Saturday, 24 March 2012

The 'Granny Tax' and the death of the 'Big Society'

Following on from Osborne's budget, we are now starting to see who he has actually taken most of the money off (and handed it to the rich) ... and it turns out to be the elderly!!

He has subtly introduced a "Granny Tax", by freezing personal allowances for the elderly ... as their personal allowance will no longer increase in line with inflation, which means more of their already meagre pensions will be subjected to tax.

If you steal £100 from a lone pensioner then you are called an immoral, cowardly criminal ... but if you take £100's from millions of pensioners it's called Government policy!

This Government, along with their 'friends' in the City, have already been fleecing the elderly every year, through £10bn's in lost interest that they would have otherwise received from their savings.

Osborne clearly thought this could be sneaked through without anyone noticing ... but by leaking everything before the budget, attention has naturally focused on those areas he didn't (e.g. this)!

And the consequences could be huge ... previous Government's have always been particularly careful not to upset the elderly, as they are one of the few groups of people who like to exercise their right to vote! Cameron is clearly reeling, and has tried desperately to deflect attention away from this (e.g. by saying he wants to bring in a minimum pricing for alcohol - which looks like he cannot legally do)!

Watch out for announcements on how they will try to limit the damage of Osborne's actions in the future ... as being seen as a party who 'robs a granny' to 'reward the rich' will come to haunt them (just like the NHS reforms will) ...

On a separate level, David Cameron and the Conservatives have been repeatedly 'spinning' the idea of the 'Big Society' (building upon charities and more people volunteering), to fill all the gaps created by their 'slash and burn' policy for public services.

The flaws in this idea are both numerous and clear (e.g. massive cutbacks to the budgets given to local councils mean they can no longer support local charities in the ways that they have in the past), and many of its initial high-profile backers have resigned because of the hypocrisy.

And in the budget the Government hammered yet another nail into their 'Big Society' coffin. The Government have now slashed tax relief on charitable giving, restricting it to £50,000. This will dramatically reduce charitable giving; cutting off yet another vital source of income for charities. Charities are not surprisingly up in arms about this ... but will their voices be heard? This Government hasn't listened to anyone to date (e.g. the ignored all the healthcare professionals about their NHS reforms) ... so why do charities think they will listen to them?!