10 lies we're told about welfare

(85 Posts)
ttosca Thu 04-Apr-13 14:53:16

Has someone made Jim Royle a policy adviser? Millions are being made poorer while we're fobbed off with porkies

Welfare reform, my arse. Has Jim Royle parked his chair, feet up, telly on, in the corridors between the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions? Employing him as adviser can be the only explanation for the utter rubbish that boils forth from this government on welfare.

Who else could have dreamed up the bedroom tax, a policy so stupid it forces people to leave their homes and drag themselves around the country in search of nonexistent one-bedroom flats?

That one has to be the result of too many hours in front of Jeremy Kyle (no offence) with the heating on full and a can of super-strength lager. It seems as if that is how this government views ordinary people: feckless and useless – poor, because they brought it on themselves, deliberately.

Maybe the cabinet is confused. Twenty-three millionaires in the one room can get like that. But do you know what, enough. Let's call this government's welfare policy what it is – wrong, nasty and dishonest.

Off the top of my head, I can list 10 porkies they are spinning to justify the latest stage of their attack on our 70-year-old welfare state.
1. Benefits are too generous

Really? Could you live on £53 a week as Iain Duncan Smith is claiming he could if he had to? Then imagine handing back 14% of this because the government deems you have a "spare room". Could you find the money to pay towards council tax and still afford to eat at the end of the week?
2. Benefits are going up

They're not. A 1% "uprating" cap is really a cut. Inflation is at least 2.7% . Essentials like food, fuel and transport are all up by at least that, in many cases far more. Benefits are quickly falling behind the cost of living.
3. Jobs are out there, if people look

Where? Unemployment rose last month and is at 2.5 million, with one million youngsters out of work. When Costa Coffee advertised eight jobs, 1,701 applied.
4. The bedroom tax won't hit army families or foster carers

Yes it will. Perhaps most cruel of all, the tax will not apply to foster families who look after one kid. If you foster siblings, then tough. But these kids are often the hardest to place. Thanks to George Osborne and IDS, their chances just got worse. And even if your son or daughter is in barracks in Afghanistan, then don't expect peace of mind as the government still has to come clean on plans for their bedroom.
5. Social tenants can downsize

Really, where? Councils sold their properties – and Osborne wants them to sell what's left. Housing associations built for families. In Hull, there are 5,500 people told to chase 70 one-bedroom properties.
6. Housing benefit is the problem

In fact it's rental costs. Private rents shot up by an average of £300 last year. No wonder 5 million people need housing benefits, but they don't keep a penny. It all goes to landlords.
7. Claimants are pulling a fast one

No. Less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. But tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to run to £120bn.
8. It's those teenage single mums

An easy target. Yet only 2% of single mums are teenagers. And most single mums, at least 59%, work.
9. We're doing this for the next generation

No you're not. The government's admitted at least 200,000 more children will be pushed deeper into poverty because of the welfare changes.
10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts

Wrong. The attack on our welfare state is hitting a whole range of services – privatising the NHS, winding up legal aid for people in debt and closing SureStart centres and libraries. All this will make life poorer for every community.

Some call these myths. I call them lies. We are being told lies about who caused this crisis and lied to about the best way out of it. But I know one thing to be true: this government's polices will make millions of people poorer and more afraid. To do that when you do not have to, when there are other options, is obscene. That's why I'm backing union Unite's OurWelfareWorks campaign in its efforts to help highlight the truth about our welfare state.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/02/ten-lies-told-about-welfare

Tasmania Thu 04-Apr-13 15:59:27

ttosca - this does not change the fact that unlike in the previous generation, there is simply no money. What do people expect? That the country borrows more and more money like and hide the credit card bills into the cupboard?

- When people can get benefits that are equivalent (if not more) than actual salaries, benefits are too high. What's the point in working then? Benefits are an emergency fund that you should not touch unless you really need to. The fact that we have families that have been on benefits of generations is wrong. Unless you are disabled, you should only be entitled to benefits for a set time period.

- Some people who get a salary, have had the same salary for years, and did not even get that 1%.

- I know several young people who got jobs that pay more than the national average this year and last. This is due to good grades at school, with most going to uni. There are jobs out there for young people who did not mess up the first quarter of their life.

- If your son/daughter is old enough to go to Afghanistan... shouldn't they be grown up enough to not live in your house?!?

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Thu 04-Apr-13 17:49:32

Benefits are not equivalent to working salaries. Never have been, to my knowledge.

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Thu 04-Apr-13 17:50:20

Benefits are paid at the rate of the minimum amount the state says you can get by on - and even that is debateable. Surviving on benefits alone is very, very hard.

Solopower1 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:24:50

Glad you posted this.

It's important that we don't just believe everything we're told by the govt and the Daily Mail.

We shouldn't let the govt set the agenda like this.

ttosca Fri 05-Apr-13 00:40:12

Tasmania-

> ttosca - this does not change the fact that unlike in the previous generation, there is simply no money. What do people expect? That the country borrows more and more money like and hide the credit card bills into the cupboard?

There is enough money to give the 'Queen' a £5 Million annual pay-rise and every millionaire in the country a tax break worth anywhere between 40K to 100K (new calculated figure).

Actually, the debt/GDP ratio is at a historical lowpoint:

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/downchart_ukgs.php?chart=G0-total&year=1692_2011&units=p&state=UK

Our cost of borrowing is also very low, lower than many european countries, and close to Germanys.

The deficit is what needs fixing, and this can be fixed by stimulating the economy and pulling us out of a recession. The deficit was at 3% before the financial crisis. It is now 11%. This will not improve until we stop bloodletting the economy through austerity cuts.

>- When people can get benefits that are equivalent (if not more) than actual salaries, benefits are too high.

Firstly, this is false. You hear about the tiny tiny minority in the newspapers who claims a large amount of benefits because they have many kids and are disabled and have a special set of circumstances. For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job.

Secondly, salaries are too low. If you push down benefits any further you will just end up killing people. Benefits are already barely enough to survive on -- in the vast, overwhelming majority of cases.

> What's the point in working then? Benefits are an emergency fund that you should not touch unless you really need to. The fact that we have families that have been on benefits of generations is wrong.

We have very few such families. In fact, there was a recent study done by the CMPO thinktank at Bristol University:

www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2011/wp278.pdf

which found that homes with families with two generations who never worked accounts for 0.1% of total working age population.

> Unless you are disabled, you should only be entitled to benefits for a set time period.

Really? Even in the middle of a recession? A depression? Should people be left to die and starve on the streets, then?

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 00:17:42

ttosca

The Queen may not be one of them, but the UK has to "compete" for wealthy people - they could move to tax havens like Switzerland, for example, to avoid paying UK tax. The UK does not have the taxation policy the U.S. has - which taxes its citizens even if they are living and earning money abroad (i.e. expats). Some of these millionaires or billionaires are not even British. When that happens, that may mean that there would be less people shopping at Selfridges, Harvey Nicks or even Waitrose. They will no longer grace the expensive restaurants in London, or pay for haircuts at fashionable salons. In short, there are a lot of jobs on the line, if these people leave. There's nothing that would stop them from moving somewhere else... and spend their money there. Tax havens will be rubbing their hands. Basically, see them as tourists - tourists pay no income tax in the UK, but they spend their money here, and although the UK is not quite Tourist Central like other places in the world, it would suffer if no tourist ever arrived.

Yes, UK Debt-to-GDP ratio does not actually look as bad as people think, but there are many things excluded from that figure. But you may also have noticed that the peaks of National Debt in the past happened during the two World Wars - which were events of epic proportion. After wars, rebuilding a country (the whole "proper" We're all in this together attitude + you actually HAD TO rebuild the country physically) usually result in an economic upswing that helps. However, I agree the annual budget deficit is a much bigger problem which is at an all-time high. "Stimulating" the economy is quite difficult though because private debt is now relatively high (as opposed to Germany, for example).

What is really needed is probably a mixture of austerity cuts (that is unavoidable) and channeling money into businesses that we believe will pay off in future which - believe it or not - the government is doing. However, we no longer have proper, well-known manufacturing businesses (again, as opposed to Germany), and you don't necessarily want to put more money into the UK service industry which Thatcher built (banks anyone?). Investment tends to happen in niche industries that are not necessarily known to the wider population (e.g. space industry). It's a bit more of a Private Equity Venture, and let's hope they will pay off.

I agree - salaries are too low. They should be higher. My friends on the continent are earning a lot more doing essentially the same job. At the same time, I think house prices are too high. People often spend more than half of their salaries on housing which means there is a lot less money to spend on other things. But what can you do? Gordon Brown did not stick to his promise made in the 90s where he said, he would never let house prices get out of hand. And now, a house price crash will be detrimental to many who own a house to live in.

And yes, I do think that benefits should be capped after a certain period - even during a recession. I say that as someone who was made redundant at the height of the crisis, and had to find another job afterwards, but I did. There are jobs out there for competent people.

