The Problem With the Working Poor!

Posted on October 29, 2015

There are a lot of working poor people in Britain who depend on a little help from the government. In fact, according to the right-wing publication, The Spectator, seven million people, all of whom are about to be worse off by roughly £1200 a year.

This has been, it appears, a total U-turn by the government in its, at best, fragile effort to claim to be the party of the working man; it was a pre-election policy that worked, convincing enough voters to vote Conservative and take them over the line to an outright majority.

What has followed has been about as morally repugnant as it can get, picking on those who need it the most in a bid to save £3.5 billion which is a lot of money; well, until you compare it to £850 billion it took to bail-out those who took the country down.

Of course, policies like these are supposed to challenged and despised by the opposition, especially the new social movement within the labour party. However, this one has surpassed itself by being unpopular within its own ranks and of course is now being delayed by the House of Lords, which has really pissed off David Cameron and George Osborne.

This could end up being Cameron’s equivalent of the 1990 Poll Tax debacle, put upon him by those within his ranks who apparently hate the poor – those being Iain Duncan Smith and George Osbourne, both of whom have benefited from tax avoidance and EU hand-outs that run in to millions. Okay, they have done nothing illegal, but both have benefited enormously by taxation and subsidy loopholes either created or protected by themselves or other ministers.


Osborne and Duncan Smith: hating the poor?

There has not been a more self-serving period since the days of serfdom.

Those wavering voters who trusted Cameron over and above Milliband have been conned, but in a way but I can’t help thinking that it is their own fault for baulking to the right-wing press and effectively digging their own graves…or as a friend said to me, acting like turkeys voting for Christmas.

There was a woman on Question Time the other week who was on the verge of tears because she had voted Conservative only to find out she was soon to be £1800 worse off when they (the Conservatives) told her she would be better off under their leadership, despite not having any concrete evidence to show it.

Like millions of others, I am afraid she has caused her own downfall by not doing her pre-election homework and undoubtedly burying herself into Daily Mail-led diatribe that set out to make Ed Milliband look like a traitorous Communist embarking on a homosexual affair with the corpse of Karl Marx. Milliband didn’t help by being a catastrophic public orator and surrounding himself by toxic potential front benchers, but there was still enough evidence to suggest that the working poor were sat like a metaphorical child with a bag of candy.

I know why some people vote Conservative and I get it because they are very wealthy, but I can’t believe that low paid workers ever thought they were going to get looked after by a party that works for and is financially supported by the rich who have historically, never wanted any workers rights whatsoever; it is subservient madness that I could never understand until I read this quote from George Osborne from a couple of years back.

“Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits? When we say we’re all in this together, we speak for that worker. We speak for all those who work hard to get on.” 

You have to hand it to Osborne because that act of blatant propaganda was an expertly choreographed sleight of hand to turn struggling workers on the feckless and work shy, assuming they were to blame for the ills of the country; it was a master-stroke as millions of low paid-workers fell for it and voted Conservative because of it.

After all, no-one likes the feckless and work shy, me included but a quick glance at the figures below show that whilst the socio-economic issue with the feckless and the work shy needs addressing, the cost of them is a pin prick on a fat cat’s buttock in comparison to tax evasion and avoidance. The difference is tax evaders donate significant sums to political parties in exchange for tight lips and a Knighthood.

However, no-one forced the working poor to the polling booth with a pre-ticked conservative box, so they have to live with their actions and now learn some harsh lessons. I have never claimed tax credits but I knew what was coming even if I was to suffer no consequences, so there is a degree of personal responsibility in all this. It’s a spectacular example of reaping what you sew.

Take the town of Peterborough for example. Peterborough, a town with 63% of its constituents benefiting from working tax credits actually increased its Conservative majority despite having a population that would become poorer because of it. That is, whatever way you look at it, fiscal suicide on an unfathomable scale.

What are these people going to do now to compensate lost tax credit income? Sign up to a Grant Shapps internet get rich scheme? Get a job selling Kirby vacuum cleaners? Buy a franchise to sell sand to Arabs? They couldn’t have appeared more misguided if they had approached Germaine Greer, stuffed a fifty pound note down her top and said, “Go and buy yourself something sexy.”

Low-paid workers keep the cogs of society going, working in retail stores, restaurants, coffee houses or driving buses, working in call centres, picking up litter, cleaning public services and so on. We rely on low-paid workers every day so we should appreciate them, respect them and stand up for them when they are insulted by governments of any colour.

I certainly do, that’s why I always vote for a party that has traditionally stood up for the rights working man because I am one, even if I just about get by without the need for tax credits and do a job that means I am lucky to stay clean and healthy as the years advance.

However, if working people are to continue voting for their opposition, there is not much else I can do except weep.


*In the 2014 tax year there was a total welfare cost to the UK of £164 billion £1.2 billion of which was benefit fraud. This in itself would go a long way to footing the cost of keeping hard working people above the breadline.

However, compare that to tax avoidance and evasion that popped in at a cool £34 billion. That is ten times enough to cover the tax credit shortfall, so the tax credit cap is not an enforced ideology, it is a simplistic one forced upon working people, who, unlike the cheats at the top of the financial tree, can’t afford accountants or lawyers to defend them.

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