the Labour Party’s Joint National Campaign Co-ordinator, said, “The Tories are bankrolled by millionaire bankers, tycoons and hedge fund bosses, the very people they’ve given tax breaks to while everyone else pays more. In contrast, Labour is funded by thousands and thousands of people making small donations because they want a better society for everyone.
Labour’s plans are fully costed and fully set out in our manifesto for everyone to see. The only numbers in the Tory manifesto are the page numbers. The wheels are coming of the Conservatives’ election campaign, with Theresa May hiding from the public, refusing to debate Jeremy Corbyn and backsliding on social care, NHS and schools funding, and now their tax plans.”
Pensioners, Winter Fuel & Dementia
Millions of pensioners are in uncertainty as the Conservative Party plans to scrap universal Winter Fuel Payments could hit as many as 10.8 million pensioners, per a Labour Party analysis of Pension Credit data.
The Tories are still refusing to give a figure for the cap they will put on their dementia tax, the name given to their plan to force people to pay for social care with their homes.
An analysis by the Labour Party shows the effect of the Tory dementia tax on older people living in a house worth the average UK price of £217,500 if the cap is set at £72,000 or £100,000 and they find they need home care at the capped level. At a cap of £100,000, a person in this situation needing the capped amount of care would lose 42 percent of the value of their estate. The more someone’s house is worth, the lower the percentage they would lose.
Labour party has set out its pledges to older people, maintaining the triple-lock on state pensions to protect incomes, investing £37 billion into the NHS and £8 billion into social care over the next parliament and protecting Winter Fuel Payments and free bus passes. Mr Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on this analysis, said, “It is staggering that just six days from polling day millions of pensioners still don’t know what’s in store for them if they are unlucky enough to get dementia or any other condition that needs care in the home.
The dementia tax is itself unfair but what’s made matters even worse is the way Theresa May announced a cap and then failed to say how much it would be. Alongside this, older people face the additional uncertainty of not knowing who will be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment. The introduction of a means test could mean more than ten million people losing the payment.
Comprehensive and Costed Policies
Ms Debbie Abrahams, Labour Party’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said, “We are proud of the manifesto that we have developed with, and for, disabled people. For seven long years, disabled people have borne the brunt of the Conservatives’ austerity cuts and been pushed further into poverty.
Our comprehensive and costed policies set out in this manifesto, will ensure that disabled people are properly supported to live full and independent lives. Enough is enough, only a Labour government, offering a real alternative, will work in partnership with disabled people to ensure no one in our society is held back.”
The Tories have no such cost budget and appears to offer only insecurity and cuts to pensioners, disabled and the poor.
Labour will ensure that disabled people and people with mental health conditions have access to the support they need and will work with disabled people to build an inclusive society, where no one is held back from fulfilling their potential and realising their aspirations.”
Labour will stand up for older people by maintaining the triple-lock on state pensions, investing £8 billion into social care over the next parliament and protecting winter fuel payments and free bus passes.”
Undermining of Our Young
‘It will take me 40 years to get on the property ladder. (My son, Ohie Mayenin at UCL, just finished 2nd year)
The Tories have calculated that they do not even need to consider the young as they do not have a vote anyway.
When the Prime Minister faced, cross party calls to give 16 – 17 years old the right to vote, she replied:
“We are determined to bring stability to the United Kingdom for the long term and that’s what this election will be about – leadership and stability.”
The complete ignoring of the problems of the young is senselessly selfish and again shows that this government cannot look out for the majority of its voters.
‘… We can afford to invest in and cultivate a new generation – indeed we have no future unless we do. We can build housing they can afford, and which gives them comfort and space for a family; we can pioneer a German-style industrial strategy that creates skilled jobs with dignity, not the zero-hour insecurity we see in the service sector; cease the discrimination in the minimum wage and social security provision; we can give them the services that make them well-rounded and content.
If we fail to do all these things, our society will suffer for it. It may be politically expedient for the Conservative party to not just ignore the young…Owen Jones, The Guardian, January 2017
It would be naïve to say that one thing gave the rise to terrorism and not several things. Apart from the usually piecemeal Islam adopted by some of these Islamist Terrorist, Ideology of Wahhabism is found to be quoted by them also. Wahhabism is an ideology. Ideology cannot be bombed out of our societies it needs to be shown for the barbarity it is. Foreign Policy mistakes has helped this ideology grow and thus The Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn wants to engage a different approach to bringing down Terrorism in the world. A man who has fought for Peace for all his adult life should be given the chance to bring peace again to the world.
But dealing with Incidents has become under stress as Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot advises us with the undermining of security and intelligence.
under the Tories, more than 20,000 police officers, 100 Border Force staff and Fire service staff even though the government was warned by experts, by police officers and, yes, by Jeremy Corbyn and others at the time that this could have grave consequences in the fight against terrorism. But with Theresa May as home secretary they cut anyway, letting Terrorists slip through the net.
The Tory-led coalition in 2010 cut personnel of 12,700 with the promise to recover them over time, but never did – despite the growing terrorist threat.
…George Osborne’s last autumn statement in 2015 he committed four times as much in counter-terrorism funding to the special forces operating overseas as he did to counter-terrorism efforts through the Home Office.
This is the wrong priority. The safety and security of our citizens must always come first. Labour will always ensure that is our priority, and that the security and intelligence services get the resources they need to defend us from terrorism here at home…. Diane Abbot, The Guardian May 2017.
So, are you going to sign the blank cheque for a party that has undermined the very cornerstone of the rule of law and equality in the United Kingdom for over the last seven years?
The party that makes no promises to make things right after ample evidence of the disabled driven to suicide for the lack of dignity and self-worth they hold due to seven years of being treated as sub human? Due to the horrendous and scary fitness tests, they face that does not focus on their disability even.
The party that has undermined our young, our security and intelligence, our elderly with their focus simply on a minority rich who fund them?
We need to home in on what’s important as a progressive society and to lead the United Kingdom with principles morals and prosperity for all.
Please bear this in mind when you sign the blank cheque for the Tories to do as they wish.
Piara Mayenin (Piya)
BA (Hons) Econ, PGD in Law