The thing is, I'd much rather we CUT BACK NOW, and save the DCs future. It's always the next generation paying for our excesses, and the more we get into debt, the more they will have to deal with. They are already dealt with a tough hand. They will suffer from the following:

- pay off our debt;
- increased global competition;
- less jobs in the middle scale (mergers and big businesses mean that a lot of the jobs that served as the lifeline for middle class professionals in the past are vanishing - one person in a big company can now do the job that many people used to do in different organizations). It is said that future employment will consist of small group earning a lot of money and a large group earning very little;
- environmental matters;

... and many more things.

I do believe that the last few decades will be seen as a Louis XIV era - a period of excess. People in the early 1900s did not live the life we have now. Not many had their own homes. The poor were properly poor. If you were disabled... tough luck. Not much of the welfare state was there (it only began to form around 1911). A century is not really that much when you look back into history. So really, the welfare state is not as tried and tested as people think it is. What we had / grew up with, and see as the norm may be nothing but the Black Swan in the grander scheme of things - i.e. it may be something that is not sustainable in the long-run.

Dawndonna Sat 06-Apr-13 11:52:00

Thing is, we're not paying off our debt are we.
Oh and we're paying out a great deal for Trident.

As for if you were disabled, tough luck, that was not the sign of a civilised society, was it. Are you suggesting we go back to the way it was around 1900. Ridiculous.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 11:58:03

"For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job. "

So why is a benefit cap of £25,000/year after tax... higher before tax than the average annual income from a full-time job... alleged to cause hardship?

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 12:30:17

Dawndona

Clearly, you don't get it, and read things the way you see fit. I was pointing out that previously, there was no welfare state, and that what we have now (and often take for granted, and moan about) may well go down as an anomaly in history as it may not be sustainable in the long-run. Yes, that would be sad, I agree, but what if?

The welfare state is pretty much a pyramid scheme anyway that relies on future growth to sustain it, i.e. more and more children being born, more and more people paying taxes. Environmentally, that IS unsustainable.

Since when has a pyramid scheme been viable?

Dawndonna Sat 06-Apr-13 12:32:06

Damnit, I'd forgotten quite how rude you are Tas
I'll leave you to get on with shouting your corner.

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 12:42:15

Dawn What shouting? I didn't shout? From what I can see, you're the one who thought something was "ridiculous", etc.

Think about it - would the welfare state have been viable, if the population did not continuously grow?!? Pension alone requires that to happen. How on Earth do you expect that to continue? Housing is already expensive as it is - more people would mean it would just go up further. It does not help that Great Britain is an island either.

Before you fire another insult - just answer the question: How is that meant to be affordable if the population is meant to say the same and not grow out of proportion??

ttosca Sat 06-Apr-13 15:17:32

Cogito-

>"For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job. "

> So why is a benefit cap of £25,000/year after tax... higher before tax than the average annual income from a full-time job... alleged to cause hardship?

It isn't. The overwhelming majority of unemployed on welfare live on the breadline.

Startail Sat 06-Apr-13 15:40:17

I know several young people who got jobs that pay more than the national average this year and last. This is due to good grades at school, with most going to uni. There are jobs out there for young people who did not mess up the first quarter of their life.

Not all DCs are lucky enough to have been with the IQ that they can get 5 A-Cs however hard the work. Lower ability DCs tend to have parents least likely to have the skills to help them. They get the worst teachers and the worst behaved class mates.

SN provision has been cut to the bone, only DCs with parents who are bright enough to fight the system stand a chance.

To accuse DCs of wasting a 1/4 of their lives is unbelievably crass and simplistic.

- If your son/daughter is old enough to go to Afghanistan... shouldn't they be grown up enough to not live in your house?!?
However well paid do you think an 18y squaddie is???

They can't afford houses for themselves and their families when they leave the army after many years serving their country. Of course they can't afford to own a house that would then stand empty most of the year.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 17:10:25

So you're saying the benefit cap won't cause any hardship at all because no-one currently gets an income of more than £25,000 from all the various benefits combined? I'm glad to hear that.

13k a year on first joining, DH pays £16 a month for his army accomodation bills all in as well as mimimal council tax charge. Think most Army recruits could afford to send their parents the money to keep their room.

NanaNina Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:05

Well done ttosca for starting this thread. You are clearly very well informed and I agree with everything you say about these welfare cuts and I am sickened by this shabby uncaring bunch of toffs that are now waging war on the poor whilst at the same time giving a tax cut to the wealthiest people in society. It is simpy appalling and they even make Thatcher look reasonable and I never thought I would say such a thing!

The only thing I would query in your list ttosca is the issue of foster carers and the bedroom tax. I understood that foster carers were exempt along with families who have someone who normally lives with them away on active service. It is the foster carers I am more concerned about, as I am a retired social worker and manager with a career spanning 30 years, and there is a national shortage of foster carers. Has there been some change?

I thought disabled people were going to be exempt too, but it appears not. They are going to have to apply to the LA who will have to use their discretion as to whether they are exempt or not.

Can I have a rant of my own please!

The Work capability tests. The govt are paying millions to private companies (the French company Atos in this case)
and the test is a crude computer based tick box system, and you have to score 15 to be allowed onto the ESA (Employment Support Allowance) but there are 2 groups - one WRAG (Work related activity group) and the other you get what you were getting on IB (though only for 1 year) Mind I think you have to be dead to to get what you were on IB!

Some 50% of people who score below this magic number appeal and 40% of people are successfull on appeal, but then after a few weeks the DWP calls them in again and hey presto finds them fit for work! The admin of the appeals themselves is costing 50 million per year, so the govt have another nasty trick up their sleeve to save money. They are now going to have "further consideration" (or somesuch) meaning that the DWP will "re-consider" their decision on the original scoring. No one will be allowed to appeal until this "re-consideration" has been done and the govt wil not give any indication of how long people will have to wait for these "re-considerations" and will only be paid JSA during the waiting period. How sneaky is this........it means that thousands of people who have physical conditions that make them unfit for work, or serious mental health problems are going to be living on JSA between £50 and £70 a week, dependent on age.

They are now testing DLA (disability living allowance) and guess who got the contract - yep - right first time Atos. I saw a programme where a GP who was an ex Labour councillor attended a training programme put on by ATOS for people conducting the WCT. The GP took in a secret camera and the woman running the training programme started off by saying the test was Toxic - yes she was right there.
Many of the people who have fallen foul of the system described above will be in receipt of DLA - but not for much longer.....there are targets for people conducting all of these tests. The govt can deny it all they like but there are most definitely targets and if someone is finding too many people unfit for work, or in need of DLA (which is changing to PIP (Personal Independent Payment) they will have to be "interviewed" (euphamism for being told they are not being ruthless enough)

Oh god I could go on all night. This shower of shite are not going to be satisfied until they have privatised all public services. Do yu remember that huge poster of Cameron I'll cut the deficit not the NHS...........yeah right. And how he could promise no "top to down bottom re-organisation of the NHS" - I do not know. Well I do know, because they are liars.

Tories - please don't bother to reply. This govt is taking us back to the Poor Law of 1834.

2old2beamum Sat 06-Apr-13 21:17:53

Well said ttosca and NanaNina you speak my language.
I don't know what makes me crossest.
JSA who can live on that ? And there are no jobs
They are well on the way to ruining our fantastic NHS (lying snake in the grass)
Don't get me started on disability ATOS are heartless Having struggled to get DD her ESA 1st of 5, fortunately I am tougher than they.
I could go on but you 2 are far more erudite than me
And I am a poor old pensioner

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 00:47:47

Just remembered something else I think needs pointing out to any Tory MNs or those who read the DM. This business of there being a limit of £26,000 p.a. in benefits, after tax and insurance is another clever trick because obviously most people are going to think "wish I earned that much" etc.

This equates to approx £2000 per month, but if you are living in London or within striking difference, and your Housing Benefit is approx £1,300/£1,500 per month, and all other benefits taken into account eg. DLA, carers allowance, child benefit, tax credits etc., and you have children, you are going to find that even with the generous sounding £2000 per month you are not going to be able to manage. This is a sneaky way of carrying out the social cleansing of people claiming housing benefit and living in London or other parts of the S.E where private rents are very high.

Cameron has said that people claiming HB and living in London shouldn't be allowed to live there, when others couldn't afford to live there. OK there might be some truth in that, even though the relatively few families in this position have lived in their homes for many years and have family and friends nearby and children settled in schools. Many of these families have already been moved out of London, to areas far from London, where rents are cheaper. They have been moved to places where rents are cheaper, sometimes in the North of England, where they have been dumped through necessity, with no support from relatives and friends and children being uprooted from schools.

This benefit cap is only going to affect people living in private rents and claiming HB where rents are very high. SO why don't the govt come clean and say this is what it is all about, but then they don't come clean about anything do they.

