Cross posted at Rage Against the Coalition
I'm angry a lot these days. Or more accurately, I vacillate between anger and despair.
The coalition are making a big noise about welfare 'scroungers'. The thieves are costing the taxpayers billions they say. Headlines about 'scrounger' scream at us from atop the Daily Mail almost every day.They want to make claiming harder to weed out those who are undeserving.
Benefit fraud costs £1.5 billion. Tax fraud costs £15 billion.
So why aren't they targeting the tax cheats? They are costing us more. Yet the government is making hundreds of HMRC staff redundant. They should be taking on more and training them properly.
The Atos system used to 'weed out' the cheats is not fit for purpose. This has been demonstrated time and time again. It finds huge amounts of people fit for work, yet 70% of those who appeal have the decision overturned. This is an enormous waste of money. And it hurts those it's supposed to help. Not to mention the staff aren't trained and they earn more for each person they find fit for work.
They are abolishing Disability Living Allowance. Sure, they're replacing it with the personal Independent Payment but this is nothing but an excuse to chop the amount of people eligible for it. DLA fraud is estimated at less than 1% of the total. Everyone else is legally entitled to it. But they have said we're 'unsustainable'. Do they have any idea how insulting it is to be told that?
They are privatising our NHS, all in the name of 'patient choice'. Apparently GP's are the most trusted people in the medical profession. Aside from the fact that I know several GP's who are terrible and made me feel like I was wasting their time, if they want GP's and patients to have more say why don't they put some of them on the boards of the PCT's, instead of spending £3 billion on abolishing them?
And for that matter, if GPs are the most trusted people in the medical system why doesn't the government allow them to decide if people are fit for work? When it comes to benefits, GPs aren't trusted. The government instead chooses to spend over £500 million on employing Atos, whose track record for mistakes is appalling, resulting in even more money being spent on re-assessments and appeals.
But worse, they are opening the market to private healthcare providers. We all know this is nothing more than paving the way for privatisation. I'm still blinking in disbelief at this. Healthcare should never be linked to profit, it's a basic human right. These reforms will end up with us having a system like America's. And no-one in their right mind can say that works well.
They have raised uni tuition fees to the point where many students will be put off going. Who wants to saddle themselves with £30k of debt before they've even bought a book or paid their rent? Nick Clegg would have us believe that a large number of students will end up paying nothing back. If this is the case then that's their argument for fee raising to pay off the deficit gone out the window.
Of course many of those poor kids won't be attending uni anyway since EMA, the money that enabled them to go to college or stay in the sixth form, has been abolished. A cost saving exercise that hits the poorest children without affecting the richer ones.
Kids who are determined to go to college despite no EMA can turn to the library to borrow their books. But wait, they want to close libraries. Again another cut that will affect the poor much more than the rich. One that will hit the young harder.
Tories apparently value traditions - unless there's money to be made it seems. Why else would they be in favour of selling off the nations forests? Forests that have belonged to the nation since the 1500's? They say they will favour charities or community groups but these organisations as a rule do not have the funds to buy them. They'll end up in private hands or worse, go to the timber companies.
It's like an attack on all fronts. How are we supposed to deal with all of this? And how can we not be angry about it?