Hard working families will be faced with having to survive Tory cuts
The language that is being used by the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition when they say they are supporting ‘Strivers’, and demonising anyone who is receiving any kind of benefit; whether low paid, elderly, disabled, vulnerable or unemployed, even through no fault of their own, as ‘Skivers’ is despicable.
It’s clear that it is the way the ‘nasty party’ has to operate as their way of diverting attention away from the fact that their failing economic policies are creating not a society of ‘Strivers’, but one where people are now barely ‘Survivors’.
Last week all of the Conservative Northampton Councillors voted to push 11,500 of the lowest paid households even further into hardship and the poverty trap.
What the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats boast is that they have lifted the very same households out of the poverty trap by changing the direct taxation rules.
The evidence proves it is nothing more than spin.
One of the major purposes of the National Minimum Wage, which is now £6.19 an hour, was to provide a consistent foundation on which to base welfare payments and the safety net that most reasonable people accept as a necessary part of a civilised society.
A married couple where the only income is from a single full-time 37.5 hour a week worker is £232.12 gross a week, of which they pay a total of £86.60 in tax and national insurance leaving the home with £206.54 a week on which to live.
Raising the tax allowance to £8105 a year which is what the “We lifted millions of people out of poverty” claims are based on, saw those on the national minimum wage being £3.26 a week better off.
What the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives conveniently forget to mention is that over the past two and half years they have raised VAT, and overseen massive above inflation increases in fuel and utility charges which has increased household costs by over £12 a week.
If the family on the national minimum wage has two children under the age of 16, their total net weekly income is £240.24.
It doesn’t take a genius of Stephen Hawking’s calibre to realise that by the time people have paid their rent, heating, utility bills, council tax and fares/fuel to get to work, there isn’t a great deal left for food, clothing and other essentials.
It is why the Council Tax Support Scheme was brought to support hard-working families on the National Minimum Wage.
It provided the support that allowed people to be able to continue to work, to contribute to society and support them in working towards achieving their aspirations.
The Northampton Conservatives, when they voted to cut the Council Tax Support by over £143 a year were fully aware of the disproportionate impact it would have on the hard-working low paid families it is aimed at.
And if they weren’t when they went into the Council meeting they certainly were during the meeting because Northampton Labour, in opposing the cuts, told them.
It is disappointing that since the vote three Conservatives who voted for the cuts have told me they don’t agree with it but were ordered to vote the way they did or else!
Whatever that means?
Families will suffer deprivation and hardship from Conservative cuts in support for low paid people.
What it clearly demonstrates is that across Northampton over 11,000 households affecting over 24,000 mums, dads and children are now facing the desperation that comes from facing even greater hardship and deprivation.
This is a situation and circumstance that has been created in Downing Street with almost £2m of cuts to the Borough Council funding, but there was an alternative. And it is a policy that has been designed and implemented, without any meaningful consultation, by the Northampton Conservatives.
It is a policy that by implementing, despite protestations to the contrary, the Northampton Conservatives have shown that they have abandoned any pretence of ‘we are all in this together’ and instead chosen to make the hard-working people across Northampton the target of their attack.
It is sadly an attitude being displayed by Conservative controlled Councils up and down the country.
It is an attitude that will only be changed when the electorate do what I fully expect them to do this May and send them a message. That the people they arrogantly ignore and treat with such contempt have a moral compass even if the Tories don’t.
In the meantime Northampton Labour will continue to listen to and support people who are facing real and increasingly financial difficulties because of the Conservative policies.