Monday, 7 April 2014

Enough’s Enough, Alex!

Alex Andreou (he’s from Greece and runs the Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company, so he’s eminently qualified to speak on this…) throws his teddy out of the pram:
A Guardian investigation has subsequently revealed that dozens of councils up and down the country are preparing to charge the poorest households in their area council tax. Or rather to withdraw the council tax benefit they used to receive – an odiously semantic distinction, which I am sure ministers will make many times in the months to come, just like they did with the bedroom tax.
Ah, that ‘tax’ that’s not a tax at all, Alex? Sorry, English is probably your second language, isn’t it…
These are demonstrably the poorest people in the country, excluding the homeless. There is no doubt about this. These households are means-tested and granted council tax benefit, explicitly because they cannot afford to pay it. An estimated 675,000 households will now simply have to find a way to magic an extra £127 a year, on top of the rest of the punishment they are receiving from cuts to services, travel fare rises, energy bill increases and stagnant wages.
A cut in benefits is a punishment? Why, it’s almost as if he believes they have some sort of right to the money…
The minister for local government, Brandon Lewis, said in a statement which has sucked every tired government cliche and soundbite: "Welfare reform is vital to tackle the budget deficit left by the last administration. Our reforms to localise council tax support now give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people into work. We are ending the last administration's 'something for nothing' culture and making work pay." All about why the government is doing something; nothing about how people at the receiving end are meant to cope.
And how are people at the paying end supposed to cope, Alex? Just keep on forking over the readies so that agoraphobics can travel round the world?
I have been commuting through Canary Wharf recently to get to rehearsal (in a much less glamorous part of the Isle of Dogs). It is a glass bubble of hubris, totally detached from the outside world (Ed: Sounds a lot like Guardian head office…). I spent half an hour wandering around there on Friday evening and almost forgot that the country is just beginning to come out of the deepest economic crisis in generations. There is no poverty. There is no homelessness. It is kept out by police checkpoints and private security. There isn't even a reduced-to-clear section in most supermarkets.
That place you are so dismissive of employs the people that work to provide the taxes to keep people like Tracey Johnson in holidays, Alex. Can you blame them for not wanting to be reminded of that?

12 comments:

Anonymouslemming said...

Police checkpoints to get into Canary Wharf? I've never seen one of those in the decade or so I've been going there. I call bullshit.

Anonymous said...

The problem with council tax benefit is that it is for all areas including those which are too expensive for the young.
So people who live in a cheap area are subsidising people in expensive areas which is obviously not right.

Anonymous said...

so does his theatre company survive on their ticket sales alone or are they reliant on state money? just another freeloader desperately avoiding having to get a real job.

Bucko The Moose said...

£127 a year? Oh bugger...

Not that I agree with paying council tax in any way, I agree less with paying other peoples.

Tatty said...

I guess people are perfectly happy to fight amongst themselves rather than demand to know where every penny is going in the first place.

That suits every councils just fine. As you were...

Robert the Biker said...

Lemming;
I can remember many years ago, 30 or more, having to pass a police checkpoint to get in to Canada Square; something to do with paddies blowing stuff up I believe!
For the rest, just more whining about the harshness of the world; here's a clue people, no one has a RIGHT to live in Chelsea.

MTG said...

Socialists will be troubled by the prospect of the undeserving making any contribution towards the champagne bill.

Greencoat said...

It's all Greek to me.

Sorry.

JuliaM said...

"I call bullshit."

CiF is great, you can claim the most outrageous things, and the commentariat never gainsay it!

"so does his theatre company survive on their ticket sales alone or are they reliant on state money? "

Heh! I'd be astonished if it was the former.

"...just more whining about the harshness of the world; here's a clue people, no one has a RIGHT to live in Chelsea."

Spot on!

Tom Mein said...

Being lectured by a Greek on financial matters is a bit of laugh.
Next he will be telling us about paying taxes

Anonymous said...

"CiF is great, you can claim the most outrageous things, and the commentariat never gainsay it!"

I think that comment might have been free at one time but nowadays the gainsayers have their comments deleted.

Stonyground

Anonymous said...

Is sturdy beggars still going? It doesn't seem to have any announcements of new productions