Community Activists Network
It is well known that the first duty of government is to protect the citizens to whom they are answerable. Few will disagree with this, yet many will focus on this responsibility being carried out in a time of conflict and war. However, this responsibility of defending, guarding or keeping safe has also to the honoured during peacetime. Such protection extends to the young, the elderly, the sick and the disadvantaged. Clearly, this government is neglecting its responsibility by ignoring the need to protect those mentioned above. Protection from;- poor education, neglect, ill-health, disadvantage, poverty, indignity, injustice and insecurity and unemployment. What William Beveridge described in his speech at Caxton Hall in 1943, as his attack on the ‘five giants’; Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness.
This government has put on record (or I should say that Mrs May has) that the Tories are the party of the working classes. She has also made it clear that she is very concerned about the, so called ‘jams’. If any of this were true we might be able to look to a future that really, ‘…does work for everyone.’ Only a brief examination of the conduct and direction of this government, will show that the absolute opposite is in fact the case. May talks of making a country in which all have a stake and can benefit and on the face of it, one might be encouraged by a message that the government is going to tackle the growing inequality that exists in the UK.
Within a relatively short period of time, since that Tories gained power in their own right, the electorate have learned that the messages from May, et al. are the same old, same old! The rich will gain disproportionally and the poor, the old, young people, the disabled and the sick will be ignored. We had a great example of this in Phillip Hammond’s, Autumn Statement. He completely ignored the plight of those requiring social care improvement and an increase in funding. Not one word was uttered about social care in the statement. Yet, within minutes of him outlining his intended measures, we recall how the priority is tax cuts and a reduction in corporation tax. The government is now effectively washing its hands of the problem in social care, by putting further financial pressure onto local authorities, who have had to cope with swingeing reductions to their budgets for social care and other public services, to the tune of 40% . Councils will be able to increased council tax by 6% over two years, potentially incurring the wrath of their communities. This means that we all have to pay for the increases in social care funding and the corporations will simply pay far less tax, making them even more profitable and able to pay their directors even more hugely inflated bonuses, for doing nothing more. The other injustice of this hypocritical scheme is that, those who live in wealthy authorities will gain much more than those who live in the poorer ones. As has been said, it will be a post code lottery. There is also the simple fact that there will be many ‘jams,’ the very people May has expressed concern about, who can ill afford to pay these increases. This is not protecting the citizens of the country; it is leaving them to struggle and suffer because councils cannot provide the services that are required. Sajid Javed, has announced that along with increases in council tax, £240m will be diverted from the new homes bonus scheme, (so, no new funds from the government then!), which will be spent in the period 2017 to 2019. These measures have been rightly dismissed as nothing more than a “sticking plaster” solution to an escalating crisis. We all know that NHS is being starved of funds beyond the crisis in social care, and this is even admitted by Jeremy Hunt himself. So we are witnessing the deliberated decrease in funding for social care and funding for the NHS, in favour of huge benefits for the corporations and the rich, many of whom will be reaping the rewards of the continuing privatisation of the NHS.
Far from reducing inequality, the Tories continue to underpin the very foundations upon which inequality is built. They are now looking to bring back grammar schools and indeed super-selective schools, when what is required is the fair and full funding of all state schools, to ensure that all pupils no matter where they live have access of outstanding education. A system that caters for the needs of every individual child. Justine Greening’s, new funding formula, continues to be based on some schools gaining and others losing, with schools having to make cuts totalling £3bn from their budgets.
‘The brunt of the cuts will be borne by inner cities, including some of the most deprived areas of Liverpool and Manchester, where secondary schools could each lose more than £150,000 a year. Budgets are already so tight that some schools are considering shorter hours, sacking teachers and increasing class sizes and the fresh round of cuts will worsen the problem, headteachers have warned.’ ( Richard Vaughan. The ‘I’ - Thursday 15 December 2016).
These are just some examples of how this government is not protecting its citizens but is indeed waging a war against them!!