Article, also included in this blog item on Austerity, but it is relevant to this also as the different cost of living burdens due to proportion of expenditure on essentials the poor have can mean an economy can have very high expenditure inflation for poorer people, that may have much less impact or even be counterbalanced by savings for richer people, based on essential spending and how much they spend on luxuries. When it’s all essential spending there is little or no room for manoeuvre and nothing can be cut back, adding to the pressure and leading to debt and associated health effects. The following article illustrates how different forms of taxation and expenditure as a proportion of income and disposable income vary according to wealth for the poor:
Part of the problem that people who have to claim and worse having no choice but to rely on inadequate benefits, is having to cope and deal with growing harassment directly dished out by MPs and media, and parroted by ignorant and easily manipulated public.
If a society fails to provide for or at least acknowledge that there is an insufficient number of living wage jobs for everyone, or to accommodate the needs for those who are not taken on by employers for many reasons, often discriminatory, it is deluded. Worse still to label, stereotype and harass the poor is on the threshold of instigating hate towards victims in a disturbing mirroring of previous societies corrupted by evil leaders where people have been targeted for exclusion, poverty and even worse, the darkest places in human history.
Scapegoating of the poor and disabled is a dangerous game, a failure of a society.
For any government backed by mainstream media to systematically target the victims of a failed economy or to instigate a two tier economy of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, inequality division based on deliberate inequality, break the UN Human Rights and Geneva Convention articles.
Sanctioning of poor people on benefits, i.e. stopping benefits, usually for very spurious and insufficient reasons. It is an abhorrent and inhumane, it is a means to impoverish even more and counter-productive in terms of job seeking as not enough money restrict ability to go after what work there may be, bearing in mind limitations of combinations of income and location costs. The cost of living itself. For those with no relatives or family they can turn to sanctions mean literally no means to survive apart from begging or turning to crime, but ironically the most decent of the poor are not criminals so tends not to be the course of action they pursue, instead starving or becoming malnourished. As well as physical there are psychological consequences for poverty and harassment that is part of the benefit system and the constant anti-benefit rhetoric of ‘scroungers ‘and the likes in the media. Yet the big cheats, MPs, bankers, corporate executives, are given a free ride, with no condemnation, if anything a hero-workshop of their wealth and ill-gotten gains from the exploitation of others.
Another punishment, community service has been for decades a punishment for criminals but now is threatened as a punishment for being unemployed or unable to gain a level of income that means they don’t need benefits, or rather certain types of benefits, as benefits that are universal, such as child benefit when received by richer people as legitimate, but the same and other benefits when received by poorer people as illegitimate, as unworthy of support to live in UK.
Workfare is an intended more innocuous sounding name that is used in place of slave labour, which it is as it is labour for no income or for benefits that are inadequate. They are not a living wage and they break minimum wage levels by a very long way, especially inadequate and impoverishing as UK has one of the highest cost of living in the world. Income from employment should cover at least the essentials of life, home, shelter, warmth and food and all unavoidable utility bills and costs of just living. Work should also provide a surplus income to enable people to do things they enjoy and insufficient income is a failure of an economic and social system that can divide society between adequately, well and very well paid and poorly and very inadequately paid.
For corporations and companies a pool of unpaid labour, many even given government money, often £1000s as a tip, to use staff, yet to companies with massive profits, this is a great disincentive to employ paid staff and also serves to push down on wage rates of paid staff, thus forcing down the lowest paid sector of the UK, whist at the top pay scales are rocketing to all-time highs.
Now there is even being mention a threat to anyone on benefits of a state representative calling round and knocking on people’s doors, to instil fear on disabled and poor. It is not for evidence based suspected law breaking, a search warrant. It is not for even suspected benefit fraud, of which studies have shown to in reality be very rare, in spite of public opinion whipped up by a government and media frenzy, but for anyone on benefits. It is therefore a means, to pry on, to harass, with stress consequences, which for many adds to the stresses they are having to already cope with and for some can push them over the edge. It is a further step infringing on and breaking human rights.
When approached regarding the suffering of the poor in UK, Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey ran away from TV journalist Sonia Poulton:
An example of what has become typical repeated ‘scrounger’ rhetoric from the mainstream media, especially tabloid press, popular television and government since 2010:
Article featuring tweet from Conservative party via ‘Conservatives North’ labelling people on benefits as ‘scroungers’, “Conservatives under fire after labelling people out of work as ‘benefit scroungers”:
Ongoing blog item that can be added to and updated as appropriate