Messers Olsson and Hammond are quite right to point out how remote the
Government is from ordinary people's problems. The Tory-led coalition
boasts about the economic recovery and how many jobs have been created
but completely fails to acknowledge how hard life is for most people.
Inflation is up but pay rates are static. Insecure zero hours contracts
are more and more common. Unemployment, especially for young people, is
high; who can blame them for moving away from the South West for more
Money is tight but the Government is throwing away cash on ridiculous
schemes. The marriage tax allowance will cost £600 million but will
hardly benefit those who get it (about £4 per week) and discriminates
against everyone who isn't married. The Help to Buy scheme subsidises
mortgages up to £600,000, driving up house prices even more – wouldn't
it be better just to allow councils to build more social housing?
This week two events show how inept and out-of-touch the government is.
First the Royal Mail, a successful and profitable company, is sold off
on the cheap. A few hours later, the energy company SSE inceases its
prices by 8%. No doubt the other energy companies will join in on the
eye-watering round of price hikes. Where will this all end? We can't
keep paying an extra 8% per year when our pay is going up by 1%. This
is especially galling when you remember that the energy companies make
large profits, are mainly foreign owned and pay almost no corporation
Labour are determined to do something about the cost of living crisis,
and energy prices in particular, but the governing parties, the Lib Dems
and Conservatives, have completely lost sight of how most of us live.
Regards, Pam and Toby Ebert
A UN inspector recently visited the UK to look at the state of housing in this country. She was shocked at what she found. Considering that we live in the sixth richest country in the world it is amazing that we
can't properly house our people.
The inspector found that the single worst policy affecting housing was the bedroom tax, where people on housing benefit deemed to have 'spare' rooms have some of their housing benefit taken away. The government wants these people to move to smaller homes so that some housing benefit
can be saved. In fact, this policy is causing more problems than it is solving.
Government sources admit that most of the people affected by the bedroom tax can't move to a smaller house or flat. This may be because there is nothing smaller in the area where they live, work and school
their children. Or, if they are disabled, their existing home may have been specially adapted to cater for their needs.
It is worth noting that one third of the people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled. Surely it is incredible that the UK cannot afford to look after disabled people in their own homes.
The UN inspector recommended that the bedroom tax should be scrapped at once, and, in the longer term, more social housing built and private rents should be controlled. Very sensible too. The Labour Party has
committed itself to doing the first two of these things.
Thousands of people are being asked to uproot themselves from their communities, from their jobs, their childrens' schools/colleges. There have been tragic cases reported in the national press of people evicted
from their homes because they couldn't afford the bedroom tax: a diabetic who used the spare room for his dialysis equipment; a couple whose son, serving in the forces, had been killed in action; a couple
whose child had died.
The government is making the poorest people in society, the disabled and those on housing benefit, pay for the mistakes and greed of the richest, including the bankers who caused the financial crisis.
Welcome to the world of compassionate Conservatives (Geoffrey Cox MP) and caring Lib Dems (Nick Harvey MP).
Regards, Toby and Pam Ebert
This page is where North Devon members can post their views, copies of letters to the local papers or any thoughts they may have. Feel free to respond and enter into the debate