2oldtobeamum - I don't even know what erudite means so please don't put yourself down. YOu never know it just might make some people see this awful crowd of toffs for what they really are.
I know Ian DS has said he could live on £53 per week if he had to- what rot. Yes, maybe one week........he actually receives over £2000 per week!!!

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 04:39:21

NanaNina You didn't really provide an answer to the dilemma, despite admitting there is some truth to it: what about people who have to work in London, get no housing benefit,etc. and cannot afford a home for £1,300/£1,500 per month? I was paying that out of my net salary when I lived there (DH was still in higher education) - and it was difficult, too. That is one of the many reasons I ended up moving out of London, and the thought that I am paying for others to have that for free is not very nice - to put it mildly.

Most people move out of London because they can't afford to live there. Some of them were born and raised there, and have children to take out of school, too. Most of the time, they also leave friends and family behind. Why should anyone be entitled to live there just because the state pays for them to do so?

I myself do not like the excruciating cost of housing in this country, but asking the state to pay for it as a benefit may well be one of the reasons it has become such a burden to most. It's a simple equation of supply and demand. If less people can afford to pay that rent and move out, then there will be less demand. Landlords then can't demand to be paid so much (for doing very little), and the cost will eventually come down.

A few years ago, a colleague was looking for a flat to rent in London. She had a well-paid job, looking at a 2-bed flat for herself and her sister to live in. Budget was around £1,500 for a posh part of London. The flat she wanted ended up going to a woman on benefits who could offer more money. My colleague was appalled - needless to say, I was, too...

It isn't fair working insane hours for your money, only to see those you are essentially subsidising get a better deal in certain circumstances.

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 04:42:21

Oh... and NanaNina - there was a point in my life where after paying rent, I only had about £200 a month left at the end. Just weird to think that I was actually sitting in an office all day, while someone else could get that without getting out of bed.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sun 07-Apr-13 08:24:57

How do we actually know how much is lost to fraud? Fraudsters by their very nature are liars and cheats they want the money, they don't want to get caught, they are not going to put up their hands and say 'Hey I am cheating the system' add me to your fraudulent claims figures

If everyone who is on welfare was re evaluated using multi department checks I would bet that the actual fraud figure is a lot more than 1% however I would also imagine the cost of doing so would be a lot more then the money it would save plus the cost of putting and keeping those thieves in prison, so it will never get done, but unless it does we cannot put a percentage on the amount of fraudulent claims because we simply do not know the full scale

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 13:44:09

"Fraudsters by their very nature are liars and cheats" - yes agreed - so how about the way this govt have lied lied and lied again. None of these so-called welfare reforms or selling off the NHS was in their manifesto. In fact quite the opposite in terms of the NHS -remember Cameron's big smiey face "I'll cut the deficit not the NHS" yeah right. There have been large numbers of redundancies in the NHS.
There was a promise that no front line police officers would be cut, that too was a lie. When did you last see police officers marching against redundancies in the force.

What about all the billions of pounds that is "hived off" in off-shore accounts by the wealthy so that they don't have to pay income tax. What about the fraudsters with the expenses scandal (and yes I accept that this was true for Labour MPs too) What about the 2 ex Tory ministers, Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken serving custodial sentences for fraud and perveting the course of justice, ie. lying?

You say we will never know the true figures of benefit fraud which is probably true but it is also true that we wil never know what kind of "white collar" fraud is being committed, and we are talking in terms of billions of pounds here, not the paltry sums of fruad committed by the "little people" (that's what the Tory toffs call people who are at the bottom of the pile.)

Tasmania I canot disagree with what you say about the high cost of rents in London, but why didn't the govt come clean and say "We are moving people out of London because they are not deserving of living in places where deserving people can't live" instead of hiding behind this benefit cap. I know why, they found a way of making people furious that benefit claimants were getting £2000 a month. They chose not to make the point that this was only going to effect people living in highly priced rented accommodation and in receipt of HB. SO 2 birds killed with one stone - get the undeserving out of London and make people think that all claimants get £2000 per month.

Are you aware that the vast majority of people needing to claim benefits are actually in work, but are working for the minimum wage which is not sufficent for their needs, thus forcing them to claim benefit in order to live a half decent life. Also many jobs are part time, and it is now comonplace for employees to have a "zero hours contract" which means that employers can pull them in when needed, amd shunt them off when they're not needed. Try telling that to the DWP and trying to claim benefit for when you are not receiving any income at all.

As if that wasn't bad enough, employed people are being told that they must seek to work longer hours, or benefits will be with-held. Tell me how do employees who work part time (not out of choice) going to force the employer to give them permanent contracts. Maybe IDS has the answer.

I'm not going to waste any more of my time. This govt is rotten to the core and what is happening now is the tip of the iceberg as they continue to wage war on the poor and give tax cuts to the rich, ie. Osborne cutting top rate of tax from 50% to 45% and then trying to justify it by saying high earners will take their business elsewhere if they have to pay too much tax. He must think we are stupid as him if we believe this.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 16:39:44

Please give me time
DH good job, Me paediactric nurse/midwife 3 lovely DC's perfect middle class YUK
One day baby arrived in SCBU (I was at delivery) he was Downs parents not interested so to cut a long story short he became the 1st of 8 of our fantastic adopted children 3 sadly have died. DH made redundant in 1992 as jobs were so scarce we decided to adopt a chid with extra special needs sadly she and her her subsequent brother died but we decided to battle on and have adopted 2 with very complex needs (tube fed Colostomy deafblind weekly infusions bowel washouts) the list goes on and that is just the youngest 2
We' re now OAP's Still as a family depending on benefits to support our lovely people and I must add we are not poor. So please tell me we are scroungers.
DC's 1 33 Downs poorly controlled epilepsy
2 27 Downs Crap heart pace maker
3 24 Downs crap heart
4 14 deafblind cerebral palsy epilepsy gut probs /tube fed
5 7 emanuel syndrome tube fed immune problems/weekly infusions
The list goes on
I have several friends are in our "old" position
BTW we as a family have saved the tax payer in excess of £6,000;000
DC4 was costing £5000/wk in care.
Would just like to point out we are not sitting on our arses

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 17:06:34

2old i think you are an amazing woman You and your DH both. The love and adoration for your children shines from your posts.
And i bet they love you very very much.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 17:13:05

Thanks Darkesteyes I really appreciate your comments (and your views) But I missposted meant it to go on the Philpot Post re Osbourne and Daily Fails comments on "welfare culture" IYSWIM X

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 17:48:26

NanaNina

"Fraudsters by their very nature are liars and cheats" - yes agreed - so how about the way this govt have lied lied and lied again. None of these so-called welfare reforms or selling off the NHS was in their manifesto.

They took over from Labour. Has it occurred to you that the previous government may not have disclosed what they have squandered money on? Spending increased a lot under Labour. Someone had to reil that in!!! I can imagine myself going "WTF?!?" after being elected and finally told the truth. Also... people are exaggerating the NHS issue. They've just been given more autonomy / responsibility. It's not like everyone is told to buy extensive private healthcare for £300 a month per person.

I cannot disagree with what you say about the high cost of rents in London, but why didn't the govt come clean and say "We are moving people out of London because they are not deserving of living in places where deserving people can't live" instead of hiding behind this benefit cap.

Because without quoting the numbers (and believe me, a lot of people did not know you can get that much in HB), it would be even more difficult to make people understand. The way you worded it sounds like social cleansing which gets people ruffled up in a different way, but it has been happening naturally already to those who are not on HB, due to the cost of living in certain areas. You can't win. Either way it sounds wrong, yet something has to be done.

Osborne cutting top rate of tax from 50% to 45% and then trying to justify it by saying high earners will take their business elsewhere if they have to pay too much tax.

As mentioned several times: this is, in fact, true. I've seen it used as an excuse for the wealthy to take their business abroad (i.e. small firms with well-paid employees moving to Switzerland, for example).

I've said in other threads that Germany had huge austerity measures in place in the 90s - up until now, really, that makes them be better positioned now (they now register lowest unemployment figure for over a decade). In the 90s, German employees commanded much higher salaries than their competition abroad. One of the things the government did was to push down wages. In a proper "We're all in this together" mode, the government worked with the unions and businesses to get this done - each sacrificing things along the way. Workers' wages were cut - with some working part-time, etc. so that less jobs were cut. Some tax cuts were made. Businesses promised to stay. Somehow, I don't quite see the same thing happening here as most will take what they can.

YNK Sun 07-Apr-13 17:55:03
Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 18:02:57

NanaNina I mean... look at Michael Caine. He was already a tax exile before, and always threatens to leave as soon as a tax hike is in sight. He famously told Blair: "You can't tax people who have enough money for air fare". That's how a lot of the mega wealthy are - internationally mobile. They'll just pay lower taxes somewhere else.

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 18:13:31

Personally, what I would have introduced is rent control... literally slash it! Greedy landlords would see profits decline, HB could have decreased as a result and private renters would have more disposable income to spend... which MAY stimulate the economy.

