- November 19, 2015
- Posted by: Carwyn Jones AM
- Category: The Gem
There was a time in this country when we helped people to get into work. We told them that it paid and that working would always mean that they were better off than being on benefits. That is changing. We now have a government in London that wants to bin that, and to penalise those who work hard for their families but are on low pay.
Nothing illustrates this more than the proposals to do away with tax credits, a system that has helped so many people into work, and has helped raise their incomes despite being on low pay.
In Wales, 134,600 families will be at risk of losing an average of £1,300 every year, with some losing £3,000 next April. This represents a cut of 10% in the income of the lowest paid in society and it comes at a time when tax rates for high earners have been cut.
Why attack low paid people in this way? It wasn’t them who caused the financial crash in 2007. It wasn’t those looking after the elderly who loaned money to those who couldn’t pay. It wasn’t those helping with children who caused the Northern Rock to collapse. Yet these are precisely the people who are being made to pay.
Those in the financial sector whose recklessness crashed the world economy in 2007 haven’t paid their share. They still get bonuses and they still have their tax breaks, but those on £11000 get penalized.
It’s true to say that the living wage will be increased, and nobody would argue with that in principle, but the financial burden for that will be borne by businesses, many of whom have said that they can’t pay it.
What the UK government has done has transfer the financial responsibility from government to business to help the lowest paid; it has abdicated its responsibilities towards them.
So, people who can ill afford it will lose out the most, and many businesses might go to the wall. At the same time those who bear the most blame will prosper.
On top of that, those people who will lose tax credits will have less money to spend, and that means that the local businesses that they use will suffer because that money isn’t making its way to them to help them to continue.
Who said we’re all in this together?