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Chris Edwards, 11 September 2012 1 The Austerity War and the impoverishment of disabled people.

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Presentation on theme: "Chris Edwards, 11 September 2012 1 The Austerity War and the impoverishment of disabled people."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chris Edwards, 11 September 2012 1 The Austerity War and the impoverishment of disabled people

2 The aim of these slides 2 To present in 10 slides and 10 minutes the effects of the Coalition Government’s Austerity Package on disabled people These slides are based on a report of 48 pages with 14 sections and 2 appendices – for the full report, see A four page summary and list of contents is available

3 The Austerity Package 2011-15 3 The cuts analysed in the report consist of cuts in cash benefits (£18bn), increases in taxes (especially VAT) (£3 bn) and cuts in benefits-in-kind (£48 bn) (government expenditure on local government services, education, health, transport, etc). These sum to £69 billion over the four years The government has announced further cuts for 2015-16 and 2016-17 totalling £25 billion No details of these further (post-2015) cuts have been announced, so my report analyses the cuts of £69 billion over the four years

4 The cuts in disability benefits 4 Details are given in my report, but the cuts in cash benefits will total £9 billion over the four years to 2014-15; roughly a third of the total On top of this, cuts are being made in support services especially through cuts in local government services People with impairments should be richer than those without impairments to prevent them being disabled, yet disabled people are poorer than non-disabled The cuts are increasing this relative poverty

5 Losses to households receiving disability benefits 5 Just under 3 million households receive disability benefits (just over a tenth of all households in the UK) The loss to these households over the four years will be 10% of their income The loss to the poorest 500,000 of households receiving disability benefits will be 18%; this is four and a half times the 4% loss for the richest fifth of households When Cameron/Osborne say that “we are all in this together” they are talking nonsense

6 The double failure of the Austerity Package 6 It is bad enough that disabled people are suffering most from the cuts.. … but the Austerity Package is not even achieving its objective, namely to reduce the budget deficit The coalition’s deficit reduction targets are hopelessly off target and likely to remain so…. …. net borrowing for 2011/12 to 2014/15 was forecast in June 2010 as £302 bn; then in November 2011 it was forecast as £426 bn; and …. … public borrowing in May, June and July 2012 was higher than in the same months of 2011.

7 This is the Madness of King and George 7 This is a time when government expenditure should be increased since….. ….personal consumption, private investment and exports are stagnating. Instead (as we have seen) government expenditure on goods and services is being cut

8 The cuts are counter-productive 8 Just two examples; 1. An estimated 25,000 people will have to give up work when they lose DLA; if so, the Treasury will £90 million from the cut but it will lose £147 million in lost taxes (Guardian 24 August 2012); 2. The short-term cuts on support services will probably mean more expenditure on health (especially for the old) over the medium and long term.

9 Is there an alternative? 9 Yes there is The solution is to tax the rich and for the government to reverse the cuts in government expenditure This alternative would both reduce the deficit and generate economic growth It would generate growth because demand would be greater At the margin, the consumption (in the UK) of the rich is small and the higher government expenditure would generate growth.

10 Why is the solution not being adopted? 10 Because … the Coalition Government is a rich man’s government in two senses…. 1. In 2010, 23 of the 29 members of the government were millionaires 2. This government is serving the short-term interests of the very rich. This is a limited democracy since most of the measures being taken were not in the manifesto of the Conservative Party - we need to force a U-turn and/or force them out

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