But obviously, this would impact the lifestyle of the Babyboomer generation who may as well be seen as holy in this country.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 18:37:08

NO TASMANIA I DO NOT THINK I AM HOLY
I am 69 and work bloody hard

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 19:17:48

Hello 2oldtobeamum I thought I had come across you before, possibly on the adoption and fostering threads. I can barely imagine how difficult it is to cope with so many children with such complex health needs, but don't let that Tasmania woman get to you. I don't understand what she means about the babyboomer being seen as holy in this country. A very odd comment. I too am 69 and just thinking about coping with all of the children in your care makes me feel tired! You are saving the state thousands upon thousands of pounds, and I'm sure you love the children in your care, but tories aren't interested in such things as emotions - they are intent on waging war on the poor and the disabled. I just have a feeling though that their bedroom tax might be Osborne's poll tax - I do hope so.

Tasmania I know I said you weren't worth bothering about but I must counter you. The Labour party gave the banks a free rein and the bankers became greedy and were offering sub prime mortgages and the collapse of the Leemans Brothers Bank was the start of the rot. However the tories are now making the most disadvantaged people in society pay for the greed of the bankers, who are still awarding themselves huge bonuses and pensions.

On the issue of the NHS, NO they haven't just been given more autonomy/responsibility, large parts of the NHS are being sold off to "any willing provider" (Cameron's words) and this is happening right across the country. The govt puts out a tender (an invitation to buy) and private companies make their bids, and the one coming in cheapest, is awarded the contract. The govt then pay out millions (sometimes billions) to these private contractors, and they take over running the parts of the NHS that the govt see fit to "selll off" - the contractors know nothing of medicine or how to run a hospital, it is all about making profits, so that shareholders will become rich too as a result. They will cream off the less complex areas of medicine and most costly and take the rest - it's called "cherry picking" This "model" is called privatisation and this the govt's agenda, not just for the NHS but for all public services. Once the new contractors start to take over the employees terms and conditions can be altered at a stroke. Even if there is a TUPE transfer the new contractors only have to wait 2 years to change terms and conditions. You appear to be singularly uninformed about the privatisation agenda.

Since you mention private medical insurance, am I imagining that there are more and more adverts in the press and on TV for private health insurance, because this is how it will end up if this govt win the next election, though I think this is highly unlikely.

As for the mention of Michael Cane - how is this relevant to this debate!!

I agree that there should be rent controls to prevent landlords and ladies making huge profits and the HB bill being increased as a result. The govt won't be wanting to do anything about this though because again it is privatisation and that is what they want. Landlords/ladies are in a very good position at the moment because people cannot afford their first home (since Margaret Thatcher allowed council tenants to buy their council houses) and they were not replaced.

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 19:22:32

Thanks for the link YNK - I take the Guardian and so keep up to date with what these cruel uncaring filthy rich toffs are doing to our country and the dismantling of the welfare state. I especially appreciate Polly Toynbee and John Harris in the Guardian as they have their finger on the pulse.

The trouble is I think the vast majority of the population read the red tops and the dreadful Daily Mail and believe what they read.

Anyhow Tasmanis why don't you take a look at the link providing stats and let us know what you think...............can barely wait for your reply.

Solopower1 Sun 07-Apr-13 19:43:35

Agree with you NanaNina - you write what I think. And 2oldtobeamum, thank you for posting and saying it as it is. flowers

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 19:51:01

NanaNina thankyou for your post am so glad I am not the only caring old fart on MN Yes I do go on adoption and I can assure you that are adopted DC's are loved as much as our home grown
Like you we get the Guardian. My main fears as an old midwife etc
is the NHS and the vulnerable
Some of these threads make me want to weep why is there so much greed?

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 22:31:58

I get Guardian too. I love John Harris"s articles.

Maggysinge Mon 08-Apr-13 08:16:56

I can see how much good work the Tories are doing and how right they are when some scrounging bum on BBC news is crying that she can't take her 5 feral kids on holiday as all her benefits have been reduced. Now this is what needs to stop and I can't praise them enough. Keep up the good work Cameron et all.

Maggysinge Mon 08-Apr-13 08:18:37

Oh and to see all the lefties handwringing and all the hysteria is positively wonderful. Now that is what I call good work.

2old2beamum Mon 08-Apr-13 10:19:03

Maggysinge Please do not judge all by a few dysfuntional families if they were at the other end of the financial spectrum they could well be tax evaders. Being on Benefits does not make people scum.

NanaNina Mon 08-Apr-13 13:08:58

Well we seem to have lost Tasmania for the time being, but have gained another Tory (a worse one in my opinion) Ms I don't intend to engage with her - a total waste of time. The sad thing is though that so many people believe this crap that the tories put out, about "scroungers" and then picking on one dysfunctional family (like Osborne did with the Philpott case) just as Ms has done with something she saw on BBC. I think though the nastiest part of her post is the mention of "5 feral kids" - these children are almost certainly deprived and disadvantaged, and it is no fault of theirs that they are living in poverty. Don't even think many tories would sink that low.

Incidentally I see on the Osborne/Philpott business thread, that dozens and dozens of MNs are horrified by him trying to use that case to justify the fact that he is driving a coach and horses through the welfare state. I think he might have shot himself in the foot there. Hooray!!

Tasmania Mon 08-Apr-13 18:33:16

NanaNina

Why is everyone who disagrees with you "not worth for you to waste your time on"? This is a forum, and last time I checked the dictionary, that means "a public meeting place for open discussion" - emphasis on OPEN. This should not be a place to spread propaganda without it being questioned or a place where a purely leftist brigate commiserate with one another.

I'm not exactly a Tory - but as political parties here in the UK are so polarised that common sense seems to be going down the drain, I probably would say that at this point in time I agree more with the coalition than with Labour (and let's face it, there aren't more parties worth thinking about realistically). What I myself would do would be quite different to what has been done, but hey ho, I'm not the Prime Minister, nor the Chancellor.

What I would do is:
- introduce rent controls, coupled with a reduction in HB (theoretically, the former would result in the latter); I would NOT reduce JSA, because I do think that is the minimum.
- make winter fuel allowance / basic state pension means-tested (if you are sitting on millions, you don't need that in my mind). This means that only those who really need it will get it - I have a private pension plan, and I don't necessarily rely on ever getting state pension in 30+ years time.
- make NHS more efficient - I do think this should be run more like a company. No company would have gotten by spending billions on IT infrastructure that then gets shelved!

Just doing the above should save you a significant amount of money. I would also do a bit more research about how social housing is allocated. Not sure how that is done exactly, but from other threads, I've seen, some perfectly healthy people who may have gone through a rough period 20-odd years ago are still living in those flats, even though they've pulled themselves out, and are now earning well above the average wage. It was something to do with the flat being made available to you "for life". Surely, these flats are meant to be for those who really need it?!?

I quoted the Michael Caine comment, because you said somewhere that those with more money / businesses should be made to cough up. Unfortunately, the ones who have the cash, are very, very mobile, and they could just leave the country, losing us even more revenue.

2old2beamum

Of course, you are not the stereotypical product of the Babyboomer generation! Apologies for that. People like you should have been given salaries rather than benefits to have done what you did. But statistically speaking, those who were in that generation benefitted from rising houseprices and a largely buoyant economy, with very little competition. They are also the biggest voting mass (it was a babyboom after all) in the UK and most likely to be home owners - which I believe is one of the reasons successive governments are unwilling to do something about the cost of housing... you'd lose a big proportion of your electorate if you go for policies that will result in a reduction of house prices...

NanaNina Tue 09-Apr-13 13:05:06

Yes I agree it is a place for debate, but I suppose I get weary of "debating" with tories as they are as wedded to their view as I am to mine. Glad you are not exactly a tory and I have to admit that there seems to be little difference between the coalition and Labour. Ed M is far too nice, too polite and that's no good in politics, you need to have the "fire in your belly" and be committed in your policies. He is mainly silent, and should be pointing out the ruthlessness of this coalition.

I agree with you about rent controls - there used to be legislation "The Fair Rent Act" - long gone. Also agree about winter fuel allowance - I give mine to my sister who needs it more than me.

Totally disagree with you about the NHS. As I said before you seem to be largely uninformed about the privatisation agenda. Public services do not need to be privatised and highly paid managers coming in with the business model and changing the terms and conditions of people who have spent years toiling away in the public services. OK this is something of a generalisation but I have always believed that public services run on goodwill. I am a retired social wrkr and middle manager and routinely worked 50-60 hours per week. My son and dil are primary school teachers and get home at 6.00 and then work for a couple of hours on most evening, and one of the weekend days, and parts of the holidays. My friend is a specialist nurse and works around 12 hours per day.

The truth of the matter is that govt don't trust public servants and as they don't produce anything for profit, the only way they can make money out of them is to commission private contractors to run the service and pay them billions of pounds, so that money can be made for the contractors and the shareholders. We are seeing it in the NHS, schools being bullied into becoming academies, privately run prisons, hospitals, probation service, police - as I said before they won't be satisfied until all public services are privatised. This doesn't mean the service will improve (many of the academies are doing less well in terms of exam results) than schools run by the headteacher and the LEA. The NHS has "authority" from the govt for up to 50% of their beds provided for private patients. What does that mean for the rest of us - I'm no economist but it's not difficult to work out how we will be disadvantaged.

I don't understand your point about the allocation of social housing and people put in "those flats" 20 years ago when they fell on hard times, but are now perfectly healthy and earning a good wage. In the days before Margaret Thatcher allowed people to buy their council houses, they used to be allocated on the basis of need by the LA. The problem is that insufficient new properties were built by councils to take the place of the council houses bought by the tenants.

As far as I am aware all LHAs contracted out the building and letting of housing to Housing Associations and the term now is social housing. Again this was done on the basis of need and numbers in the family etc. What we have now is the bedroom tax where people who have lived for years in their council homes or social care homes and have raised a family and they now have a spare bedroom, losing £14 per week in Housing Benefit if they have 1 spare room and £28 per week if there are 2 spare bedrooms. The only alternative is to try to move to smaller accdt. There are no smaller social housing for them to move to and their only option would be to leave their home and rent in the private sector, and because of high rents, the HB would paid would far outweigh the "savings" made on the bedroom tax.

Disabled people are not exempt from the bedroom tax and if they need a spare room (maybe for a carer to use) or a partner (where a disabled person needs a bed for themselves and their equipment) to use the remaining bedrom. They will have to apply to the LA for exemption. This is an absolute disgrace.

There is just no limit to what these toffs are going to do to make disadvantaged people worse off, whilst bailing out the HBOS Bank with 20 million of taxpayers money - yes that's right 20 million. Osborne will not agree that bankers' bonuses should be capped at twice their annual salary!!!!

I just hope Osborne's bedroom tax is the equivalent of the poll tax which Thatcher tried and failed to impose on the British people.

NanaNina Thu 11-Apr-13 13:27:11

SO why aren't you furthering the debate Tasmania.......??

cory Fri 12-Apr-13 10:13:23

Tasmania Thu 04-Apr-13 15:59:27
"ttosca - this does not change the fact that unlike in the previous generation, there is simply no money."

No, and as independent economic bodies are trying to point out to the government, there won't be any either, unless they revise their austerity policies which are holding back economic growth.

This government is like a farmer who has lost his crop due to bad weather and decides the only way forward is not to manure the next batch of seeds and to cut back on feeding his milk cows.

Yes, he may not have the money, but unless his seeds and cattle are treated right, he will lose all his chances of making money in the future too.

2old2beamum Fri 12-Apr-13 16:06:38

Beautifully put cory. Could not have put it better

NanaNina Fri 12-Apr-13 19:24:49

Ooh haven't seen you on MN for ages Cory but remember your name. Can't remember which threads though. Might have been when I was defending MILs!! Agree with your post and your analogy, but this govt won't listen to any of their critics, be they economists, doctors, teachers, whoever - so long as they look after their own interests (and those of their ilk) the rest can be written off.

2old2beamum Fri 12-Apr-13 21:42:17

NanaNina We speak the same language am glad I am not the onlyold fart on here. Have read some of your threads smile
Sorry off thread.

ttosca Sat 13-Apr-13 23:18:17

Voters 'brainwashed by Tory welfare myths', shows new poll

Survey shows public ignorance of the level of benefits and who gets them

----

Ministers were accused of demonising benefits claimants in an attempt to justify their controversial decision to increase most state handouts by less than inflation.

Polling commissioned by the Trades Union Congress suggests that a campaign by Tory ministers is turning voters against claimants – but only because the public is being fed "myths" about those who rely on benefits.

The criticism comes before a crunch Commons vote next Tuesday on the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, which will ensure that most benefits and tax credits will rise by only one per cent for the next three years. Labour, which will vote against the measure, tried today to answer Tory claims that it is "soft" on scroungers by announcing a "tough love" plan to force adults who have been out of work for more than two years to take up a government "job guarantee" or lose their benefits.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has spoken about "the shiftworker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next-door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits". Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has highlighted figures showing that benefits have risen by almost twice as much as earnings in the past five years. According to YouGov, four out of 10 people think benefits are too generous and three in five believe the system has created a culture of dependency. However, people who know least about the facts are the most hostile towards claimants. More than half of those who are "least accurate" about the system think benefits are too generous, while fewer than one in three (31 per cent) of those giving the "most accurate" answers agree.

Mr Osborne's decision to cap most benefit rises at one per cent is supported by 48 per cent and opposed by 32 per cent. But, by a margin of three to one, people think the squeeze will mainly hit the unemployed. When told it will also affect low-paid workers receiving tax credits, people oppose the move by 40 to 30 per cent. Only one in four people believe benefits should go up by less than wages or prices, while 63 per cent want to see them linked to wages, prices or both.

Frances O'Grady, the TUC General Secretary, said: "It is not surprising that voters want to get tough on welfare. They think the system is much more generous than it is in reality, is riddled with fraud and is heavily skewed towards helping the unemployed, who they think are far more likely to stay on the dole than is actually the case. Indeed if what the average voter thinks was true, I'd want tough action too.

"But you should not conduct policy, particularly when it hits some of the most vulnerable people in society, on the basis of prejudice and ignorance. And it is plainly immoral to spread such prejudice purely for party gain, as ministers and their advisers are doing, by deliberately misleading people about the value of benefits and who gets them."

Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, accused ministers of resorting to "smears" by claiming they are targeting the workshy and benefit scroungers when two-thirds of those affected by the cap are in work.

Mr Balls announced that Labour would raise £1bn by limiting tax relief on pension contributions to 20 per cent for those on more than £150,000 a year. This would fund a "compulsory jobs guarantee" for the 129,000 adults over the age of 25 who have been jobless for more than two years, a move that would later be extended to those on the dole for more than a year.

Writing on the PoliticsHome website, Mr Balls said: "A One Nation approach to welfare reform means government has a responsibility to help people into work and support those who cannot, but those who can work must be required to take up jobs or lose benefits – no ifs or buts. Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from an out-of-touch and failing government."

Ministers insist there is strong public support for reducing the welfare bill, saying the TUC had failed to produce an example of the Government misleading people. Mr Osborne hit back at Mr Balls, accusing him of making uncosted spending commitments because he had already announced plans to spend the same £1bn on reversing cuts to tax credits.

A government source said last night: "It beggars belief that Labour's union baron backers think people are stupid for daring to suggest the benefits system needs reforming. If Labour seriously thinks stopping households receiving more in benefits than families earn going out to work is prejudiced and ignorant, it is completely out of touch."

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/voters-brainwashed-by-tory-welfare-myths-shows-new-poll-8437872.html

LaVolcan Tue 16-Apr-13 19:56:01

May I commend this report to you.
www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/truthandliesaboutpoverty/

The only problem as I see it is that the ones who need to have the facts pointed out to them will almost certainly be the ones who won't bother to read it.

Astley Tue 16-Apr-13 20:27:20

All soldiers are provided with accommodation at their home barracks once they have finished basic training. So no one needs to live at home. If they do, it's because they decided to, why should that be funded by the tax payer?

Also, barrack accommodation is heavily subsidised and deducted straight from salary, so no chance of rent arrears and/or eviction.

Lazyjaney Tue 16-Apr-13 23:50:59

Surely though, the biggest Welfare myth going around at the moment is that the total spend, and it's growth, is affordable now and into the long term?

Only when that is faced will it be possible to have a sensible debate IMO

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 01:11:02

Are you saying that the myth is that the spending is affordable, or isn't? It's not clear.

It's a matter of priorities - we seem to have plenty of money to bail out the banks, spend on nuclear weapons, and finance a tax cut for the rich. We can even conjour up £10 million just at the drop of a hat. Just to stick with the figure of £10 million - we weren't able to find this a a coupld of years ago when libraries were forced to close. According to this table this would have financed 44 libraries i.e. equivalent to those libraries in Somerset and Oxfordshire listed for closure in Somerset and Oxfordshire.

I went to Florence with my parents in the seventies. We saw beggars in the streets. "We don't have beggars in the streets in our country" we said, "we do better than that". Fast forward to the 1980s, 90s up to now. Beggars in the streets.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 01:11:54

Sorry repeated a few words there.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 09:44:32

In principle you are right. It is a question of priorities.

In practice it isn't as simple as that. Let's take 2011-2012 since it's the last year figures are readily available for and a good illustration. I'll even use the Guardian for the figures which is hardly a right wing rag.

We currently have a deficit of around £120bn. source

Now look at what the government is spending Govt spending by dept

As you will see, welfare makes up the largest piece of the pie by a significant margin. With health and then education.

So...I'd be very interested in seeing where you believe we can cut back and save £120bn? Which departments do you deem are totally unnecessary and should close and which do you think should cut back to fund our welfare bill? Since it's all about priorities isn't it, I am interested in seeing where your priorities are.

