A couple of days ago, I wrote how Tories are masquerading as an ‘independent charity’ in order to push through the privatisation of the NHS.
Well, some further reading has shown very clearly that dismantling and selling off the NHS is far from the limit of their ambitions. Take a look at this list:
Tax allowances for low earners
Winter fuel allowance
Paid maternity leave
Zero-rated VAT on children’s clothes
Free bus passes for pensioners
Student loans (except at normal ‘commercial interest rates’, which are vastly higher than the rate currently applied to student loans to cover already-exorbitant university fees)
Reform has published ‘reports‘ calling all of these ‘gimmicks’ that should be ended as soon as possible in order to make society ‘fairer’, calling for them to be either scrapped entirely or else replaced with insurance-based alternatives supplied (of course) by private providers.
This ‘charity’ – which styles itself as ‘independent’ and ‘non-partisan’ but was founded by 2 Tories, is run by Tories and funded by huge corporate interests that do not disclose the size of their contributions – has a vision of creating
a new welfare society of individual wealth and individual responsibility. A society where hard working families can meet their own welfare needs and individuals are self-sufficient
Call me pedantic, but the whole point of a welfare society is to provide for you when you can’t provide for yourself. So a society in which you have to meet your ‘own welfare needs and..are self-sufficient’ is no welfare society at all.
However, according to Reform, this would no loss at all. According to this ‘non-party charity‘,
This is a welfare state that helps no one and costs everyone.
Try telling the thousands of families who are forced to go to Foodbanks because their benefits are late, have been suspended or stopped, that they don’t need a welfare state because it would be of no help to them. The Foodbanks that are opening at a rate of 3 per week because of the rapidly-escalating need for them because of the cuts to the welfare state and public spending that have already taken place.
But even the abolition of the welfare state and forcing us all to pay private companies in the hope of some kind of provision and safety net is not enough for Reform.
This ‘charity’ also wants to cut the salaries of NHS workers by 10% and says of tax cuts for low earners ‘this is not the way to do it‘.
Even this isn’t enough. In the opinion of Reform, most of us are paid too much:
In reality many families’ real incomes should fall as the economy adjusts
So, Reform thinks that we should receive no benefits, or far fewer, and those we do get should be provided by each person paying directly to an insurance provider (what happens to those who can’t afford to make the payments isn’t clear), while at the same time we should be paid less. The vast majority of us would lose twice over.
All this is not only acceptable according to Reform, but necessary. But there’s one thing that must be avoided at all costs. What is this ‘anathema’? Letting children starve? Forcing families onto the streets? No. It is
increasing the burden on a small group of wealth generators
The ‘burden’. I saw an interesting little exchange on Twitter today between someone who had tweeted a link to my earlier post on Reform and a right-winger. The right-winger (I’ve edited the Tweet to protect the participants!) tweeted:
Oh, the terrible ‘burden’ borne by that million-pound earner, who has to make do on a mere £550,000 of post-tax income so that those who earn nothing can eat. Just imagine how awful it must be for those earning £2 million, or £5m, or £10! And for billionaires, it must be just unbearable!
According to Reform, taxing the wealthy
would cause the maximum economic damage
hinder investment, employment and growth
All because, apparently, it’s an awful ‘burden’ on the rich to be a fractionally less massively wealthy so that the vulnerable and less privileged are not destitute and starving.
I don’t know about you, but to me an agenda that aims to take money away from the poor and the ordinary so that the very rich don’t have to be taxed is the very opposite of ‘charitable’.
For organisations like Reform, and their kindred ‘think-tanks’ such as Policy Exchange etc, to be able to enjoy charitable status so that they are exempt (oh, the irony) from tax and VAT is an obscenity.
For them to claim to be ‘independent’ and ‘non-party’ is both ridiculous and an eloquent demonstration of just how deceitful the Conservative party is prepared to be to achieve its ends.