Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Now that the war in Iraq is all over bar the looting (Don’t you mean shooting…er shouting? Ed.), the domestic news has finally broken out across the newspaper headlines, lead by yet another New Labout blunder, this time of staggering proportions. Hopefully St Stony of Bleugghh has been dragged screaming and kicking back to political reality with the newly revealed tax credits fiasco.

Let me explain for those of you who have never suffered New Labour’s fancy, short-sighted and ill considered policies which blight every aspect of UK existence. The way we pay income tax (the tax workers pay through their salaries) has been “improved”. Families with children, whose annual income falls within the permitted nett amount , are entitled to tax credits which, theoretically, puts money into people’s pockets rather than the coffers of the exchequer (yeah, right!). So, a huge bureaucracy has sprung up to take cash from the breadwinner’s pay packet in order to pay it directly into the wife’s bank account (which is usually a JOINT bank account). This scam is designed to ensure that tax benefit is directly accessible to the wife and kids and not to the till of the local publican while adding to the spiralling costs of public sector spending.

What this means is, reduced salaries (sans the previous tax relief) are (most likely) paid into the same bank account as the tax credits. Where the sole breadwinner is a single working mother, her salary is also reduced to protect her from blowing the lot on a night out with the girls. With Tax credits paid separately she should be a bit better off each week right? Wrong!!

Our beloved Treasurer, Gordon Brown, in order to supplement his profligate and disastrous spending, has also increased National Insurance (NI) (to fund Social Security benefits, pensions, the National Health Service, the spiralling costs of public sector spending etc). The NI increase has just come into force alongside the Tax Credits system. The part of the system that claws in the dosh is working well (no surprise there!!). However, the bit that is supposed to give it back has collapsed, leaving vulnerable people in a bit of a sticky financial bind. Only a fraction of claimants can expect to be paid on time and over half a million claims have mysteriously vanished from the system which means all those poor sods will have to fill in the tortuously large claims forms before they can receive the money the government has snatched off them. I’m rather hoping that I do not fall into this category but I have no way of knowing because, since I received a fresh set of claim forms last week, I have been unable to get through to the tax office on the ‘phone to ask why they want me to claim again (I’m trying to be optimistic here).

This farce is typical of New Labour. They have never heard of that old adage “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Well this time the bastards have fixed us good and proper (again!!).

I think it’s about time we fixed them good and proper too!

Labour came to power using the slogan (and the song) “Things can only get better!”

I believe we have grounds to sue under the Trade Descriptions Act (If they haven’t repealed it already).