Tuesday, 5 September 2017

When did it become a radical leftist position to have concerns about in-work poverty?

One of the most shocking statistics about poverty in Tory Britain is that more than half of people suffering poverty in the UK actually live in working households.

One of the Tories favourite propaganda lines is that "work is the best route out of poverty", but what they never tell you is that after seven years of enforcing their hard-right economic agenda, it's now significantly harder for people to work their way out of poverty.

Not only have the Tories created the longest sustained decline in UK workers wages since records began (a wage collapse only matched in severity by Greece anywhere else in the developed world) they've also overseen an explosion in exploitative employment practices like Zero Hours Contracts, ruthlessly slashed in-work benefits like Tax Credits, and allowed virtually unregulated profiteers in the private rental market to gouge vast profits out of people by charging eye-watering rents.

All of these Tory policies combined have resulted in a shocking increase in in-work poverty to 7.4 million, which means that an astounding 55% of people living in poverty are from working households.

A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that the single biggest factor in this alarming increase in in-work poverty was living in expensive and insecure private rental properties.

Some Tory apologists might try to squirm out of responsibility for this situation, but the facts show that their hard-right economic policies are fully responsible.

Between 2010 and 2017 the Tory government oversaw the lowest level of new house building since the early 1920s and despite repeatedly pledging to cut immigration to below 100,000, the Tories actually oversaw the biggest migrant inflows in history, peaking at 336,000 in 2015.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with high migration if the government builds the housing and infrastructure necessary to sustain it, but if house building slumps to the lowest levels in over 90 years and the government continues implementing a fanatically right-wing policy of slashing local government budgets, public service cuts, and severe cutbacks in infrastructure spending, then increased demand for housing and services becomes highly problematic.

Additionally the Tories have also strongly resisted Labour efforts to ensure that private rental properties are fit for human habitation, and to clamp down on exploitative profiteers who have used the Tory housing crisis to charge extortionate rents.

The Tories and their propagandists in the mainstream press continually tell us that "work is the best route out of poverty", but they have spent the last seven years trashing our wages and working conditions, slashing in-work benefits for the lowest paid workers, and allowing prices in the private rental market to soar way out of control.

The solutions to the problem of in-work poverty are obvious: Increase the minimum wage, stop the Tory policy of cutting in-work benefits for the poorest working households, build more houses (especially council houses and affordable homes), reintroduce the Migrant Impact Fund that the Tories scrapped,
 and bring in new regulations (rent caps, fit for human habitation legislation) to prevent the exploitative excesses of the private rental sector.

Of course anyone who follows politics will know that all of the above are Labour Party policies under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, and that all of this stuff is strongly opposed by the Tory party who continually describe these kinds of poverty alleviation policies as being dangerous extreme-left radicalism.

The reason the Tories oppose these policies is obvious. They are, and always have been, on the side of the idle rentier class. They're on the side of exploitative buy-to-let slumlords who charge vast rents for outrageously poor housing, and they're on the side of unscrupulous employers who pay their workers so little that they end up living in dire poverty despite working full-time.

Labour's housing and employment policies have been designed to make sure more people who work can afford to pay their rent and bills, and provide for their families, but millions of people are gullible enough to believe the ludicrous Tory narrative that any efforts by the government to reduce their soaring rates of in-work poverty are dangerously radical left-wing fanaticism.

Unfortunately millions of people buy into the shockingly dishonest hard-right Tory rhetoric that the government has no responsibility to reduce in-work poverty, and that people who are poor despite having jobs are in that situation because of some moral deficiency of their own, not because the Tories have spent the last seven years actively restructuring society even more in favour of corporations, exploitative landlords, and the super-rich.

So these people trot off to the polls to actively endorse the party that has plunged huge numbers of working families into poverty over the last seven years because they've been duped into believing that any efforts to reverse this sustained Tory assault on workers, and especially the working poor, is dangerous extreme-left fanaticism.

What a country we live in that the fanatically right-wing Tory policy of grinding the working poor and private rental tenants into the floor is considered acceptable and vote-worthy, and people who suggest the moderate proposal that the government of the day should actually be working to ensure that "anyone who works for a living should have at least enough to cover their rent and bills and provide for their family" are considered by many to be raving extreme-left lunatics!

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