Sunday 4 December 2011

Welfare reform will reduce poverty? Purleeease

This is just a little memo to myself really.

According to the government

""Our reforms will move 350,000 children and 500,000 adults out of poverty."

This is clearly such utter twaddle that I wanted to make sure I could come back to them in 2015 and remind them of yet another lie. 

Perhaps no coincidence that just yesterday I read that they were thinking of re-defining poverty altogether. After all, if you haven't got a hope in hell of meeting a policy objective, the best thing to do is move the goalposts eh?


  1. I would like a clear definition of what poverty is.

  2. 2011 definition of 'poverty' in UK is one thing. 1948 definition is another.

  3. Poverty in the UK is defined as those below 60% of the median income. This is because those with what would seem to be a high income in absolute terms (in the top ten percent on the planet) still incur costs and prices which relative to their income are extremely high. They can't simply buy from somewhere cheaper because they'd make no saving.

    A person in the top ten percent of the income on the whole planet can still not have enough money to eat every day. The 60% figure is not arbitrary either, I understand it is based on how the UK's income is distributed; those on less than 60% of the median are usually WAY below 60% of the median. Well if they are on less, why not have the percentage lower? Because that would mean having to use a different average other than the median and that would mean the movement of the very wealthy would have a much larger influence on what the average is than they should.

    I personally regard being poor as when a household must ration a necessity such as heating in order to secure another necessity such as food or water. I regard poverty as when one necessity must sometimes be foregone entirely in order to secure another.

  4. What the government plans to do is force everyone in to work so that the above becomes true
    So as i have said many times before you will have to do like i do and battle daily with the DWP I'VE BEEN DOING IT FOR YEARS sure it's tough you never know at what time you'll get a bang on the front door or phone call your constantly watched for if and when you go out who visits you and where you visit it's all recorded

    The battle of words and fights are many the police god bless them help keep the piece albeit only for a short time you'll have to be on your guard and so will those that professionally help you

    My week on week revolves on my intake of food and drink and if i miss at my time slot for my next drink I'll either have my wife shouting at me or my health worker they both do grand job in helping me but it's never easy when your permanently ill and cant eat or drink but we press on and fight the DWP as when

  5. I forgot to add in the above if you don't have professional carers you will lose any battle with the DWP
    Why ?
    Because the paper work runs feet deep and you will never be able to cope on your own that's a fact
    As i have said before you are fighting for your life and that part of your brain kicks in and the life you once led as gone never to come back the life you now lead is one of battle and the fight to the death and as always may the best man win

  6. They've done nothing but lie since they got in. Why would they stop now.

    And I though Brown's government were a set of useless planks.... Huh!

  7. There are very few definitions which describe poverty in a perfect way.

    Disability forms


  8. I couldn't agree with this post more. The idea that the government's current programme is rational and pragmatic rather than primarily ideological is fooling no-one. It's one of the reasons I set up the Democratic Reform Party this year ( The Coalition's policies quite simply show very little compassion. But beyond that they also show a very basic understanding of what the implications will be. For instance requiring that benefits claimants are regularly re-assessed is a good idea for some claimants in order to limit fraud. But for people who are terminally ill and cannot physically get better, all this is doing is costing more, and making hard times a lot worse for those already hardest hit.

    If anyone here is interested in getting involved in the Democratic Reform Party to help campaign for compassionate reforms please email me at
    If however you're not keen on parties then you might instead be interested in this event, organised by a non-partisan organisation:

    Facing an Economy in Crisis, December 8th - 7.00 PM

    Henry VIII Hotel
    23 Leinster Gardens
    London W2 3AN
    Underground : Queensway or Lancaster Gate

    The event is the first one organised by the Democratic Reform Movement (DRM). The DRM is an international organisation, being designed to promote democratic reform around the world. It acts as a platform for cooperation between different organisations on specific campaigns; thus for example if it had existed before the May Referendum it would have coordinated campaigning actions between all the different ‘yes to av’ groups. It is being established at the moment. Thus its identity will be shaped by the organisations and people who get involved in the coming years. Our aims are to: promote democracy and progressive reforms; support systems of sharing and cooperation; create a better education system for all; encourage the removal of artificial barriers between peoples; and empower people at every level of governance.

