Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Robin Hood in reverse

Plenty of people knew that the Tories would be devastating for Wales if they gained power at the UK general election and so it proved with George Gideon Osborne’s ‘reverse Robin Hood’ budget on Tuesday. He has taken from the poorest while leaving the richest relatively untouched.

Mr Osborne prefaced his bombshell by saying his budget was “tough, but fair.” This old Etonian millionaire should ask himself if it is fair on pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes as well as eat properly through the winter to increase the most regressive of all taxes, VAT, to 20%. Is it fair that child benefit, housing benefit, and family tax credits have all been targeted in measures that will see £11 billion taken out of the welfare system?

Is it fair that so many public sector workers will inevitably lose their jobs with Osborne’s vow to cut Government departments, with a few exceptions, by 25% over four years? Plaid believes this will signal 60,000 job losses in Wales alone. What will this do to our economy?

Yet the bankers, who by-and-large caused the financial meltdown, appear to have got off scot-free. There is to be no curbing of the bonus culture that rewards short-term risk at the expense of long-term stability. At the end of last year, the National Audit Office calculated that the cost of bailing out the banks had, so far, reached a staggering £850 billion. Now that tax-payers money is being used to prop up so many of these institutions, why isn’t the UK Government being firmer and more punitive towards them and their obscene profits? The reason is that the Tory party has always existed, and always will, to preserve the wealth of the few while paying nothing more than lip-service to the needs of the many.

But what of the Liberal Democrats, the sheepish collaborators in this coalition? Millions of people voted for their promise of fairer politics. Those voters must feel utterly betrayed now. Clegg and his cronies have allowed their mouths to be stuffed with gold.

The Con/Dem Government have now set out their stall and given us a taste of what we can expect over the course of their parliament. It is up to us now to make sure their plans to rob the poor and give to the rich are not allowed to get through with ease.

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