A few days ago the Tory millionaire cabinet announced plans to change the definition of child poverty. This followed an announcement from Ian Duncan Smith to scrap the definition put forward by the Labour government in 2010. The current definition covers all children living in a household with an income below 60% of the UK's average. The move to change the definition followed a report describing child poverty levels in the UK as "unacceptably high".
In a bid to address this, predictably, the Tories announced plans to change the definition. This move will allow them to manipulate the poverty figures to their advantage, as has been shown to be done with their workfare type schemes which too assist with choreographing the unemployment figures. Ian Duncan Smith then went on to say that their intention is to" to eradicate child poverty” which is certainly a world away from merely changing the definition. Saying that I'm surprised they're just not enacting legislation to have the definition of the word poverty removed from the English dictionary, then again I wouldn't want to give them ideas.
Just yesterday the Tories revealed their budget plan or as they have termed it the "new
contract". This budget or 'contract' is clearly targeted at public sector workers, the poor, the vulnerable, the young and much to my surprise the unborn. I have to say the term 'new contract' is a bad move on their part as a brief study of contract law taught me that for a contract to be binding an agreement must be entered into voluntarily by two or more parties. Yet in this case I doubt those who will be most affected by the savagery of yesterday's budget will have agreed to enter into any such contract. Although a mandate gives a party/individual the authority to represent it does not give them permission to enter anyone into a contract without their consideration or consent. What is even more concerning is that the words 'new contract' are not a million miles away from 'new covenant'. Whilst these old 'Etonians' are known for their delusions of grandeur I doubt even they have reached deity status yet. So to be clear this is no contract, this has not been agreed, this is the poor being made suffer whilst the rich get away with not paying their fair share.
With this 'new contract' the millionaire cabinet have overlooked a few crucial things; From 2017 if a third child is born into a low income family that child is to be denied support in terms of tax credits. Surely the equality commission will have something to say with the Tories now attempting to control the birthrate. Additionally I can't help but wonder what will happen when a family have triplets, who decides which child is to be denied support?
Secondly with plans to deny under 21's housing benefit where are young people supposed to live and could this too be considered discriminatory? But hey, what's a bit of illegality to the Tories? In June 2015 'A Conservative-controlled council unlawfully blocked a family made homeless by the housing benefit cap from getting social housing. The High Court said Westminster City Council was wrong to bar the anonymous family from applying for a home in the borough where they lived.'
Thirdly even with a proposed rise in the national living wage by 2020 low earners are still going to worse off with cuts to tax credits. It must be noted that this 'new contract' involves a £4.5 billion cut to tax credits, as part of cuts to welfare totalling £12 billion.
Just compare that £12 billion of cuts to the vulnerable to the £93 billion businesses got last year in subsidies, grants and tax breaks. They say the devil looks after his own, I reckon never a truer word was spoken. And on the subject of the devil looking after his own the NI assembly will administer the Tory cuts, despite hollow rhetoric and meaningless protestations.
Having just arrived home from a what was once the Strabane workhouse I can't help but wonder how far the Tories are prepared to go. Lest we forget this is the same party who under the control of John Russell in the 1840's oversaw the deaths of over one million people in Ireland during the famine or in truthful terms what was the genocide of the indigenous population.
During this period the British government spent an estimated £9.5million on 'famine' relief which was given on a mostly loan basis whilst spending £69.3 million on the Crimean war. In addition to this in 1894 in a report signed by MPs Thomas Sexton, Henry Blake and Henry Slattery it was found that for over 90 years Ireland had suffered over-taxation to the sum of approximately £3million per year. Despite this no steps were taken to pay the money back.
Maybe now would be a good time to pay it back... that's an estimated £270 million and interest (wonga style) dating back 121 years.
By the way the term Tory is the Gaelic word for "bandit" or "outlaw".