At long last, one of the church leaders has spoken out about the dire way the Government have treated, and are treating, the poorest members of our society. Cardinal O’Brian said this: the prime minister is behaving immorally by putting the needs of the rich ahead of ordinary people affected by the recession. In a BBC interview, the cardinal said people who had worked hard and saved for their retirement were being forgotten.
Certainly the Budget did little for the poorest members of society; it took some out of tax which was very welcome but whilst increasing the OAP, took back tax allowances. In many ways it seemed to me to be a spiteful budget: the granny tax, the pasty tax and, of course, the reduction of tax for the wealthiest to the detriment of the poorest in society. One of the problems, this, and many previous governments has, is that most members have never experienced true poverty, they’ve never had to queue up at a Labour Exchange – I’m sorry Job Centre Plus. They’ve never had to struggle to decide what bill to pay or, instead, to buy food for their children or themselves. In an interview I watched this week, one family where the husband is in full time work, had insufficient money to buy food after paying their rent and other bills. Their cupboards had barely anything in them. They rely on food banks.
I have been horrified at the number of people who need free food hand-outs from Food Banks which are being set-up all over the place by churches and charities.In a country which can afford to spend billions on the Olympic Games it is an utter disgrace that some of our citizens are living in conditions equivalent to the Third World; many of them are our retired folk who are living in dire poverty. A disgrace that they need to go to food banks so that they can eat.
It is interesting that today the Sunday Times has printed its annual Rich List which demonstrates that the majority of the very rich have become even richer under this Coalition Government. It should hang its head in shame that it has given tax reductions to this group of people at the expense of the poorest in our society.