Lastly even the Guardian notes that '....how anything less than a billion is really not that much in government terms' In that context £10million for a one off single event isn't anything to get het up about. It's the equivalent of saying "I earn £2k a month and am spending £3k" then you getting pissed off at me because I bought a Freddo for 10p. The elephant in the room isn't the 10p, it's the grand a month I'm overspending by.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 10:29:07

if you dig into those figures though - substantial spending is on pensions, and housing benefit which mostly goes to those in work. Non of this fits in with the 'welfare scroungers' picture which we are having rammed down our throats, of three generations of families who have never worked, or single teenage mums who get pregnant just to get a council flat.

I believe we should attempt to stimulate the economy. The Bank of England has created £375 billion to date in quantitative easing, effectively out of nothing. They bought assets in the form of government securities from non-banking financial institutions e.g. pension funds, and in doing so they created Central Bank reserves on behalf of the commercial banks. Those commercial banks could 'on-lend' to small business to stimulate the economy, but they are not doing so.

Prof Richard Werner, Southampton University, has suggested that the Govt. funds its deficit not by selling Gilts, but by entering into loan contracts with Commercial banks, which could be done at a lower interest rate than would be paid on Gilts. This would increase the money supply, which would enter the real economy via Govt. spending, stimulate the economy and kick-start bank lending and borrowing. He predicts that it would generate a recovery within 6 months to a year.

So no, it's not as simple as that.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 10:44:19

I agree on your point about welfare scroungers picture. There is of course a small hardcore minority who are milking the system but in the grand scale of things it is peanuts. Not saying we shouldn't tackle them, we should but in my view it is disingenuous to suggest they are responsible for the deficit.

On your point regarding QE, i don't think it has been a particular success for the man on the street. It's been better at shoring up confidence in bank balance sheets which I guess you could argue is good for the nation.

But I do wonder if the government couldn't just set up a scheme to lend directly to small businesses instead? Or create a temporary quango? We do desperately need to stimulate the economy to inject more confidence but not at the cost of taming the deficit.

The reality is that there is no way at all to solve our deficit without growth. Extra taxes, lower public spending are both required to slow the amount of debt we're accumulating but ultimately we need to boost growth to boost tax revenues but more importantly a government who doesn't then spend it. Because that's how we got into this mess in the first place.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 11:05:12

QE probably hasn't been a success for the man in the street because the banks have chosen not to lend.

I wouldn't agree with a government which doesn't then spend, but substitute that for a government which spends wisely. Priming the pump to kick start the economy, if you like. Once you stimulate the economy you would lift many people out of welfare, and it could go then go back to being a safety net.

Your old-fashioned Tory like Harold McMillan had lived through two wars and a Depression, and he didn't choose to dismantle the welfare state of the 45 Labour govenment. There was a realisation that Depression wasn't good for the country. Something that Cameron, Osborn and Co could do with learning.

As far as getting into the mess the country is in, we could argue loud and long as to the causes, I suspect, but I am pretty sure that it wasn't the disabled people who are bearing the brunt of the present cuts who caused it.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 11:23:59

The welfare state is hardly being dismantled. It's at best had a bit of a tightening up. If you look at how much money is still being spent versus saved, it's barely anything. Even IDS is now admitting they are merely slowing the rate of increase rather than decreasing spending on benefits.

As for your last comment, we hear this from every group. We didn't cause it. Make the bankers pay, they caused it. It's a childish argument. I expect the 'it's not my fault' line of logic from my 6 year old.

The government has massively overspent money we didn't have. We as an electorate voted the government's in so we have collective responsibility to pay off the debts they ran up in our name.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 11:34:57

niceguy2 - I would hope you had the decency to admit that the people bearing the brunt of the cuts, the sick and the disabled were not the main cause of the current depression?

Welfare state not being dismantled? Thousands would disagree with you.

We didn't actually vote the government in, remember? Cameron didn't win the election.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 11:47:12

It can be argued that the big banks caused it. They do have the ability to create money out of nothing. Did they spend it wisely? No, they chose to gamble it on derivatives rather than invest productively.

Regardless of the cause: there are people like Prof Werner who have put forward sensible suggestions as to how the solve the problem. Cameron and Osborn don't seem to want to know this.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 11:57:17

Everyone is affected by the deficit problem. I don't see a single group which is unaffected. Now you could argue that the sick & disabled are bearing the brunt. And it's a view I share some sympathy with. But where does the money come from to maintain the welfare system as-is? You never answered my question earlier. Where would YOU take the money from? It's alright saying "Oh it's not fair" but when the money isn't there, it isn't there. Pointing to a few million quid here & there is ignoring the elephant in the room. We need to save over a hundred BILLION every year.

Our system of government has been in place for donkeys years. Are you saying this govt is illegitimate because it did not get over 50% of the votes? Because that has never happened. I think the Tories got close once in the 1940's with 49% of the vote. Getting over 50% is simply unrealistic. Again it is a simplistic argument which neatly ignores the reality in which we live.

Yes we have a coalition government. But whilst that is rare in the UK, it is almost the norm across Europe. Most European countries run coalition government's as a matter of course. Often with wafer thin majorities. Are you saying those are not legitimate government's either?

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 12:19:57

I did answer your question. It wasn't the answer you wanted: create wealth by stimulating the economy, thus avoiding cuts.

The Tories have got in before with less than 50% of the vote, but have had a majority of seats and hence won. That's as a result of our current 'first past the post' system. Plenty disagree with the system, but that is a debate for elsewhere.

Did I mention legitimacy? I reminded you, that Cameron didn't win, (unlike Blair, or Thatcher). Most other European countries afaik have various proportional representation systems which lead to coalitions. This is one reason we get given for not having PR.

They (Cameron/Osborn) didn't put these policies in their manifesto. Cameron managed to stitch up a coalition to enact the policies they have decided to implement. You can't therefore state that we voted them in, because no-one did.

You could discuss whether the LibDems/Clegg should have gone along with these policies and whether this is what LibDem voters would wish for, but again that's a discussion for elsewhere.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 12:53:33

Ah so what you believe is that we don't need to make cuts. Just keep borrowing until some magical day when economic growth will save us. Personally I believe a combination of both is best.

If a man is in debt, is the best way forward to keep spending and hope that someday in the future he will get a payrise to wipe out his blatant overspending?

The problem is that unless we actually make some cuts, noone would take us seriously that we are going to be more prudent.

As for policies, it was the position of all three major parties that cuts would be made. None of them were specifying exactly where those cuts would fall. None of them had the guts to put their todger on the table so to speak on that one. But we all knew cuts were coming. The only difference was the size & speed of the cuts.

LaVolcan Wed 17-Apr-13 13:16:35

You are determined to put words into my mouth. Where is stimulating the economy necessarily equated with borrowing? However, I did talk about bank borrowing and lending: there is borrowing to finance investment, which will create wealth. Is that wrong?

Since we are going for the simplistic arguments: if a man is in debt, does he keep spending and hope that he gets a payrise, or does he make cuts, or a third alternative, does he look for ways to create extra income? In reality probably a bit of each.

Now let's carry on with the simplistic argument, our man has a good idea for a business, his business plan is sound, but he lacks start up capital. Good or bad? He goes to the bank and they say, 'No dice chum, we are not lending money' and the business never gets off the ground. Or do they say, 'yes, your plan seems sound - these are our terms for a loan'?

Another question - can something as complex as the economy be compared with individual actions? Governments can create and print money, individuals can't.

niceguy2 Wed 17-Apr-13 22:55:33

Sorry LaVolcan, I think you are missing my point. We are ALREADY borrowing £120 billion every year. Given your earlier statement that we should avoid cuts, you are therefore saying we should continue to borrow to the tune of £120 billion a year until a undetermined time when our economy will not only recover but produce enough taxes to pay our debts back.

I've not even begun to discuss where you think the money should come from to stimulate the economy because in principle I agree with you on that one. My desire would be to see govt depts take a hit to fund investments rather than further borrowing or tax hikes. I suspect your solution would be different and involve more borrowing or taxing someone else.

can something as complex as the economy be compared with individual actions? Governments can create and print money, individuals can't.

I hate this logic. Firstly equating the economy with individual budgets is an analogy to illustrate a point. When I say somewhere is so small that there's not enough room to swing a cat, i don't expect the reply of "Well actually have you measured it? What size is the cat?" Nor am I seriously going to get a cat to swing.

Of course there are differences but I maintain that the differences in general are smaller than you'd like to believe. Yes government's can print money but that doesn't mean it is a good idea. In fact I'd argue QE in the long term is bad for everyone. Otherwise why doesn't the govt just print an extra £120 billion a year and be done with it? After all, noone wants to see the poor & needy suffer when there's such a simple solution right?

ttosca Sun 21-Apr-13 08:03:49

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ttosca Sun 21-Apr-13 08:21:48

>...but more importantly a government who doesn't then spend it. Because that's how we got into this mess in the first place.