  9. This government is a disgrace. They make the dubious lima computer program "medical" harder to pass, despite the previous government having already rigged it to deny genuine sickness and disability, to cynically reduce the benefits bill. They release inaccurate statistics, that are barefaced lies, to show the lima test is a success. Meanwhile they disregard the human cost of demonizing and pushing the sick and disabled off benefits into poverty. Politicians often appear amoral and without conscience in their targeting of the weakest in society, while they ignore the tens of billions of unpaid tax by the wealthier members of society. Making Vodafone pay its £6 billion tax bill would have helped avoid the need to persecute the sick and disabled. This is just one example of many. The future sadly looks very bleak.

  10. 'Anonymous', the Vodafone £6 bn tax bill story is completely untrue. It was never owed in the first place because it was matter of interpretation of EU law. Whilst the UK believed that the sum was properly due, the EU believed not, and EU law overrides UK law. In fact, the EU was considering prosecuting the UK for even attempting to claim the sum in the first place.

    The UK couldn't "make them pay." There wasn't any legal basis for doing so. Similarly, the government didn't "ignore" the tax, on the contrary, it contested Vodafone's appeal to the EU.

    So there you are. The Left is wrong again. It loves to make these simplistic good vs evil statements, which fall down when the facts are revealed.

  11. Anonymous 13:13 could also argue that millions of people who have been plunged into poverty because of welfare cuts are rich because they aren't literally starving to death and some poorer soul in another country is...
    You could also argue that a person is not disabled by 'redifining' disability, as ATOS seems to be doing.

    I expect black could be interpreted as white if you were determined to view it that way.
    If you judge events by the spirit as well as the letter of the law you will find your argument falls down.
    Cuts to the poorest in society are evil. It really is that simple.

  12. Richard- perhaps the the Vodafone issue was inaccurate, however there are many other examples of tax evasion (Philip Green?!) that a fairer government could address instead of targeting some of society's most vulnerable. It isn't simply a case of black and white, or left and right. In a civilized society it is a governments duty to care for genuinely sick and disabled, instead of demonizing them by manipulating the media for there own cost cutting agenda. This started under Labour and the coalition continued it with more enthusiasm.

  13. Well, the Philip Green matter is another example. It was tax avoidance, not tax evasion. Perfectly legal. Secondly, the reason he moved funds from Arcadia in the UK to offshore was that UK corporation tax at that time (under Labour) was the highest in Europe. By trying to increase tax revenue the Labour government caused it move overseas.

    Again, the situation looks very different when you acquaint yourself with the facts.

  14. Right, Richard. You clearly know what your talking about. So if labour hadn't increased corporation tax he would have still been paying it here. In effect labour's policy was responsible for Green's tax avoidance. My economics is limited!

  15. Yes, I do know what I'm talking about. I have a degree in economics and I worked for the UK tax authorities for 13 years. I've been on secondment to the EU. Then I worked in private tax consultancy. So I know rather more about the subject than most people.

  16. Well Richard a question for you.

    Do you think that it is morally right in a climate where the poorest in our society are having to choose between heating and eating, that it should be legal to be able to avoid paying tax otherwise due on very large incomes by a method that is only available to the richest in society?

    I use the term morally because I'm well aware of the difference between avoidance and evasion.
    To be clear I'm not talking ISAs, a tax avoidance scheme open to anyone with the requisite amount of savings. However, Joe and Josephine Bloggs cannot nip down to HR and ask for their salary to be paid as a dividend to an overseas spouse. You may retort that this isn't an accurate reflection of Green's situation. In which case humour me and answer on the generality of the case and not a specific individual.

    You see I'm actually interested in whether you don't like inaccurate reporting or whether you think it's okay for as famously cited by Clegg it's okay "for a banker to pay less tax than his cleaner"?

  17. Surely the point is that he is incredibly rich, does his very best to avoid paying tax without breaking the law, and is in charge of advising the government on austerity, ie how to squeeze the poor until the pips squeak? Anyway you look at it, there is something very wrong with the Philip Green situation.