Thursday, 22 March 2012

Just why DID Osborne cut pensions?

I was in that big London yesterday, so for the first time for as long as I can remember I didn't watch the budget.

I got back to my hotel , checked twitter and blow me down if George Gideon Osborne hadn't shafted pensioners! A #Grannypolltax according to twitter.

Now this is a sore point for disability campaigners. Kaliya and I often say "Damn their evil genius - as long as the pensioners are airbrushed from "welfare" no-one gives a damn".

The internet lit up with confused political editors "WHY?" They asked? Why did Gideon cut the 50p tax rate for millionaires and pay for it out of the pockets of "Decent Middle Class Pensioners"???"

Why indeed.

There is only one possible reason.

Gideon is in big trouble.

Many of us know this already and have been perplexed about why the media - so certain austerity would work - have given our baby chancellor such an easy ride. Debt is exploding (it will rise by over 150 billion MORE than he had predicted.)

Last month the deficit ROSE by 15 billion - compared to 8.8 Billion in the same month last year.

The welfare bill has RISEN by over 12 Billion since he took over at the Treasury. Yep, all this tough talk and eye-wateringly tough action crushing the very poorest and most disabled in our society has simply plugged the gap left by the rising unemployment benefits bill - youth unemployment for instance is now at the highest level since records began.

Growth, originally predicted to be over 2% came in at a pathetic 0.8%, whilst the Eurozone and US look well on the road to recovery.

I even spent most of last week asking Conservatives for signs that Osborne's plan was working. Not one replied.

So Gideon needs to find more money. And we all need to hurt more. Well, most of us. Not millionaires, obviously, they will get 40 thousand pounds a year, every year, MORE to spend.

Here's the key thing to remember : As you get older, you get more likely to vote Conservative. Every opinion poll since the dawn of time shows that a majority of over 60s will vote Tory. At the moment, they are the only age group saying that more will vote Conservative than Labour. This usually means one thing : Tories never, ever, shaft pensioners.

But he did. Because he's desperate.

As for the reaction today on all the front pages, something much, much more important has happened.

There is only one thing keeping polls close, only one thing separating the Tories from a 10 point clobbering : The economy. Gideon is seen as rather clever, a good strategist. He has set many a trap for the Labour front bench to walk into. He has saved the Tories at several key points. The public still overwhelmingly trusted them more than Labour on the economy.

He has consistently shown that despite howls of leftie rage, he understands his grassroots and can appeal to enough floating voters to keep the party ticking over.

Until yesterday.

This morning sees the Telegraph howling with disgust, the Mail and the Sun mocking his stupidity with dripping scorn. Will he recover? Will this simply be a minor budget blip, too far from the next election to make a difference? Or will today be the day the Conservatives lose their deadliest weapon?

It's too soon to tell, but surely, yesterday was as damaging for Gideon as Gordon Brown's 10p tax disaster? If it turns out to be Gideon's poll tax moment, then the outlook just got a lot brighter for those of us who don't believe in the growth fairy.

Click here for a montage of today's appalling front pages


As a final point, our trustafarian millionaire chancellor suggested that he will have to find a further 10 billion from the welfare budget. I have a message for him. "You can't, silly boy"

But then, there's no such word as can't is there? So here's another message "If you do George, tens of thousands of our most vulnerable children, pensioners and disabled people will die. That is not hyperbole. And I will make sure that you can never hide from it, every day, for the rest of your life."


  1. I'm predicting he will, and yes, folks will die, but then some already have, and sadly the general public just don't seem to care.

    And thats what they're (quite literally) banking on here.

    So imo expect the propaganda machine to keep rolling out even more disability/welfare claimants hate because he's still on a mission so to speak. :(

  2. May people not need to die like this... yes, the "general public" is too narcissistic even to care other than themselves... rather pathetic, do others really care?

    Keep that propaganda in motion.

  3. So thankful for your blog, I'm disabled with small early retirement pension that is taxed so I'm taxed at going rate and always thought better if I was taxed like a pensioner. With all the cuts I thought this would be a good way to go so am left astounded they did this to pensioners.upon a quick google looking at Dilnot and care, sure enough this was to be expected, silly me, it's obvious what was going to happen. The article is in Daily mirror written 5 July head line says 'granny tax'.
    A lot has come in by stealth too ie. chage of pension income rule regarding £85 for people on high rate care the change happens from migrating from IB to ESA, much needed money when you have to buy your own care, as priced out of market for social services care. I really hope this wakes the general public up to what is happening . And for making cuts it is ridiculous as the knock on effect is unimaginable to people's health and well - being.
    Thank you for yor blog and documenting it as it really is.

