Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Not Waving But Drowning…

More signs of the writing on the wall – the way the deepening recession is affecting the earning classes:
In the current climate of fear and uncertainty, it’s little wonder that hopes are on hold and dreams deferred; planning ahead is a luxury few can afford when simply making it through to the next salary slip is as much as many people can manage.

Unlike the recessions of the early Eighties – when manufacturing and manual workers took a hammering – and the Nineties – when the white-collar sector was affected – top earners are among those being worst hit in the current downturn.
And as they are the ones bankrolling the rest of the country, god help us….
According to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics, architects, lawyers, tax advisers and commercial pilots are among the fastest-growing sectors for claims of jobseekers’ allowance. It’s a crushing comedown for those who have worked hard to establish high-flying careers and take pride in their self-sufficiency.

Just under a year ago, this newspaper highlighted how the middle-class, middle-income backbone of Britain was buckling beneath the burden of punitive taxation, high utility bills and council tax rises. With typical stoicism, professionals were quietly labouring away, paying the mortgage, putting teenagers through university and looking after elderly parents.
But stoicism only gets you so far.
We identified them as the Coping Class, and urged the Government to pay heed to their plight. Instead, the squeeze continued, and now, with the economy in freefall, the value of savings plunging with every interest-rate cut, and unemployment set to reach two million any day, and three million by next year, the Coping Class is no longer coping.
And that bodes ill for the three big parties at the polling booth.

This is the kind of situation where a ‘protest vote’ comes into play. We may have already seen that happen in Swanley last week…
“Everyone is suffering, but this is a particularly tough time for the middle class,” says Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

They’ve been taxed to the hilt, are weighed down by high mortgages, and although there’s been a reduction in food prices since last year, they’re still historically high.

“The coping classes are anxious about losing their jobs, and those that are in work are facing difficulties because employers may not be able to give them a pay rise this year. When they read about banks handing out bonuses and MPs claiming exorbitant expenses they’re quite rightly furious about the double standards at play.”
Will there be ‘poll tax’ type marches and riots? I can’t envision that, somehow, but then, I can’t see how the situation can remain so obviously broken without some kind of action.

Let’s wait and see…


Oldrightie said...

This Labour Government is shit.

Linda said...

Sorry for sounding unsympathetic but the jobless middle classes are hardly going to be living on skid row!

Sell some of your stuff, cut your food bills to the bone,stop eating out,etc, anyone with a little imagination can live on next to nothing.

Buy the book "How I Lived On a Pound A Day" for some inspiration -A pound is probably ten times as much as a family of five have to live on in India.

And for God's sake stop moaning!
Very few people in the UK know what real poverty is.

Hard times require some thinking outside of the box. So what if they have worked hard to establish a career.Is that supposed to give them some God given right to sympathy? They need to grow up the world doesn't owe them a living.

JuliaM said...

"...the jobless middle classes are hardly going to be living on skid row!"

Indeed, but the problem is, its the middle classes that pay the tax that supports the rest of the UK.

Start to decrease their numbers, and what happens?

"...the world doesn't owe them a living."

Nor does it owe the huge benefits-receicving underclass a living. Except that we've got to the stage now where it patently does. Check out Frank Field's recent comments on the youth he spoke to about their 'aspirations' for a job...

Frightening stuff!

Anonymous said...

If you are weighed down by a huge mortgage, that is your fault and no-one elses. No-one forced you to buy a four bedroom house you can't afford, or to re-mortgage your house to pay for a new kitchen/car/holiday.

The taxes bit and fuel/food costs - fair enough, that is this shitty government's fault. But your mortgage? I don't have a mortgage, huge or otherwise, because I couldn't afford one. If you couldn't also, and yet still got one, live with it and quit whining.