Universal Credit cut goes ahead.

Moving the same people around shows the sheer lack of talent and for Johnson rewarding loyalty is more important than any discernible competence. Musical chairs. Moving people around who are useless whilst getting rid of a few you’d never heard of.

The whole thing was a timed distraction as drooling establishment journalists pored over who was in and who was out in varying states of euphoria depending on who was losing a trusted source and who’s had survived. It was timed to distract from the biggest cut to social security in British History and it worked – the intended cut to Universal Credit being voted through that evening was by and large even on social media, buried.

The Tories intended cut to Universal Credit, what they are terming the withdrawal of the uplift was passed last night. £1040 a year taken away from the poorest, often working households given this extra money to help with the additional costs of the COVID crisis. It came in in March of last year and has helped keep many afloat with children at home, work uncertainty and of course the uncertainty of whether or not you’d contract the virus and need to isolate. It is another evidenceless act of cruelty from Johnson’s regime that they’ve done this, but for him it probably brings back happy Bullingdon memories of burning £50 notes in the faces of the homeless – here he’s been able to burn a virtual twenty in the face of 5.5 million families every single week. I’m sure he’ll sleep like a baby at night.

The fact is the COVID crisis is still ongoing as much as Johnson might wish to pretend its not. So much stock has been put in a vaccine that loses efficacy over the course of several months that he feel the country can get back to normal and keep on opening up, ignoring the fact 200 people died yesterday alone and those figures, along with hospitalisations and positive cases are on the rise too as we head into a winter period, so where is the justification on withdrawing this money? Need to pay off those ministers you actually sacked? £17,000 a piece they get, 17 families worth of annual Universal Credit uplift each and many of them have just moved to a new post just to rub salt in the wounds.

Its not like this is the first instance of the Tories doing away with restrictions that make no sense either. The most vulnerable were required to shield for the longest time and then this was again, completely done away with overnight, so much stock being placed in that vaccine. When double vaccinated people are losing their lives still because the vaccine was never 100% effective and always needed to be taken in conjunction with other social mitigations, its little wonder despite the good the vaccine is capable of, we’re still seeing rising cases. All this the poorest families, 40% of whom are working already, so seeking more work may not be a solution, are having to deal with on worse incomes.

The UN special rapporteur on poverty has also implied that human rights law may have been broken to force this through. I’m sure Johnson will get human rights hater, now the new justice secretary Dominic ‘Afghanistan can wait, I’m off for a swim in the closed sea’ Raab to fix that little detail given half a chance, but it is damning that once again we’ve been seen to flout our human rights obligations and to be doing so against our own people and over social security. Previously it was people like the original minister for death Iain Duncan Smith the UN were getting heated with, but this cut is so bad Smith had actually spoken out against it himself!

But the very fact the UN have attacked the Tories over regressive cuts to the poorest incomes, particularly while not asking the rich to pay more shouldn’t give anyone any hope that that’ll change anything. Somebody would have to be willing to take the UK government to an international court of law over it and so far nobody has seemed very willing. Not when we were an EU member for example certainly not now that we’re out.

The fact is the uplift, entirely spent within the economy, helping to support it, made all the difference. Thousands more people now face the choice between heating and eating. The reliance on foodbanks is going to increase significantly as Energy bills are due to rise by an average of £139 per year this winter. As I mentioned before 40% of Universal Credit claimants are in work and many of those face that National Insurance tax increase as well as this cut and rising energy bills. A Trussell Trust survey has indicated that 20% of Universal Credit claimants, that’s 1.2 million people expect they’ll have to skip meals and fractionally more, 1.3 million say they will not be able to afford to heat their homes and perversely it’ll be mostly those in the colder north of the country disproportionately affected by this. All whilst we’re still in the COVID crisis! Another 900,000 are expected to rely on foodbanks to help feed them as well. All so the richest and most able don’t have to pay a penny more, though some have said they’d be prepared to. Fact is, Johnson isn’t prepared to let them or make them. It’s the poor, non-Tory voting ordinary working classes being oppressed again, by an Old Etonian born with a silver spoon. It is class war, make no mistake about it.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

The National Insurance Lie: A Tax on Work not Wealth.

