Millions of workers made the grim trek back to work today after the long
Xmas break. Millions more will be making the even grimmer trek to the
dole office over the next few months as the Coalition cuts start to
become a reality. Two things are with us already – the increase in VAT
and the increase in public transport fares.
Millions of workers made the grim trek back to work today after the long Xmas break. Millions more will be making the even grimmer trek to the dole office over the next few months as the Coalition cuts start to become a reality. Two things are with us already – the increase in VAT and the increase in public transport fares.
From today, 4th Jan, Value Added Tax (VAT) will have increased from 17.5% to a new high of 20%. This represents a doubling of this tax since the 1970s when it stood at just 10%. For a party which goes on about wanting to cut taxes, the Tories have been more than a little keen to increase VAT over the years. The reason is simple – it is a tax which hits the poorest hardest. When the Tories talk about tax cuts they mean cuts for the rich. Cameron was telling the truth for once when he said about VAT: " It hits the poorest the hardest. It does, I absolutely promise you." – but he was Leader of the Opposition at the time he said this! We should also remember that cutting benefits also represents a defacto tax increase in that instead of taking money from the most needy, they just hold on to more. These measures are on the way also.
Another way of taking more money off us is to raise public transport fares. Again we have been hit today with above-inflation fare increases. Bus fares in London, using the Oyster Card, have now risen to £1.30 a trip – an increase of 44% since Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson came to office just over 2 years ago. Other tube fares have risen today by as much as 25%. Rail fares have also shot up by between 6% and 13%. We are told that the extra money raised by this is "needed" but the reality is that the "need" is that of making up for the reduction in subsidies from the government without undermining the profits being paid out to shareholders.
It is estimated (according to the Evening Standard) that this double-whammy of VAT and fare rises will hit families in the commuter belt of outer-London by a staggering £1,000.
This government is set on hitting the working class again and again to reduce the deficit to placate the international money men. We need to fightback and hit this government again and again with the full might of the labour and trade union movement. The government asks what should be done if VAT etc is not to rise? We say nationalise the monoplies, banks and finance houses and grab the gigantic sums of cash being hoarded and use this to set about improving the lot of working people rather than bribing the very people who helped cause this crisis in the first place. Of course, we know this government of millionaires will not do this so we need to boot them out and have instead a labour government but this time committed not to Blairite fawning to big business but to a clear socialist programme.