Sunday, July 04, 2010

boy george: be afraid, be very afraid.

So, Cabinet Ministers have been ordered by the Treasury to plan for unprecedented 40% cost-cutting across the public sector. It makes for very depressing news – even though many pundits see the announcement as being tactical – to prepare the public for the worst in the hope that, when final details are announced in the Autumn, they will come as less of a shock – maybe only 25-30%? It all seems to make George Osborne’s statement at last year’s Tory Conference that “we’re all in this together” ring somewhat hollow (it’s almost laughable!). I’m all for ensuring that people pay their rightful taxes and that those cheating the Treasury, by claiming wrongful benefit payments, are brought to justice but, frankly, these measures certainly aren’t going to adversely affect Mr Osborne’s lifestyle one iota (he has an estimated personal fortune in excess of £4 million as the beneficiary of a trust fund in a wallpaper/fabrics company co-founded by his father, Sir Peter Osborne, 17th Baronet). His job won’t be one of the 600,000 public service jobs that are likely to be lost. He won’t be one of the 200,000 people who The National Housing Federation (the body representing England’s 1,200 not-for-profit housing associations) predicts will be in grave risk of homelessness and lead to a concentration of social problems in the most deprived areas of the country. Mr Osborne won’t be one of the 20,000 police officers who face job-cuts. He won’t be affected by the 10% cut in housing benefit (for people claiming jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months or more). He won’t be affected by plans to cap payments to private tenants (to reduce the level at which housing benefit is paid) which is estimated to force “hundreds of thousands of families out of their homes”.
But, just remember everyone: “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER”!
Photo: George in his Bullingdon Club days at Oxford.

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