A manifesto is a roadmap for how a political party wants to run the country during the next parliament. It is their mandate to rule. However, we’ve seen it before and we’ve seen it again now, these promises, these manifesto pledges are not binding. They should be, they are what gives a governing party legitimacy, but having broken 3 of his manifesto pledges in one day, and inflicted more hardship on low paid workers rather than taxing the rich, Boris Johnson’s government should no longer be legitimate as they seek to tax work instead of wealth.

Is he going to call a General Election now that he’s shredded his mandate to run the country? Of course not, Boris Johnson has a massive majority and can do what he likes, however the question of breaking manifesto pledges is a big deal because it means he lied to the country in order to get elected. It’s not like Keir Starmer can exactly force the matter on that point either, given that he lied to the Labour Party to get elected leader himself, his 10 pledges have long been ditched and he’s done nothing but attack his own party, but he’s also failed to offer any alternatives and again that’s the case here, crowing that the Tories can no longer call themselves the low tax party, but failing to offer a plan of his own, not even to tax the wealthy, which, ironically, even the wealthy are calling for! It’s pathetic and the public will warm to him no more over this, than they have over anything else.

The attack on National Insurance is a vile one. The Tories promised it would not be raised and they’ve done it anyway. Work is the route out of poverty they’ve said for years, a lie as it was then, but now its even more dishonest, as they tax work instead of wealth. Johnson might well be blaming the pandemic for needing to do this, but when his plans will bring in and estimated £36bn, most of which is going to the NHS in actual fact, not social care, so it doesn’t even fix the social care crisis anyway, you can’t help but think hang on, Test and Trace cost £37bn – you didn’t put up any taxes to pay for that? and you’d be right, because taxation to pay for stuff is a myth when we as a sovereign country with our own currency can print however much cash we need for whatever we need it for. That is exactly how test and trace was paid for – numbers typed into a spreadsheet – magic! You start being charged national insurance before you even start paying income tax, meaning the lowest paid and often that means the youngest workers on the most rubbish of minimum wage are getting clobbered by this. These are people scraping by, many won’t even be able to do that, relying on foodbanks and working to earn their poverty and not working their way out of it as so many Tory mouthpieces have promised before. Now even more will be affected adversely. The money they spend goes straight into the economy as they spend what they get on food, on utilities, on essentials all the things which keep our economy going unlike the wealthy who just hoard their wealth, which does absolutely nothing to help the economy. By removing some of what little cash they have, it reduces their spending power and is harmful to the economy, this is why so many have said this national insurance rise will actually damage the economy – reducing spending power shrinks the economy, we have to spend for it to grow. Further compounding this will be the withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit Uplift, Energy bills set to rise £139 a year, furlough ending combined with COVID spiking which we know will disrupt work, we’ve seen it before now so things are looking very scary indeed for those on the lowest incomes. National Insurance is also only paid on earnings and profits as well so anyone making money from annuities, investments, or property rental evades it completely, along with anybody on whatever wage still working past retirement age. Anyone earning over £50K only pays 2% national insurance instead of 12% as well! It is a wicked tax, unfair on so many levels that amounts to an assault on the poor and the young and this 1.25% hike makes it even worse.

It could’ve been so different, but the way to pay for this is to hit those with the broadest shoulders and when UK billionaires have added more than £100bn to their wealth in the last year, why can they not foot the bill? Many are calling for it! One third of what they’ve added to their wealth in the last year would raise what Johnson is projecting, it doesn’t even have to touch what they had before, so why can they not pay it? As it stands 2.5 million households look set to lose an average of £1,290 a year in the next tax year. All families that can most ill afford it. It is a depraved move by bottom feeding, money grabbing, big bucks worshipping maggots for whom greed is their God and the wealthy shielded from paying their share.

