The other day I experienced that visceral, gut reaction that only anger driven by prejudice can provide.
Last year, Denise Coates, the founder of Bet365, paid herself £265 million…
I hold my hands up – I felt rage, disgust, weirdly a bit of embarrassment, and that’s before I even started looking at the facts of the story.
We all discriminate – me, you…yes, even you, Dalai Llama…it’s a superpower we all share.
I was angry at her – I still am, if I’m honest…and I’ve never met the woman…although I understand she speaks very highly of me…er…
But let’s get behind my blind prejudice…let’s take a breath for a moment…
If she’d earned this in the ‘80’s, when the top rate of tax was 60%, then she’d have been taxed, give or take, £159,000,000, leaving her with a paltry £106 million to scrape through.
Because she was taxed today, with the top rate now at 45%, she’d have been taxed £119,250,000
As a result of these political decisions since the 1980’s, she has been awarded £39,750,000 in tax cuts.
That’s nearly £40 million more that could have gone towards schools, hospitals, bloody social workers and the like.
Ah now…but you see, if you tax the wealthy too much, they just can’t help themselves, they have to manufacture new and improved ways of avoiding tax…the system is fair just now, and that’s why people happily pay their taxes.
If we charge too much in tax, we’ll just have to employ more folk at HMRC – imagine the cost?
Er…staffing levels and resources have been cut by 17% since 2010…perhaps we could make a start by replacing them?
If we could scrape back some of that £120 billion, it’s a hit I’m willing to take.
Even the more conservative estimates of HMRC put tax evasion at £4.4 billion and tax avoidance at £2.7 billion with a guesstimate that somehow HMRC fails to collect around £34 billion a year…I’m guessing that the extra £27 billion is slipping through the net because of lack of staff…?
So people are already avoiding/ evading taxes….perhaps if we employ a few more tax dudes…maybe…just maybe…?
But what does this all mean?
In brief, the welfare state has been dessimated, with poor and vulnerable people being vilified for their ‘something for nothing’ attitudes to life…
People who, when they rightfully expect the safety net to be there, find they have to wait for weeks, months, in extreme cases, years for their Universal (Bastard) credit to come through.
This leaves them vulnerable to the vagaries of payday loan sharks – leaving people in spiralling debt from which it’s almost impossible to recover.
But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what the UN’s Rapporteur into Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Aston has to say about the current treatment of our most vulnerable people in the U.K.
I urge you to take a look st his interim report here…
This is a humanitarian crisis of our own making.
Over the past few years we’ve had massive cuts in health and social care,
The independent living fund that supported folk with disabilities to live more independent lives has gone…
Sure start – a scheme supporting families in poverty – has been cut almost into extinction
Remploy – an organisation to support the millions of folk with disabilities who want to work is a mere shadow of it’s former self
Shelter tell us that 300 thousand people are homeless in the U.K. – that’s the population of Newcastle
The use of food banks has grown exponentially – not because of ‘complex reasons’ but because people are in absolute poverty. The support they offer is just a drop in the ocean, when you consider people can only get help from them 3 times a year.
I speak regularly to people who have nothing…they’re not making the decision whether to heat their homes or to eat – they can do neither.
Legal aid for people contesting shonky decisions by the department for work and pensions has all but gone…
But we’ve got near full employment – work is the best way out of poverty…
Sure, we’ve got full employment when the ONS counts people working ONE HOUR A WEEK as employed!
It’s all this that’s behind my anger. Does Denise Coates deserve to be the centre of my vitriol? If I’m honest, probably not…she’s just the product of a system that nurtures this…whatever it is.
I do know that the cost to our most vulnerable people as massive…people who argue otherwise – they’re either ignorant or liars. I’ll let you decide.
It can’t go on.
Walk a Mile