Saturday 7 November 2015

Saturday, November 07, 2015 Posted by Jake 2 comments Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Saturday, November 07, 2015 with 2 comments | Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poverty is a matter of definition. Which means two of the ways of reducing poverty are:

1) Increase poor people's incomes

2) Change the definition of poverty 

The Tories were quick to notice that one of these poverty alleviation strategies is easier, quicker, and cheaper than the other. And were quick to start fiddling around with definitions.

In 2013 the UK government changed the definition of 'fuel poverty'. According to the CarbonBrief blog, that comments on Climate and Energy Policy:
"The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has changed the way it defines fuel poverty - seemingly lifting two million households out of it in the process. "

In 2015 Iain Duncan Smith confirmed plans to redefine Child Poverty. His ministry stated:
"The current child poverty measure – defined as 60% of median income – is considered to be deeply flawed and a poor test of whether children’s lives are genuinely improving.....The government will bring forward legislation to correct that with new measures focused on levels of work within a family and improvements in education attainment"

It's not just Poverty. Disability is another matter of definition. In 2013 the Tories 'cured' thousands of disabled people by redefining 'disabled'. Before you could claim certain disability benefits if you could not walk more than 50 metres. This was reduced to 20 metres, at the stroke of a pen converting all those medium distance 21-49 metre walkers from disabled to abled.

It's not just Poverty and Disability. In 2015 George Osborne put everyone, sort of, onto a 'living wage' by redefining the 'minimum wage' to the 'national living wage'. A wheeze that got IDS jumping for joy, if not those on minimum "national living" wages.

And it's not just Poverty, Disability, and Living Wages. You may have though 'Higher' and 'Lower' are pretty unambiguous. But in Conservative Britain you would be wrong. When the Tories boast about creating a "Low Tax, High Pay" economy, it escapes enough people for the Tories to win an election that low tax has meant higher tax, and high pay has meant lower pay. The Tories appear to have redefined "Higher" to mean "Lower", and "Lower" to mean "Higher":

a) "Low Tax" has meant taxes have actually been Higher each year since the Tories took Downing Street in 2010 (according to Adam Smith Institute figures). The Tories have not been cutting taxes, they have been hiding them. When announcing Tax Freedom Day (the number of days earnings it takes you to pay all your taxes) for 2015 the Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Eamonn Butler, said :
"The Treasury hates Tax Freedom Day, because they don’t want us to know how much tax we really pay. They prefer to conceal the tax burden through stealth taxes and indirect taxes that we don’t even realise we’re paying."

b) "High Pay" means the average pay of working people is still Lower than seven years ago, at the 2007/08 banker bust (from Office for National Statistics figures):

You can't really blame the Tories for taking the opportunity to pull the wool over voters eyes if voters are so easy to befuddle.

Actually, you can.


  1. Bloody atrocious. I pray the Tories reap what they're sowing.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Share This

Follow Us

  • Subscribe via Email

Search Us