We hear London politicians regularly tell us that ‘we’re all in this together’; and that we must all share the burden of cuts. Even though we’re told that the economy is on the up the three London parties will persist with the Tories austerity measures – meaning more cuts to essential services.
But the cuts are hurting. Their not hurting the likes of David Cameron, or Ed Miliband. They live in a bubble surrounded by plutocrats and aristocrats. The cuts to them is nothing more than an excel spreadsheet exercise. But they’re hurting Wales. Furthermore their hurting the most vulnerable.
Last week I was speaking to 81year old pensioner Jean Davies from Trevor, Llangollen. Jean’s a charming, kind, and positive person who doesn’t like to complain or hassle anybody. But as we discussed the weather, and how things were, she said that because of her failing health she could no longer walk to the bus stop.She explained how she was dependent on the bus to get her shopping. Then she explained that she had recently undergone a minor surgery at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, and in order to get there and back she had to pay £20 for a taxi. She then explained that she had an appointment with her doctor in Cefn the following day which would cost her a further £6 for a taxi. She explained how excited she was to go to a party following the visit to the doctors at the community centre – which would cost her another taxi fee.
Jean is an elderly pensioner on limited income. Come the winter, Jean’s fuel bills will increase (they do every winter). Grocery prices are increasing. People are having to choose between heating or eating. If you also throw in hefty transport prices into the mix, then life becomes very, very difficult.
So the UK has a massive structural deficit, with huge interest on the State’s annual borrowing. Large corporations like Vodafone and Boots refuse to pay their taxes; and wealthy individuals place their wealth off-shore in order to avoid paying tax (Remember the Gary Barlow story?) . All the while we live in austere times and are facing cuts after cuts, brought about in large part because politicians in London took their eyes off the ball and let the banks,hedge-funds and other gamblers play carousel with our money… and lost,leaving a massive debt behind.
So who’s paying this debt back? The wealthy people who can afford it? No, Chancellor George Osborne has cut the top rate of income tax. It’s Jean, and people like Jean, that are having to shoulder the debts.