And still we hear the shrill call that it’s the deficit that needs eliminating. So how well are our masters doing in pursuing their aims?
Have they closed tax loopholes? Asked the rich to cough up some of the increasing profits made, f’rinstance, by supermarkets and energy companies? Whacked a supertax on yachts and skiiing holidays?
Nope, in this big society, the coalition government has decided to turn the bean-counters on to yet another group of the weakest in society, this time, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Under the plans being consulted on, seriously ill cancer patients in the middle of gruelling intravenous chemotherapy treatment will be forced to prove they are too sick to work. Some patients will have to face back-to-work interviews or be denied a crucial benefit – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This is despite unambiguous recommendations from cancer experts and 30 cancer charities who have clearly stated that patients going through debilitating cancer treatment – and who have to leave work – should be automatically eligible for ESA.
Meanwhile, we all knew it but the Guardian’s Randeep Ramesh confirms now it’s official.
Income inequality among working-age people has risen faster in Britain than in any other rich nation since the mid-1970s owing to the rise of a financial services elite who through education and marriage have concentrated wealth into the hands of a tiny minority, according to a new report by the OECD.
To them that have much let them have even more. The top ten percenters’ proportion of the national wealth has climbed to 12 times that of the bottom 10%, up from eight times.
This trend is especially pronounced in Britain, where the dramatic rise in inequality has been fuelled by the creation of a super-rich class. The share of the top 1% of income earners increased from 7.1% in 1970 to 14.3% in 2005. … Just prior to the global recession, the OECD says the very top of British society – the 0.1% of highest earners – accounted for a remarkable 5% of total pre-tax income, a level of wealth hoarding not seen since the second world war.
We can no longer expect the government to protect the electorate that didn’t vote them in in the first place. In the absence of human agency, the best we can hope for is that divine forces take a hand and do things to infuriate the rich like remove all the snow from Klosters and Aspen. Heh!
Laurie Penny locates decision to pursue cancer patients in Labour government.
Anna’s food blog here: