The cuts that will have to be made are so close to the bone that they can no longer support the working poor and they also will suffer at the hands of the Tory policy makers.
These include a couple called Steven and Jane, who have four children, two with disabilities caused by muscular dystrophy. Their sons’ conditions are life-limiting and Stephen gave up work to care for them while Jane works for local government.
They have born the brunt in cuts to local government with their sons’ respite being reduced as well as practical support. They were shattered when a benefit advisor worked out the cuts in tax credits would reduce their income by £2,400 a year.
Stephen said: “Due to the boys’ disability we need to have the heating on all the time and we top up the care hours we get. With a cut like this it will be impossible.”
Like thousands of others, they breathed a sigh of relief when the House of Lords voted against the government last week. They will not be receiving a letter from “Santa” Osbourne wishing them a merry tax credit cuts before Christmas. But come the Autumn review on 24 November, it is a certainty that tax credit cuts will be back on the agenda.
The cuts have only been delayed. Osbourne described the Lords’ move as “unconstitutional” and they will ensure it is packed with Tory peers ready to do their bidding. Next time the legislation will get through.
So far, the majority of cuts have been made against much more scapegoated groups, people with disabilities, those on benefit. There was also little outcry when cuts were made to child benefit and tax credit cuts for higher earners.
The only groups who they pledged to support were pensioners and “hard working families”. As we know, all families work hard, but now according to Tory logic, some work harder than others.
Their mantra of the bigger picture which was the subject of much gesturing at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, means we expect employers to pay higher wages as we move towards a low benefit society.
Dark days ahead for many of us. Osbourne the Tory Chancellor was surprised by the outcry about tax credits. They live in a bubble where his cold mathematics do not show the real affect of the cuts on real people.
So far he has managed to keep to his promise but he has nowhere left to make savings. Any future cuts will impact on those he vowed to protect.
If those in work will be better off than those on out of work benefits, heaven help those who are out of work.
I remember speaking to Anne, a poverty campaigner, a few years ago, and her telling me the plan of this government was to have everyone on £72 a week and I think she was right. Just enough for bread and water but not enough to live on.
Even the designer of Universal Credits Frank Field has called for at least a slowing down of the cuts or austerity light. The cuts will continue on a relentless scale.
Iain Duncan Smith even asked us to vote to get out of the EU so even further cuts to benefits could be made. Such a thought fills me with dread.
I believe we will need the human rights legislation of the EU as protection. The Tories will no longer be able to promise to protect the strivers and pensioners. Those who voted for them expecting themselves not to be impacted on, are waking up to the reality that the Tories lie.
They are never the party of the worker, just their friends and tax evaders who continue to make profits. Where is the “trickle down” economy we were promised? Welcome instead to the austerity ladder, where we are one step above those in low pay or unemployed. The richer move further up.
In ‘The Scottish Play’, Birnam Woods went on the march. I think the Tories will experience their ‘Scottish Play’ moment sooner rather than later.
The axe of cuts falling on the forest will mean there will be no hiding place and there will be many more protestors marching in revolt and speaking out against what is happening. I hope that we will always speak up for those who do not have a voice and warn others.
The next few years will be brutal and we need to be ready in a spirit of solidarity to those who have seen through the empty promises of the Tories. It is time to prepare to welcome those who need an alternative to austerity.