I am always very suspicious when two apparently disparate stories emerge from Government, from two separate departments, yet both relate to benefits and welfare, in further cuts proposed and what appears to be Government propaganda being published in Personal Annual Tax Summaries.
This information, which will be printed on Personal Tax Summaries, to be sent out this November to 24 Million people, will list or possibly show in a pie chart, how the tax that one pays is divided up in Government spending: It will show
“• your taxable income including any taxable benefits or pensions
• the tax rates used to calculate your tax
• how much tax and National Insurance you’ve paid or will pay
• how your tax and National Insurance contributions are spent
• how much National Insurance your employer has paid on your behalf”
This story appeared just about everywhere yesterday, but with a different take on what this Annual Tax Summary means.
Rowena Mason in the Observer/Guardian writes :
“However, the breakdown does not make clear that most of the welfare budget goes to pensioners, and sick and disabled people. The Treasury originally planned to show just 3% went towards unemployment benefits while much larger amounts went to children and families, elderly people and those unable to work. A Treasury spokesman said this 2012 version had just been a prototype and after research it was decided to simplify the summaries. A more detailed breakdown was available on the government’s website”.
However this blanket reference on the Personal Annual Tax Summary to “Welfare Spending” of 25% once again could be seen to be painting a picture which suggests to the taxpayer that fraudsters & cheats are stealing money out of the hard-working tax–payers pocket to fund their allegedly shiftless or shady lifestyles.
As the statement will not actually break down the figures into the various types of ‘welfare’, then the disabled, sick and poor, who should be the ones to be helped in any compassionate society, by a safety net of welfare to stop them falling into poverty , will be demonised yet again in this allegedly “neutral” Government information leaflet.
This story appeared on the BBC last week, and is about an “allegedly leaked” email which details more cuts in Welfare where disparity between ESA and Jobseekers allowance is shown, and the proposal is to cut the ESA by £30 per week.
I have no doubt that some very powerful usage of official media, costing £5 million in itself, and deliberate official “leafleting” of the taxpayer is quite intentional in its further demonisation of those who receive Welfare of some kind in order to soften up the public and “inform” them in a sly suggestion that the disabled are like pickpockets and taking cash from the hip –pockets of workers.
This, to me at least, looks like simple “dog –whistle” politics to those who resent in any way giving tax or money to fund the Welfare State or the NHS. It also seems to play to the same people who resent migrant workers, and illegal asylum seekers.
There is an old statement -whose source is disputed – that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
It looks like the Government seem to be engaging in all three to the further detriment of those who need help the most.