Monday, 10 January 2011

Man of the people?

Three stories, which perfectly illustrate the attitudes of those at the top of government, and where their true priorities lie. Here's a spoiler, it isn't with the average man and woman, and most certainly is with the very people who plunged us into this financial crisis in the first place.

You, pauper, hand me your cash!

The first, we were told by David Cameron that the VAT rise to 20%, which was only ever necessary because of other tax cuts pushed through by George Osborne, is here to stay. But the far more progressive taxation of the highest earners at 50% will in all likelihood be cut. What does that say about his priorities? He would rather hand a tax cut to the richest individuals in society than help out the vast majority by reversing the regressive (as he admitted pre-election) VAT increase.

Second, despite much rhetoric being given to the idea of the banks paying their fair share of the recovery, a recovery necessary because of their recklessness, it turns out it's business as usual at all the big banks. The government has admitted it's impotent to halt the bonus culture, or even to make the banks lend to smaller business. After being saved by taxpayer money the banks are now effectively sticking up two fingers to the rest of us. And the pathetic bank levy lauded by the Tories makes no difference to banks, as they already make that money back in other tax cuts they've been handed.

And finally, at a time when people are worried for their finances and the chances of finding a job, Cameron has decided that the most important thing to do is make it far easier to sack people. Man of the people indeed. You will no longer be able claim unfair dismissal until you've worked at a company for two years, rather than the one year as it is at present. Oh, and the amount of sick pay you can claim will also be reduced.

It's because they care.

Edit: The TUC commissioned a report to look at the effects of employment protection legislation on employment levels, and it found that there was 'no significant relationship'. So, there really is no case for this reform.

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