“The Deficit was caused by Labour’s runaway public spending and failure to deal with a ‘something for nothing’ culture”
Throughout this time, public spending has stayed roughly the same, rising to 44% of GDP under the Coalition government.
The deficit and the increase in national debt are the results of the Bank Bailout and Austerity (which has choked off economic growth).
“Our benefit reforms reward hardworking people”
The government has been caught making wildly inaccurate claims about the efficacy of its benefit reforms to contribute to a myth that benefits are soaring because of idleness. The DWP’s own figures put benefit fraud at just 0.7%, less than the state loses in administrative error each year.
Long term youth unemployment has more than doubled under the Coalition. The number of 16-24 year olds claiming welfare for more than a year without a job has risen from 28,000 in 2010, to 60,800 by June 2012 and continues to rise. Youth employment has risen to almost one million.
The largest increase in benefit claims is now coming from those in work. Working people are facing the dual pain of wages falling to their lowest level in ten years, while the cost of living has risen 33% in the last five years. As a result, the three most expensive benefit payments in the UK are Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Child Benefit, totalling £56.4bn a year. These are not ‘out of work’ benefits. Therefore 65% of the total spent on working age benefits, is going to people in work.
What working people need is a living wage, a wage which meets the true cost of living. The government’s response is to equalise suffering by arbitrarily suppressing social security below subsistence levels too.
“We’ve become a soft touch on Immigration”
According to the DWPs own figures, despite being 9% of the UK population, immigrants make up just 6.4% of the 5.5 million people claiming working age benefits in the UK. Therefore the immigrant community is under represented in the field of benefit claims.
The conversation about immigration should be about challenging factually inaccurate views based on misinformation and prejudice. It should not be about validating those views in order to sell papers or solicit votes.
“If we don’t keep up Austerity, we will end up like Greece and Cyprus”
The countries which have adopted Austerity Programmes have seen their economies eviscerated. It is the act of Austerity itself which creates the human misery now associated with these countries. A quick comparison between Greece (adopted Austerity measures) and Iceland (rejected Austerity measures) demonstrates this point.
Greece accepted an £88bn loan from the IMF and the European Central Bank (and the Austerity measures attached) in order to bail out its banks and stay in the Euro.
The economy of Greece has shrunk every year for five years and the Austerity Programme has turned a financial crisis into a humanitarian crisis.
11% of the population now live in ‘Extreme Material Deprivation’ without enough food, heating, electricity or a telephone
This level of poverty has enabled a resurgent fascism. The Far Right Golden Dawn party now has 18 of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament. Immigrants are being routinely assaulted and killed in racially motivated attacks. Just days ago, a group of 200 immigrant workers protesting six months of unpaid wages were fired upon by their bosses. The assault left twenty eight with gunshot wounds and it was a miracle that no one lost their life.
Iceland refused to use tax payer cash to honour debts run up by the private sector, jailed the bankers responsible, kicked out the Prime Minister and put him on trial for his part in the crisis, and invited its citizens to write a new constitution.
Iceland’s economy has enjoyed seven straight quarters of growth averaging 2.5% a year
Pensioners receive back around 96.5% of their average net income as pension.
Icelandic society is peaceful and free of social strife.
There is an alternative to Austerity, and it has proved far more successful. There is no case in history where Austerity caused growth in a time of economic crisis.
Don’t Buy Into the Lies
There is little more depressing than hearing ordinarily smart, compassionate people spouting these four lies as if they were common knowledge. These lies are presented as fact, but the mildest interrogation exposes them as pure nonsense. These are the fairy tales repeated over and over to lull a population to sleep, when it so badly needs to wake up. So do your bit, share with your friends, challenge these assumptions and bring some common sense into a public discourse which so badly needs it.