  4. You can't get bloood out of s stone and surprise, surprise the cuts are hitting the retail sector - down 0.8% last month. The richest in swociety spend a vast proportion of their wealth abroad whereas pensioners generally support the local economy

  5. If it isn't reported in newspapers the public doesn't know it's happening and so much has "failed to be noticed" by the media in recent months, not only on the demonising of benefits recipients (which they have happily aided) by this government but also the protests and marches concerned about the NHS Bill, Welfare Reform Bill and biased coverage of the Scottish independence debate -complete with scaremongering.
    Even the pie chart showing where your taxes go is biased against benefits recipients and designed to cause alarm and disgust among the general population who could be forgiven for thinking a huge amount of their taxes go towards "scroungers". In fact, the figure shown includes pensions, child benefit etc and approximately a third of the figure is made up of work related benefit.
    It's clear this UK government intends to squeeze the poor while rewarding the rich and in doing so they will undoubtedly cause deaths among the poor and disadvantaged. In the process they will also raise the level of crime and increased hospital admissions are guaranteed.
    The costs of this government's policies far outweighs any possible savings but this chancellor seems not to understand a basic economic fact. Give a poor man some cash and he will spend it on much needed goods, give the same cash to a rich man and it will languish in his bank account.

    1. For example - Phillip Green sends his millions made in dividends to his wife in Monaco.

  6. I have my own theory of how he will attempt to get a big chunk of that 10 billion.

    Remember how he announced the study of extending local pay to teachers and hundred of thousand of other public secotr workers.. once he establishes that principle he is free to localise benefits, minimum wage etc.

    Back of the envelope illustrative calculations:

  7. @ Katherine

    Not seen the pie chart, but I understand it fails utterly to mention spending on the various wars we are, have recently been, and are about to be, involved in. This figure, by all accounts, makes the spend on disability pale into insignificance.

    1. UK Defence spending is around £34 Billion a year. The UK is committed to meeting the Nato "guidelines" of spending 2% of GDP on "defence". It spends more than 2%, it's actually around 2.7%

      If it were to drop it's spending to 2% of GDP then it could immediately save over £2 Billion.

      I save save, what I actually mean is that an extra £2 billion wont be put on the deficit.

      The real secret to solving all this is for the constituent regions of the UK to rule themselves and not be bled dry by the London parasites.

      Welsh not British

  8. Well I am almost 61 and there is no way shape or form that I would ever ever ever vote Tory.

    1. Not far off retirement myself (would be closer if goalposts hadn't been moved) and I have never, would never and couldn't possibly ever vote Tory.

  9. Interesting answer to an interesting question ! Osbourne is a strategist like Brown so there must be a good reason and and its a calculated risk.

    Its certainly a mystery why the Conservative-Liberal Coalition would attack the grey vote when like you say a big chunk of the Tory vote is over 60. Perhaps its because they are less likely to change their vote than other groups (younger under 25 voters veer all over the place almost monthly and they often dont vote on polling day.)and he wants to appeal to swing middle income groups who broadly gain financially from this budget.

    'Growth, originally predicted to be over 2% came in at a pathetic 0.8%, whilst the Eurozone and US look well on the road to recovery.' Not so the Eurozone is heading for recession and much more Austerity.In the US remember Austerity was more severe than ours but hidden as it came of state not federal budgets.

    'Last month the deficit ROSE by 15 billion - compared to 8.8 Billion in the same month last year.' But it was a record surplus in January and heading for a lower outturn at year end than forecast. Currently the Govt suggest that structural deficit will be eliminated by 2016 one year behind original target if I was a betting man then I would suggest that they'll beat that and reach the target by 2015. The growth projections are deliberately pessimistic and you don't need to beat them by much to the deficit back to plan a.Its called expectation setting ! Or in New Labour 'Spin'
    Ironically all remarkably similar to the Darling Plan ! Spooky that.

    I am particularly pleased to see them moving toward taxing wealth and not income as thats a far more effective way of make the rich pay more. I also like the cap on allowances a 'Tycoon Tax ' Lite
    Who'd have thought a Govt with Conservatives in would increase taxes on Pensioners (their core vote ) and introduce wealth taxes !!! The Tory right's been had !

