28_april_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,072

Tuesday 28 April 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Trickle down economics is a remarkable idea suggesting that if wealth is allowed to flow to and accumulate at the top it will trickle down to the bottom. Hmmm. Given that the richest 1,000 families now control a total of £547bn, rising by more than 112% from £258bn since 2009 and who own more than poorest 40% of British households, isn’t it time that this myth was consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs?

I wonder if it is any solace to the 13 million people in the UK living in poverty to know that the stinking rich have become more than doubly stinking rich during this time of austerity as it may mean a crumb or two might just trickle down? If a crumb ever does, it will be more in the shape of a careless accident than by any purpose or design.

London now has 80 billionaires, up from 72 last year, which is more than any other city in the world. Clearly austerity is a remarkably polarised phenomenon, producing super abundance at the top and grinding poverty at the bottom. Not only so but the people who are forced to pay for austerity are those very same people at the bottom, the ones most affected by it and least able to pay.

There is another fundamental difference between rich and poor and that’s the financial incentives you offer them, which means giving ever more to the rich and penalising and robbing the poor of even the little they have to survive on. Mark Harper describes the punitive ‘motivation’ offered to the poor rather well, “The essence of Universal Credit is to remove the barriers to work and earning more by providing the stronger financial incentives to encourage people to work”. Clearly, the stronger financial incentives of sanctioning people, robbing them of the means of survival, removes the barriers to work in the Tory mind. The poor, however, are just suffering and dying.

Inequality isn’t just about wealth, though the UK is the only G7 country to record rising wealth inequality between 2000 – 2014, the most terrifying inequality is the casual use, abuse and sacrifice of the lives of the poor as a solution to austerity whilst giving tax breaks and benefits to the rich, for whom wealth has increased astronomically. The last five years will be only a foretaste of what is in store for the poor if you get another term in office. We cannot afford another five years of Tories and I am not by any means talking just about money.