A 10% tax on the wealth of everyone who has more than £100m would raise £69bn – is that not fairer? It legitimately would fix social care as well as inject more cash into the NHS though it remains to be seen if it’s the NHS or private contractors running former NHS services who actually benefit. Why are the poor having to pay for the rich? Why is work being taxed instead of wealth? There is no other way of viewing this and the Tories are prepared to betray their voters, betray their mandate to rule to do it.

But it’s not even the only example of pledge breaking that day. By apparently having to do this to pay for social care, Johnson’s manifesto commitment to a plan for social care during the 2019 election campaign has been proven to be a lie.

If pensioners who wouldn’t be hit by the National Insurance clobbering thought they were protected, they’d be wrong as Johnson has decided to scrap the pensions triple lock for a year. Anyone really think it’ll ever be put back into place? Only right before the next election as a sweetener, you can bet on it, that or a promise to reinstate it, but why honestly would you trust a Tory manifesto ever again after this?

How about after you have to sell your house to pay for social care? Yes, even with all these cuts, all these shattered promises, you’ll still have to stump up up to £86K to pay towards your social care. The Tories promised nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for social care, but who has that kind of cash not locked up in their homes? £86K is a cap on costs and kicks in after the first £100K of a homes value, but when the remainder of the property value is divided up as an inheritance, a wealthy homeowner sat in a half million pound property is going to leave a damn sight more to their family than the owner of a house somewhere in the red wall who’ll leave scarcely anything behind at all. Again, it’s war on the poor, it’s a class war. Protect the wealthy, guard their wealth, hammer the poor, they either don’t vote for us or don’t vote at all anyway. The poorest people across the board are paying so the richest don’t have to. This is what happens when you elect an elitist fool without the faintest idea of what life is like for ordinary families, not that he’d give a damn if he did, he only thinks of himself after all. Johnson doesn’t give a damn that he’s broken so many promises and wrecked his mandate, he is a serial liar that couldn’t lie straight in bed and anyone believing a word he says is a fool. The question now is, are we going to just take it, or are we going to do something about it?

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Brexit Chicken Supply Crisis

Well who’d have thought it, the party that brought us Brexit means Brexit couldn’t foresee supply chain problems after we left without a decent trade deal in place, the giveaway should be that they’ve been trying to tear up their ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal almost since they got it signed off and as a consequence we’re now struggling to even get an oven ready chicken! They never got Brexit done, they’ve just dragged the pain of it out, pulled the wool over our eyes and made it even worse.

Boris Johnson, a man who has rarely been troubled by honesty and all too often has been allowed to get away with that, has been somewhat fortunate in that the COVID crisis has for the most part masked the fallout from his ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal, an agreement he’s been trying to wriggle out of almost since it was signed. Whether he ever even read the thing before he signed it is highly questionable, but when you consider the consequences of his ambition, his idiocy or a combination of the two and it’s little wonder why, when you visit the supermarket and see the vast array of empty shelves there to greet you, that the government line is to blame something else, namely COVID. Where are the goods? Why can’t I buy what I need? and the answer has been things like shortages of staff in the warehouse due to COVID, lorry drivers down with COVID and because COVID has become so normalised, life is back to normal and we’re just living with it now – except the ones dying from it obviously but who thinks about them anymore, as the mass media avoid talking about that – and so we just accept it’s a temporary hitch and move on.

Well it isn’t a temporary hitch, it isn’t related to COVID and this is becoming more obvious to more people by the day as we look at pictures of supermarkets in Europe on social media, Europe with its share of COVID to deal with as well and what do we see? Well stocked shelves full of fresh produce! Why can they get food and we can’t? The answer is a Brexit inflicted supply chain disaster that actually has a greater knock-on effect and none of it positive.

Sure, some of it might be people off sick with COVID, but that’s a short term issue, the long term issue caused by Brexit is the lack of staff to start with. Many weren’t British nationals and they’ve left or are about to leave, leaving massive holes in the workforce, holes in industries that require a level of skill, that not anyone can do. We’re short on lorry drivers to deliver goods. If our shops need supplying, they need stuff delivered to them and that has been hit hard.