  10. Neil Kinnock said it all in 1983. It was clear even then that this would be the end game (unless stopped) of Margaret Thatcher's deregulation and globalization.

    We have government who are simply enablers for the transnational corporations and the City/Wall Street.

    1. That bloody traitior sold Wales out worse than Thatcher ever did. At least we knew the old bag was evil. Kinnock was the veritable wolf in sheeps clothing.

      And you've heard what we like doing to sheep.

  11. I would be interessted to know how much money goes to the workfare contractors in total and also how much of welfare is being paid in lieu of wages ie being paid directly to holland n barratt etc. and how much is being wasted via atos n repeat assessments for those with life long conditions n appeals etc. ie much stuff which is defo a total waste of money!

  12. I think we are all in for a good media bashing yet again with the new tax slips that will "explain" that a third of public spending goes on "welfare". Yet, unsurprisingly, this is not broken down to explain to the thickos that the vast majority of welfare spending is pensions, followed by various child benefits/credits.
    There is a pie chart breaking down public spending on Left FFoot Forward. and Channel 4 did a good job of explaining that on an average salary of £25,000, unemployment benefit costs only £57 as tax, whereas pensions is £800.
    All sickness and disability benefits come to £346. So all the usual welfare targets still add up to half of what it costs for pensions.

  13. Oh, if only we could have got a fraction of the media coverage and outrage expended on pensioners.

    Seems like being a little old lady (who may be perfectly healthy) is far more deserving of sympathy than people who spend their lives dealing with appalling illness and disabilities.


    Is it because even those in utter denial can forsee they may get old but can never see themselves as, potentially tomorrow, in a wheelchair or housebound while still young?

    1. Watch it! I'm a 'little old lady' (well - I'd rather go for 'shortish getting-on-a-bit woman') who's going to get hit by this cut. I've had Crohns for 45 years and only have enough income to pay tax now because my partner died of cancer while still in work and I inherited part of his occupational (public sector) pension.
      Plus, pensioners haven't been 'protected' from the cuts - cuts to NHS and social services disproportionately affect older people.
      Oh, and I've NEVER voted Tory. And NEVER will.

    2. The newspapers are just targetting one of their biggest demographics. Just as every other day they show show zero talent nobody of some reality show. They print what people will pay to read.

  14. Here's the key thing to remember : As you get older, you get more likely to vote Conservative. Every opinion poll since the dawn of time shows that a majority of over 60s will vote Tory. At the moment, they are the only age group saying that more will vote Conservative than Labour.

    So what happens to old people do they become senile do they become befuddled? do they lose their fucking minds? or does old age make you evil?

    Can you imagine granny who can hardly move, granny who quite often dodges bathing and stinks the place out because she can't move without her joints creaking, taking her broken down old body down to the voting station to vote Tory? Stupid old fool.

    I'm so glad that Gideon has penalised the selfish mean bastards who enable this stuff. I'm very glad they are going to feel the pain too, collaboraters should be shot, good. Maybe when the old fuckers sit there freezing in winter having to choose between heating and eating they can meditate on their decision to enable this gang of extremist social Darwinist treasonous demonic criminals.

    1. The Tories are only in government because of the LibDems don't forget.
      For 25 years the electorate have joked that they don't know what the Liberals stand for. WE DO NOW.

    2. Children are born with a sense of fairness (mostly as it applies to them!) and develop empathy. Fairness (or at least, the expectation of it) is beaten out of them in their twenties and thirties. Perhaps empathy drives resentment?

  15. he will give it back to oap's before nxt election to win vote of that im sure

  16. Whatever you think of Labour, and they made many mistakes, they never used the weapons of cuts, unemployment or high interest rates against less-well-off people.

  17. The facts are simple the government don't like the sick and disabled and they sure as hell don't like the elderly where so many die each year through neglect

    I'm sure you all new that fact and therefore the budget as like all previous budgets and fiscal policy's on low interest rates are all designed to kill off as many pensioners each year as possible

  18. Mum who was seriously ill but being cared for by me in her own surroundings took a turn for the worse and even with a blood transfusion at hospital I was called in and told to expect the worse and that she had days. She would when a room became available be moved to side room.

    No room became vacant and they needed the hospital bed(I have once again seen the NHS at work)not good when someone is seriously ill and possibly dying.

