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Are you incredibly wealthy? Do you own more than one property, and enjoy the benefits of private healthcare? Will you retire with a fantastic pension and vast amounts of cash hidden away in a sunny tax haven? Do you like to spend your free time hobnobbing with media moguls, and watching packs of dogs rip foxes apart?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then it’s quite likely you’ll be voting for the Conservatives at the general election, and let’s be honest, in your circumstances you’d be crazy not to. But if you answered no, and still consider the Tories to be the best party for you, then I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but you’ve been brainwashed.
For those at the very top of the pile, it’s absolutely in their best interests to keep this government in place. However the problem for them is that the wealthy elite only represent a tiny proportion of the population. According to The Equality Trust, the richest 10% of households in Great Britain hold a massive 45% of all wealth. But alas, 10% of the population does not a majority make. So how do they make sure we don’t rock their taxpayer funded boats? Well, with some beautifully choreographed spin, and a little help from their very rich friends in the media, they’ve convinced the proles that all is well, all is ‘strong and stable’ and that this Conservative government has everyone’s best interests at heart.
And if you believe that, then you’ve fallen for one of the biggest and most disastrous cons in recent political history.
Since the Tories came to power, policy decisions have seen the wealth of the super rich grow exponentially, with The Equality Trust reporting that the 1,000 richest saw their wealth increase by a staggering £82.5 billion last year alone. Tax cuts for the highest earners, tax breaks for rich landlords and large corporations, tax free savings and ISA’s with no income cap, cuts to corporation and capital gains tax are just a few of this government’s policies that have helped see such a huge rise in the wealth of this privileged minority.
And how did they fund these benefits to the rich? You guessed it, by taking it away from those most in need, and permanently stuck at the other end of the financial ladder.
Analysis by the The Resolution Foundation has shown that 67% of the benefits cuts that came into force in April, will hit the poorest households, while 80 per cent of tax cuts will benefit the better off. Additionally, the government aims to raise billions from cuts to disability benefits, while other planned cuts to welfare will significantly reduce the incomes of some of the country’s poorest families according to analysis by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The IFS argue that a combination of a freeze in benefit rates, cuts to tax credits and the shift to Universal Credit will mean “large losses” for low-income households.
While those at the top have seen their fortunes rise, child poverty is now at its highest level since the Tory led coalition came to power in 2010, with 4 million children now classed as below the poverty line. This figure is expected to rise rapidly with the implementation of cuts to working age benefits. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation predict an extra 400,000 pensioners, and over one million more children likely to fall into poverty as a direct consequence of this Tory government’s policy decisions.
Cuts to social care funding have created a situation that’s been described as “beyond crisis point” – adding pressure to an increasingly underfunded, understaffed and demoralised NHS.
Cuts to education will see per pupil funding slashed by 11% in half of schools, predominantly in deprived areas, while the Tories continue to extol the virtues of grammar schools with an education policy designed to benefit those least in need of support.
Rents are increasingly high, the numbers of people living rough are growing, and more and more young people are being straddled with growing debt caused by higher university fees.
We’ve seen cuts to police, fire and ambulance services, food banks have been used by well over a million people in the last year alone, and the poor, the sick and those in need of support continue to be vilified by an increasingly cruel and heartless government.
All this while in one year, the top 1000 richest people increased their wealth by the same amount it would cost to pay the grocery bill for all of the users of UK food banks for 56 years; or the energy bills of every one of the UK’s 25.6 million households for two and a half years.
Still not convinced? Well, take a look at the peak of wealth mountain. The 2017 Sunday Times Rich List of the 100 highest earners, includes more than a third of individuals who have made donations to the Tory party. Those adding to Conservative coffers include property developers, media magnates, banking and hedge fund executives, all, who thanks to this government, have grown richer and richer, while those helping to fund their wealth have become poorer and poorer. And while the super rich enjoy the benefits we so generously afford them, they still manage to find ways to pay less in tax than their cleaners.
The Labour Party have promised that if they win the general election, they will address these inequalities, pledging to provide secure health and social care, affordable homes, rebuild education and public services, re-nationalise rail services and provide what they call “recovery for the many, and not the few.” It’s an ambitious plan, which they say will be funded by raising taxes on those earning over £80,000 a year – a policy that would see no increase in contributions from 95% of tax payers.
But we’re told this is a terrible idea. We shouldn’t be punishing those who are doing well, and force them to contribute more to a society they unfairly benefit from. According to this government and its supporters, that idea is unacceptable. Financial support is to be provided to the rich, and the source of that support should come from the poor. From people working two, sometimes three jobs. From people already struggling to feed their families, educate themselves, pay their rent, live with illness and disability, and heat their homes.
Inequality is growing, and will only increase under a Conservative government. We’ve been brainwashed by the lie of ‘austerity’ foisted on us from a party that by 2020, will have borrowed, and increased the national debt by more than all of the Labour governments combined. A government that can afford to give tax breaks to the rich, involve the country in expensive foreign wars, give billions in handouts to banks and in grants for ‘corporate welfare’, ignore luxurious tax avoidance schemes enjoyed by the super rich, give MP’s a £1000 pay rise this year alone while continuing to fund their every expense – no matter how frivolous.
But this same government can’t afford to provide the most basic necessities of food, shelter, health and social care for even it’s most vulnerable citizens.
We were never ‘all in this together’ and under a Conservative government, we never will be.