Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes his sycophantic courtiers all tell him how wonderful the clothes are and do not dare to say he is naked, until a child cries out; “But he isn’t wearing anything at all”!
Duncan-Smith and Lord Freud are the two weavers who have promised the Emperor Cameron they can weave a beautiful ethical justification to their welfare reforms that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. When Emperor Cameron parades his ethical justifications in public all his sycophantic free marketeers tell him he is the fairest Emperor there has ever been. But he isn’t wearing anything at all!
The two weavers at the Department for Weavers of Punishment have set the destitute homeless against the poorest tenants when the true unfairness is to be found, from 2010, in the additional inequalities of wealth and incomes those reforms are imposing on both homeless and tenants.
They say it is unfair on the homeless for the poorest tenants to have a spare bedroom. They claim that homeless people are the victims of the poorest tenants.
But the reality is that homeless and tenants are both victims of a chaotic UK housing market that allows bankers bonuses and overseas property speculators to buy second and third homes in London and leave them empty; this forces rents above caps and families and individuals out of London to other councils also short of housing. The poorest people are all victims of the failures of the 1979, 1997 and 2010 governments to devise any affordable housing policies.
They say the bedroom tax is not a tax.
But the reality is that the 15% or 25% cuts in housing benefit, and all the £18 billion cuts in welfare, are like all taxes, helping to pay for windmills, railways, deficit reduction, and the tax cut for the very wealthy.
This was posted on the TAP facebook page;
“I am unemployed and still suffer recurrent illness following a heart attack several years ago. Two years ago my income was cut by £30 per week. I can rarely afford to have my central heating on as I use a card meter. Now I have to pay the council for having an so-called “spare” bedroom or move out of a flat that I have occupied for the past 30 years.
What do I do with any extra furniture?
How do I manage to pack let alone move my belongings when some days I can barely even walk to the local shop?
How am I supposed to pay for a removal van? .
Two of my neighbours are in almost exactly the same position, one in his sixties following the death of his wife, the other around 55 after his son left home.”
They say it is unfair on the taxpayer that that the poorest tenants should receive high housing benefit on expensive districts like Belgravia.
But the reality is that it is unfair on the tenants that that landlords and landowners profited from increasing billions of pounds of housing benefit for decades by raising rents in a housing market in short supply and are now contributing nothing to deficit reduction; rent controls would be the better option.
They say it is fair for the Emperor to lend 20% of the value to people who can buy homes up to the value of £600,000.
But the reality is a desperate need for national investment in affordable homes of all tenures be they ownership, private, RSL or council tenancies and for a stop in the speculation of land; it is needed for homes and productive work and should not be syphoned off into private enrichment.
Local authorities have followed the example of the two weavers at the DWP by claiming that every one is making a fair contribution in hard times when they tax with 8.5% to 30% of the council tax the already shredded benefits left over by the Department for Weavers of Punishment.
But the reality is that inevitable council tax arrears are enforced by council’s applying for a liability order adding £70 to the CT arrears and then the bailiffs adding up to £400.
There is nothing what ever fair about imposing such stress and hunger on the decent citizens who claim benefits to survive.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road,
London N17 0BF
also at www.prohousingalliance.com
also at www.z2k.org