    Monday Mum was brighter and has transferred to a nursing home(thankfully a good one)with a good reputation. Much better than hospital and though if I don't visit there is a lot of time for her to be alone, there is stimulation and they have managed to get Mum out of bed and some food/drink into her.

    But I suspect time is precious and Mum knows her life is coming to an end. I hope we have still quite some time together but I know once I lose her, my life will be so different. Not just because I am alone but because of the changes in DLA, me maybe having to try and get PIP, ESA. will I be able to get housing benefit and/or have a roof over my head, where will they try to move me? I'll have to be more thrifty and not afford some items I can now. Paying for medicines. We're not rich but there is enough of Mum's savings to lose some benefits and when I eventually come down to the threshold where I may be entitled to help, it will have changed and I may never get it again. I have so much more to worry about and Mum should be my priority but I'll soon be finding out what life is like in 21st century UK.

    I keep hoping that it won't be as bad as I fear and people keep telling me not to worry but I think I have every reason to.

    1. I have been through the same think with my mother who was dying with cancer who had to make a choice of not eating to be able to stay in hospital otherwise they would have sent her home to die alone so i know first hand on how these things can pan out for some
      I wish you all well in the days ahead

  19. My very sincerest wishes to you and hope your mums last days are peaceful. For what it's worth you are not alone i went through the same fate with my mother before she passed away
    She could not stay in the hospital because she was dying with cancer so had to go into a hospice the trouble was thow they would only take her if she stopped eating in which she agreed and died 7 days afterwards

    Both the NHS and hospices can be very unpredictable when you need them and it's just down to luck at the end of the day the same with benefits as to how things pan out but for many and the majority it's bad news

  20. Thank you Fourbanks for your good all happened suddenly considering the way things had been going.

    It must be bad when they have not attacked Mum's meagre savings and they are not charging for Mum's care...

    I think our time is very limited and yet where there's life...they said if she improved(do I want to put Mum through this(would she survive)a colostomy but they say that would easier and better than where we've been. And the cancer in the meantime would still continue. No, I don't really see that as an option...

    I guess I better get ready and spend another precious day with least I can stay much loner inthe home than I was able in hospital.

    1. I just hope your mums last days are peaceful as my mothers were
      My mothers cancer was bowel cancer in which 20 years previously she had her bowel removed but so often with cancer you are never truly cured and it returned with a vengeance and killed her

      Her last days back in 2004 were peaceful and without eating she knew she wouldn't last long but the writing was on the wall then in that you are not wonted be it in the hospital or in what was at that time coincided a place of safety a hospice and that death was the only answer as 24 hour care would have been impossible to find

      The days ahead for many are bleak and chilling especially to those that live alone and I'm unsure as to what the answer is other then you are all very much in my thought and prayers when i am at the church on my own i have to be on my own as I'm to ill to attend with other people and being only a 5 minute walk away i get by

  21. I'll always wonder why they did not remove the tumour when it was as small as a pea at Christmas and they said it was a slow growing cancer so it looked as though she still had a decent amount of time ahead of her and the scan suggested it had not spread internally so there were more positives than negatives, they even thought it would stay a local problem. That they'd offer Radio Therapy again. Then it all changed approx 10 days ago.

    They say(but I don't know)she hangs onto the thought and smiles that if she manages to get strong again she may get home again and I think that we will still be offered care.

    They said if she managed to get strong enough but I don't know a colostomy which they say will be easier for everyone but I don't ever think she'll be strong enough for that and the cancer will still be growing down there. Do I want her to go through that if she could.

    I do wonder if I should press for another treatment of RT even though they suggest its not going to work.

    Thank you for your continued kind thoughts but I must try not to hijack this thread.

    I will for now spend as much of our precious time together however long that may be.

    I know I am not alone in this as you have experienced a similar scenario(many have)and many sadly will in the future.

    This sums up more then anything of why this country has gone to the dogs

  23. Did you see the glorious suggestion on twitter that the Independent's headline (Cut! Cut! Cut!) contained 3 spelling mistakes?

  24. I find it amazing, and more than a little depressing, that the cuts are clearly effecting the most vulnerable, and will only continue to get worse. The government is clearly doing a good job of duping much of the public into believing their rhetoric. The public must have a breaking point though, which once breached will cause them/us to stand up and fight against this attack on the poor and most vulnerable.