It’s not just been a case of non British drivers not staying either, many British people have left the job too, because Brexit has disincentivised them from staying. Many used to earn decent money doing runs to the continent when as part of the EU we could collect goods and come back without fuss. Now it’s 2 or 3 days of red tape, fresh produce going off as they’re sat there and whilst they’re sat there waiting to get back they aren’t getting paid. They lose money sitting there not trucking. That hurts the drivers in the pocket and what produce they bring back? More of it will have perished by the time it gets here, driving up demand and as a result prices.

This crisis is a two-way street actually as well, as our meat and fish exports have dropped some 83% and there’s nothing worse than spoiling fish, so this is directly hitting our economy as well. And if you don’t believe me over any of this? How much has your shopping bill gone up lately?

Think about how this might hurt the poorest in the country right now if you’re feeling the pinch. They’re due to lose £20 a week, a Universal Credit uplift the most ill and disabled still on legacy benefits never got to begin with, combined with energy bills set to soar again and with this supply and demand crisis only worsening, the price of meat and fish is up 23%, fresh fruit and veg up 14% and the price of poultry up a staggering 41% and it’s the poultry industry I’ll turn to next.

We raise a lot of poultry in this country, but the industry is in crisis because they’ve lost so many workers as well. Again, most came from abroad because working with chickens or turkeys is a poorly paid job, but again a skilled one; its another example of skilled work not being paid as such, from the husbandry to the butchery, the people working there operate quickly and efficiently and that takes time to train and get the hang of, but when the market demands ever cheaper meat, the wages do not keep up with UK cost of living, therefore people here simply cannot afford to take this work on, or learn how to do it. The cost of living in this country has been a massive problem gone ignored by business-centric successive governments for decades. It left the country with a need for cheap foreign labour and here its biting us on the arse, particularly as the cost of living is rising, goods and utilities costing us more and wages and benefits here are still not rising to match. Look, food banks as an example are an absolute consequence of a system failing its people and the queues to these places are getting longer and longer and the number of people able to pop a few items in the food bank bin will get fewer and fewer as costs rise, as this issue of income versus cost of living worsens, plus availability of goods as well, continues to widen.

The British Poultry Industry has spoken out today, flatly blaming Brexit for the staffing issues its industry faces and demanding the government fast-track visas for people to come here and do the jobs needed, those possessing the skills needed. How is this being back in control? How is this freedom oh Brexit voters? Surely we should be employing people here to do this, surely these poultry farmers and processors should be training up Brits? The reason nobody will is that we all want cheap chicken and therefore the poultry industry cannot pay enough for a British worker to live on. Its hard work, skilled work but our government response would be to anyone not earning enough, would be to work harder or take another job – there’s no time to around this kind of work and it is in itself enough work for anyone for one day. A fair days pay for a fair days work is what we all should be demanding, whatever happened to that? It went out of the window in the 70’s. Wages have failed to keep up with cost of living for decades. We can’t afford to buy a home anymore, can’t afford to rent a home it seems these days, now its becoming increasingly harder to put food on the table, save for a pension you’ll have to work even longer for to earn and with the poultry industry struggling to meet demand, case in point today Nando’s closing 45 outlets and KFC reducing their menu options, let alone the state of play on your supermarket shelves! You might not even be able to get a turkey for Christmas because although the birds are there, the processing and delivery infrastructures are not! Whilst Brexit has brought into sharp, chicken-flavoured focus the cost of living crisis – I’m not going to say anybody was right or wrong depending on how they voted, that time is past – but the least you should expect is for your government to know what they were doing and its bloody obvious by now that they were all making it up as they went along. Their mishandling of Brexit, their incompetence and cluelessness, their detachment from ordinary lives, has accelerated the cost of living crisis and there needs to be a fundamental shift to address it as more and more people find themselves unable to afford even the basics, like a roast chicken dinner.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.