The Tories want to shrink the state, if not dispose of all state provision completely and (so called) privatise it. The problem, just one of many, is that we’re still paying for it all.
The burning question is, where is all our, tax payers, money in all the cuts, caps, sell offs, sanctions, sell outs and wholesale destruction of so much that we, the people, have paid for and no longer see any return for and yet still pay into the exchequer?
Here’s a list of stuff that we’ve had stolen, it is not exhaustive, but the sums of money involved are vast:
Student fees, nurses bursaries, now loans and on which interest is charged. The Educational Maintenance Allowance, scrapped in England.
The sell off of national assets, which raised £26.4bn in 2015 alone and still short changed the public by offering sweetheart deals to the vultures.
The scrapping of the Independent Living Fund, cuts to motorbility, sanctions, rent caps and so on.
Cuts to front line services staff and infrastructure (fire engines and stations, Police, air sea rescue etc).
Upping the pension age so that workers pay more, work longer and receive less and miners pensions which successive governments have robbed 50% of since the 1990’s, penalising taxpayers and National Insurance payers of their own money, to the grave.
Our NHS is in a league all of its own, beloved and paid by us, denied countless billions driving it into what the British Red Cross rightly calls a humanitarian crisis, whilst Theresa May denies this and blames it on the elderly. That’ll explain hospital closures then and the loss of 5.5 million bed places a year due to cuts.
Stagnant capital expenditure, especially housing. Even the Telegraph acknowledges the housing crisis is the worst for 20 years.
Caps and cuts to pay and services too numerous to mention.
It’s worth adding a few of the tax scroungers in support of whom we are treated as a cash cow – corporation tax cuts, tax avoidance and evasion and, of course, the bankers bail out. Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) estimated payback by us in interest charges, £301 billion on investments of some £54 billion. Oh, and Parliament’s drinks bill, courtesy of us, has tripled in two years – to £1.8 million.
But the big question remains. Where are all the hundreds of billions of pounds that have been and continue to be stolen from us?
They say there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, true perhaps, we know they happen, but who knows anything more than that? In both cases it’s like staring into the great unknown, a complete void. I have nothing to say about the mysteries of death and whether there is something that comes after. But we, mostly, take for granted that we are skinned alive for taxes all our lives and we know the Tories are fantastically good at taking and giving nothing back but grief, but where in the name of George Osborne’s coked up nasal passages has all our money gone?
I have no beef with taxation per se. It is a reasonable way, in theory anyway, of financing those things which are of universal benefit to the nation, yet that is precisely what the Tories are unravelling and destroying. With something like the NHS, it should be possible to strike the best deals with industry to supply its needs across the board. In reality private companies are ripping us off to the tune of billions of pounds a year, staffing agencies, management consultants for whom the imposition of austerity became a cash cow, and above all, pharmaceutical companies dictating prices to the NHS. Last year Pfizer was fined a record £84.2 million for overcharging, in one instance the price of an anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%.
This is the myth of the free market economy, so beloved of Theresa May, and, of course, corporations which spend huge sums lobbying and bribing their way to keep themselves free of regulation. In 2014 the Mirror published a list of 70 Tory MPs (who we also pay for) with interests in health care which included Jeremy Hunt who received ‘£32,920 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms’.
Were there any transparency in government we might have some idea of the degree to which we are being ripped off by people (including MPs) and companies who see us as a cash cow for their benefit and profit. Well in excess of 50% of each of our incomes is taken in various forms of taxation, including VAT, fuel duty and national insurance contributions. One estimate is that for every £100 we receive, only £35.12 is available to us for actual living, the rest is siphoned off into the exchequer for services that we are increasingly being denied.
There is a scandal here of epic proportions waiting to happen. Will it? Not so long as people blame the poor, immigrants, elderly and disabled people, and so on, who are all routinely blamed for the state of the economy. Ordinary people are incapable of the degrees of systemic corruption that bedevil our lives, in fact the system ensures that we are not. But who protects us from the system and will we ever have any way to plumb the depths of corruption that we pay for or hold it to account?
KOG. 10 February 2017