No, it really isn't. And making profoundly ignorant statements like this shows that you either have no understanding at all about recent history or economics, or you are simply lying to promote your own ideology.

"We're in the mess in the first place" as a result of a meltdown in the financial sector, which was running a huge pyramid scheme and gambling with 'financial instruments' of which they had no understanding, not to mention the outright illegal activity such as money laundering, rate fixing, and scamming customers.

It wasn't because the govt. spent too much on schools and hospitals and nurses that we've been in recession for over three years. It's beyond absurd to suggest this.

ttosca Sun 21-Apr-13 08:33:41

'nice'guy-

> Of course there are differences but I maintain that the differences in general are smaller than you'd like to believe.

Except you use this analogy only insofar as it suits your agenda. Your austerity-promoting ideas during the middle of a depression are like telling someone who has no job to sell their car and all their business suits in order to receive a quick windfall of money and pay back some debts.

Unfortunately, this will harm the persons finances in the long term if they need a car to get to work and can't get a job because they don't even have a suit for a job interview.

Anyway, we've been arguing this for over a year now. You've comprehensively been proven wrong by reality. Austerity Britain has given us a double-dip recession and possibly a triple-dip recession. Our economy is performing worse in terms of growth than most of europe. Unemployment is rising. Austerity has comprehensively failed.

The onus is on you to show how the failed austerity policies of the past 2 1/2 years will 'magically' (as you like to use the term) turn the UK economy around run than continue to sink us deeper and deeper in to recession.

How about some facts and comparisons with other countries, rather than just right-wing ideology of cuts as the basis for your arguments?

niceguy2 Sun 21-Apr-13 10:16:43

Funny isn't it Ttosca. All three main parties are saying that cuts are needed. The only debate between them is where the cuts should fall, how much and over what period. Every western nation I can think of is implementing austerity measures of varying degrees. From the deep cuts the PIIGS countries have been forced to adopt to the more subtle nip tucks from America. It seems no western country is advocating more borrowing as the solution. Even in America they are talking about how to tame the deficit and where to cut.

You are at times it seems the only one who maintains that we have no debt problem and that we should keep borrowing. In that context it certainly doesn't sound like it is me who isn't living in reality.

ssd Sun 21-Apr-13 10:27:15

niceguy, I think ttosca is showing you up here, you don't seem to have much of an argument when asked about facts

ttosca Sun 21-Apr-13 15:32:05

It’s time Osborne provided evidence for his disastrous economic course

---

Gideon needs to put his house in order, pronto.

That’s the message I’m taking from the fact that the previous article on this blog – Austerity programme proved to be nonsense based on a spreadsheet mistake – has become the most popular ever to appear here. More than 10,000 of you read it within 24 hours of publication.

Clearly, the fact that a principal pillar of his faith - the work by Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff – has been disproved, and by a student at a rival university, should have shaken his confidence. It is also ironic for a member of the Conservative Party to realise that they would have got their sums right, if they had done them the old-fashioned way.

But we’ve had no expressions of apology or acts of contrition from the Treasury. It seems Mr Osborne is determined to keep going, no matter what damage this causes.

I don’t reckon that’s good enough. I think he should be brought to account. So I have written him a letter, asking him to justify his position.

I reproduce it below. If you agree that it is time Mr Osborne put his cards on the table, you might wish to consider using it as a template for a letter of your own.

Here it is:

The Right Honourable George Osborne MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

HM Treasury

Horse Guards Road

London SW1A 2HQ

Dear Chancellor,

Following the revelation that a fundamental justification for your austerity policy has been disproved – the paper by Reinhart and Rogoff that was based on a mistake on a spreadsheet – I am writing to ask: What other documentary evidence do you have that supports your policy of economic austerity?

I am mindful of the fact that one of your aides is quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying “the suggestion that the case for dealing with fiscal deficits and debt rests on one paper is patently absurd” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/18/uncovered-error-george-osborne-austerity), but this person did not provide any other examples.

It should also be noted that this aide added, “It remains the case that the majority of economists still back the government’s strategy.” I await proof to justify this statement as well. Perhaps it is worthwhile to remind you that, of the 20 economists who publicly backed the Osborne Austerity plan in 2010, only one was willing to publicly back it in August last year. Nine publicly disavowed you, and the other 10 had no comment or went on holiday (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/exclusive-osbornes-supporters-turn-him).

Be advised that it will not be enough for you to discount the quotations above because they come from left-wing sources. As it stands at the moment, the situation is that your policy has no evidence to support it, nor does it have the support of expert opinion that is being claimed for it. Bear in mind that even the International Monetary Fund is criticising your policy, despite having been a staunch support in 2010.

You will recall that the Coalition came into being, nearly three years ago, for the specific purpose of bringing the economy under control. Your policy is the instrument with which this was to be done.

If you do not provide evidence to support its continuation, then what are we, the public, to think? That you are inflicting austerity on us – primarily upon the poorest of us – purely to shrink the state? To sell off the profitable parts to private industry, for the good of private bank balances rather than for the benefit of the nation as a whole? For spite?

If I were in that position, honour would demand an admission of the mistake and either an alteration of policy to one that is more likely to support economic growth (I understand alternatives are available) or – considering this government that was formed to fix the economy has spent three years doing the exact opposite – the dissolution of this administration and election of one that is better-equipped to make the best decisions, in the interest of the nation as a whole.

I look forward to your response.

https://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/its-time-osborne-provided-evidence-for-his-disastrous-economic-course/

niceguy2 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:59:20

niceguy, I think ttosca is showing you up here, you don't seem to have much of an argument when asked about facts

Sorry you feel that way. I'd have thought the facts were pretty much in the open.

Guardian borrowing data This first picture shows us that we have had a deficit for most of the last couple of decades but in fact it's been longer than that. In short we have been borrowing more money than we take in each year.

We have a total national debt of £1.2 trillion which to me is eye watering. source and we're adding to this each year rather than reduce it.

All main parties agree on the fact that we need to cut the deficit. I don't think anyone disputes that do they? I mean it's obvious the coalition do and Labour 'say' they will do it but are scant on the details but that's by the by. They are the opposition so they get that luxury.

So. The argument here which ttosca is referring that we've been arguing debating over to is whether or not we need austerity. What I'm saying is that in my opinion yes we do. As do the three main parties. Ttosca's opinion is that we do not need cuts and in fact we don't have a debt problem. Given we're clearly borrowing so much money each year, I think that attitude cannot be justified. I believe the sooner we deal with it, the sooner our kids will be better off. Ttosca's answer is to deny the problem and keep borrowing. Is anyone seriously saying that we can get out of debt without cutting anything and just keep borrowing? I just cannot see how anyone can see that as a sensible policy?

Now Ttosca likes to paint me as some right wing Tory boy who loves the rich and hates the poor. In reality I think I'm more right of centre than right wing. I believe in the NHS, state education, being in Europe and also welfare. What I don't believe is that we can continually spend money where we simply don't have it.

Lastly it really isn't my style to cut & paste long passages to justify my point. I will leave that to Ttosca. I find it very distracting and prefer to include links as above.

ssd Sun 21-Apr-13 20:53:16

so niceguy, do you think austerity is the answer, rather than ensuring legal tax avoidance is stopped and the bankers who caused the mess be brought to justice and the banking system changed to ensure it never happens again?

rather than cutting benefits to people who can't do anything about it?

Ttosca, I agree with you entirely. I am so angry that the poorest people are not only being made poorer but are being stigmatised and blamed for their poverty. If cutting the deficit was the real priority then welfare is not an area for big savings. Therefore I can only assume this government actually want people to hate the poor, and for the poor to become poorer still. There are so many lies being told in the media and by politicians themselves about welfare.

Fargo86 Sun 21-Apr-13 21:47:04

If bankers "caused the mess", who caused the preceding boom years? Not the bankers?

If people want to not be poor, they need to get off benefits. Nobody got rich on benefits, and by rationale, people on benefits are always going to be the poorest in society.

ssd Mon 22-Apr-13 08:18:12

so fargo, you think the bankers played no, or at least, just a small part in all this?

and your airy fairy view of people being happy to live on benefits is so so patronising, when will people like you learn for every family happy to live out their lives in the benefit system there are thousands desperate to get off benefits and find jobs that will give them more than a hand to mouth existence.

and mamatee, I agree with you, the above post from fargo demonstrates what you wrote entirely.

2old2beamum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:44:45

fargo You seem to think it is so easy to get off benefits Try telling my 2 beautiful daughters who were both "sacked" from thier voluntary due to their learning disability!
I am dismayed at some posters lack of compassion.
Life on benefits is crap and very few would choose it choice.

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 09:14:20

The government are working very hard to get disabled people off benefits: what they don't seem to have is some kind of plan for forcing employers to take on employees who are likely to be less productive, need expensive adaptations in the workplace and have just had their funding cut for the aids that help them to get to work in the first place.

