The increase in the rate of VAT to 20% on Tuesday is one of the most ill-considered and damaging actions of the so called “coalition” Government so far.
Such is the view of many financial commentators and it is certainly the view of TheOpinionSite.org. The Shadow chancellor Alan Johnson has written to George Osborne to ask him to rethink this disastrous policy which will see the price of everything go up and which will hit the poor harder than anyone.
Johnson’s plea has been refused.
Poor people in the UK have little with which to enjoy life. Those things that they do have are constantly under attack from what is essentially a Conservative government that seems intent on continuing the onslaught started by Tony Blair who was perhaps actually the most right wing of all recent prime ministers.
Those with little enough already will now be unable to buy their ‘little luxuries’ such as a pint down the pub or a packet of cigarettes. More seriously still, they will also be unable to heat their homes or put food on the table.
Little wonder that the UK was recently assessed by an international report as being the most miserable country in the world in which to live
To add to the hypocrisy of the Cameron administration (we won’t mention Clegg because he no longer has any influence), they have now offered ‘healthier living’ vouchers to the value of £250 million which are available online in return for filling in a survey. This is a move funded by the food industry to help get the overweight, fat and greedy middle classes to become fitter. Healthy food is still too expensive for the poor, even with the vouchers.
The poor in fact have different vouchers available to them which are administered by charities; these are basic food vouchers which will be issued from Job Centres to those who cannot afford to buy food for themselves or their children. TheOpinionSite.org only hopes that there are enough vouchers available, for there will certainly be many who will need them.
Osborne reckons he will raise £13 billion from the increase in VAT, almost the exact amount that has been paid in bank bonuses, as will be seen in February when the official figures are revealed. Cameron has refused to implement measures to restrict the high level of these ‘fat cat’ bonuses. If they had not been paid by the banks that the public owns, the VAT increase would not have been necessary in the first place.
Petrol and diesel are at their highest price ever, rail prices have gone up by 12% today with commuter season tickets now costing upwards of £5,000, alcohol and cigarettes are already subject to automatic tax increases and there is a 9% increase in energy costs on the way.
Already high food prices will also increase dramatically as a result of the VAT increase as the costs of transport and processing will increase.
Business leaders anticipate that up to 250,000 private sector jobs could be lost because of the tax increase and that consumer spending in 2011 will be lower than ever as people run out of money.
The Chancellor has made it clear that the increase is permanent and that the rate of VAT will not be reduced in the future.
This is exactly what has happened in Spain where the government are so desperate for money that they have increased taxes on everything and are only now realizing that they are in reality receiving a smaller tax take than before because nobody is spending anything. The same thing will happen here.
The Liberal Democrats meanwhile are happy to shut up and go along with anything as long as they stay in power – not that they are allowed to exercise that power for fear of upsetting the Tory right.
One hopes that eventually British people will have the guts to stand up and be counted and force Cameron, Clegg and Osborne into a rethink. The problem is though that for some unaccountable reason, most people in the UK are so weak that they won’t stand up to the government and are content to be pushed around and bled dry by those who are supposed to serve them, not dictate to them while they rob them blind.
Cameron says that much of the ‘heavy lifting’ will be done this year. TheOpinionSite.org confidently predicts that he and his wealthy cabinet will not be doing any of it themselves. Instead, they will continue to squeeze the poor in order to protect the rich and will hope that a few more poor people will die this year so that the unemployed figures can be reduced.
Cameron said he wanted a new kind of politics yet he is content to bash out the same nasty, selfish Tory ideals that were so beloved by his predecessors. As for Clegg and his Liberal colleagues, there is little they can or will do to change things in what is essentially a coalition of one.
It is still a fact that in the UK, 95% of the national wealth is owned by 5% of the population. Such people will not notice the VAT increase at all. The other 95% of the population will, with the poorest 20% paying a higher proportion of their income in VAT than any other group.
The government has chosen to ignore these figures which are produced by their own national auditors. To put it another way, Cameron does not care even a little for those who have almost nothing, preferring instead to creep to the wealthiest, of which he is one himself.
TheOpinionSite.org hopes sincerely that the government gets a rough ride from people this year as their money runs out. If those affected by this totally unnecessary VAT increase do nothing and simply put up with it, they will have only themselves to blame when the VAT rate goes up again, which it will if the Conservatives are allowed by the Liberals to continue to always get their own way.