So hand on heart, how many of you would offer a job to somebody who was paralysed or had terminal cancer or had a mental age of 4, if you had even one applicant who was fit and healthy and of normal intelligence? How many could afford to take that risk? The small firm dh worked for suffered severe economic hardship because one of their workers was off ill all the time and not physically fit to do the only jobs that needed doing. So how many of you would take on a new employee who was having chemo?

Of course, in current times, most people can expect to have to apply for many jobs before they get one. But a severely disabled person can expect to come bottom of every single job application pile forever.

We are not talking people with a minor impairment, like missing an arm or something. That kind of person does not get signed off work, they are working.

ExRatty Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:46

Did you know that if you are under 35 and single you are paid a housing benefit rate for a shared house.
If you are a single person who loses their job you aren't paid a housing benefit rate for a one bedroom flat (which seems reasonable to expect) you are paid an amount for someone expected to live in shared accommodation.
This means that for many people they cannot afford to remain in their flat.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:04

so niceguy, do you think austerity is the answer, rather than ensuring legal tax avoidance is stopped and the bankers who caused the mess be brought to justice and the banking system changed to ensure it never happens again?

Austerity is not the answer on it's own. It cannot be. We do need economic growth. I'm all for investment projects which will benefit the economy in the future. However, I'd take a lot of convincing to believe that this investment should come via more borrowed money. I'd personally prefer to see money coming from existing tax revenues.

Otherwise it's akin to a man up to his neck in debt suggesting that the answer is to borrow more money to buy a car/suit/whatever whilst he hasn't taken any serious steps to curtail his unaffordable lifestyle. Sure it's possible....not very credible though.

Legal tax avoidance will never be 'stopped' completely but a lot is already being done to clamp down on it. Something which I support. But I think we need to accept that some of the magical figures quoted in the press are inaccurate. Again, I don't think that is a silver bullet to our problems. Even the TUC say the figure 'lost' is 25 billion so it's far short of the £100 billion deficit. I'm not saying £25 billion is not welcome but that even if this mystical figure could be recovered, we'd still need austerity. Interestingly they claim that £8 billion of taxes are lost because the wealthiest have engaged in 'tax planning'. Erm...isn't that sensible? I've put my meagre savings in an ISA. That was planned on my part. Am I a capitalist tax avoider?

And the bankers? Yes they caused a mess but that is not the root cause for the UK's problems. As you can see from the links I posted earlier, we've been sleepwalking our way to into a debt crisis for decades. The banking system is being changed. The EU are capping banker bonuses & have changed the amount of capital which is needed (source). In the UK the FSA has been changed into the FCA (source). And of course the EU are talking about a transaction tax which personally I think is a good idea if it were global. Not sure it's a good idea for just the UK/EU since it will drive work abroad.

And I read an article (link) which I thought was excellent. And that is that the UK banks which have been bailed out did not fail because they did a lot of casino gambling but in fact failed for more 'traditional' reasons.

HBOS, Northern Rock & Dumferline BS all failed because they lent too many people too much money. Something the new rules on capital should help avoid.

RBS went bust because it paid an insane amount of money buying ABN Amro.

The banks with huge investment arms such as HSBC, Barclays. They all survived without government bailouts.

So in short I don't believe austerity is the answer on it's own any more than I think closing tax loopholes will be the answer. It is clear to me that the only answer is going to involve a mixture of austerity, closing tax loopholes, raising taxes in certain areas, lowering taxes in other areas. We also need investment in capital projects leading to economic growth.

Of course it's nice to believe that there is a pain free answer and I can understand the desire to jump on the bandwagon to claim cuts are unnecessary but I don't think the facts reflect that.

ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 14:01:54

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ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 23:40:02

'nice'guy-

> In practice it isn't as simple as that. Let's take 2011-2012 since it's the last year figures are readily available for and a good illustration. I'll even use the Guardian for the figures which is hardly a right wing rag.

> We currently have a deficit of around £120bn. source

Yes, and look at the period - using the source you quoted to support your argument - from 2008 upwards.

What happened in 2008? Gosh - was it all that spending on schools and hospitals and welfare?!

By golly, I think it was the financial crisis! I think you've cracked it! The financial crisis was the cause of the huge jump in deficit (and also debt).

> As you will see, welfare makes up the largest piece of the pie by a significant margin. With health and then education.

As it should be, since health and education are prerogatives of the state, along with social security.

> So...I'd be very interested in seeing where you believe we can cut back and save £120bn? Which departments do you deem are totally unnecessary and should close and which do you think should cut back to fund our welfare bill? Since it's all about priorities isn't it, I am interested in seeing where your priorities are.

We don't need to cut back and save 120bn because we have a 120bn deficit, you silly person. We are in the middle of a recession, due to the financial crisis, which means that tax receipts have plummeted (corporate taxes, VAT, and other taxes) whilst welfare costs have risen (rising unemployment).

We need to get ourselves out of the recession, and return to growth. This will automatically fix a huge chunk of the deficit and government revenue recovers. This must be our first priority.

> Lastly even the Guardian notes that '....how anything less than a billion is really not that much in government terms' In that context £10million for a one off single event isn't anything to get het up about. It's the equivalent of saying "I earn £2k a month and am spending £3k" then you getting pissed off at me because I bought a Freddo for 10p. The elephant in the room isn't the 10p, it's the grand a month I'm overspending by.

No, the problem is that you've lost your job, not that you've bought a Freddo (whatever that is). Seeking employment should be your first priority.

Likewise, we're not 'overspending' 120bn pounds per year. If you think that's the case, then explain how public spending rose from £36 bn in 2007 to £156 bn in 2009? Did we spend an addition £120bn annual on schools, hospitals, nurses, roads, etc.?

No, we didn't. We have a huge deficit now because whilst our spending has remained constant or increased marginally, govt. revenue has dropped considerably due to the financial crisis and subsequent recession.

I've explained this to you 1,000,000 times. If you don't understand, say that you don't understand. Otherwise, stop repeating the same old economically illiterate nonsense.

ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 23:59:51

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ttosca Tue 23-Apr-13 00:01:54

> And the bankers? Yes they caused a mess but that is not the root cause for the UK's problems.

They are precisely the root cause of the UK - and global - financial crisis and recession.

> As you can see from the links I posted earlier, we've been sleepwalking our way to into a debt crisis for decades.

As you can see from the link I posted earlier:

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1950_2011UKp_12c1li011mcn_G0t

We most certainly haven't beed accumulating debt for decades.

ttosca Tue 23-Apr-13 17:53:30

*This is the self-censored version of a post which was removed by Mumsnet*

---

niceguy-

> So. The argument here which ttosca is referring that we've been arguing debating over to is whether or not we need austerity. What I'm saying is that in my opinion yes we do.

We need austerity in the same way that an unemployed person needs to sell his house, his car, his computer, and all his clothes.

AUSTERITY IS A FAILURE. We have had no economic growth for the past three years since the coalition came to power. Unemployment has RISEN. The debt has RISEN. The UK credit rating has been downgraded TWICE. We may be heading for an unprecedented triple-dip recession.

Austerity during a recession DOES NOT WORK.

> Ttosca's opinion is that we do not need cuts and in fact we don't have a debt
problem.

No, that's wrong. Austerity during a recession almost always exacerbates the recession. That is why austerity is wrong and counterproductive. Once we the UK economy has recovered, we can re-examine the finances, and then discuss how the rich should pay for the mess they created. In fact, we can do that now in any case.

>Given we're clearly borrowing so much money each year, I think that attitude cannot be justified.

Once again, you're confusing debt with deficit. The debt (as debt/GDP ratio) has not steadily risen year after year. It has declined for most of the second half of the 20th Century.

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1950_2011UKp_12c1li011mcn_G0t

Prior to the financial crisis, it fluctuated around the same percentage (35-40%) for around two or three decades.

There was a a large jump after the financial crisis because we bailed out the banks worth hundreds of billions of pounds and because our deficit increased massively due to a revenue crisis (loss of tax receipts due to the recession).

> I believe the sooner we deal with it, the sooner our kids will be better off.

Our kids will be better off if we don't don't live in a world modeled on neo-liberal economic policies.

> Ttosca's answer is to deny the problem and keep borrowing. Is anyone seriously saying that we can get out of debt without cutting anything and just keep borrowing?

No, my answer is to spur economic growth, and most of the deficit will fix itself. We can do this by investing in infrastructure. Meanwhile, we can recover tens of billions in lost tax through stopping tax evasion/avoidance.

> Now Ttosca likes to paint me as some right wing Tory boy who loves the rich and hates the poor.

> In reality I think I'm more right of centre than right wing. I believe in the NHS, state education, being in Europe and also welfare. What I don't believe is that we can continually spend money where we simply don't have it.

And once again, the cause of our economic situation we find ourselves in today is the result of the financial crisis and subsequent recession. It was not caused by overspending in public services like schools and hospitals.

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