Work Tax Credit
Sound good? Tax credits for poor people, right? Nope. Work Tax Credit is counted as “income” when calculating your Housing Benefit. So you actually get nothing. If you work less than 16 hours a week you won’t be entitled to Work Tax credit but that’s not so bad because you’ll actually pay the same amount of rent.
Did I say you get nothing? That was wrong. If you don’t need Housing Benefit then you get to keep the Work Tax Credit.
If you rent a property then the Housing Benefit goes to your landlord. But if you’ve got a mortgage then the Housing Benefit drops into your pocket. This is clearly unfair as it’s helping the more affluent or less poor get more affluent. But the poorest don’t get a penny.
Child Tax Credit
This is also counted as income while calculating Housing Benefit, as was Child Benefit. So the poorest don’t receive anything while those who own their own houses take it all.
The cuts/NHS/tuition fees
Pretty self explanatory. Those with lots of money needn’t worry about tuition fees. If you can afford private healthcare then the NHS isn’t really important to you. If you have lots of resources, time and the educational background to invest in your kids’ education, cuts to public services won’t really affect you.
The bedroom tax
Again, an obvious one. Only those who don’t own their own properties are targeted while those who own their properties could have ten spare rooms and not pay a penny in tax – even though it’d be much easier for them to afford the tax. It is common tax policy in most countries to tax proportionally accotrding to earnings, which was why the Thatcher Poll Tax recieved widespread opposition. The bedroom tax is worse than the Poll Tax because it only targets the poor.
Affluent people and their family, boyfriends/girlfriends and close friends won’t ever step into a Jobcentre. They can be as shiftless as they want. But the less fortunate have to be subjected to constant surveillance, forced travel and attendance to the Jobcentre and various companies and workfares. Worst of all (in my experience) is the constant harassment and erosion of self esteem and confidence. It’s this last thing which has led me to include the Jobcentre in this list. Because writing great CVs and covering letters – not to mention performing well in interviews- is heavily dependent on self esteem and confidence. The Jobcentre, A4e, Ingeus, Atos, Working Links and the rest are making the poor poorer by (unintentionally) making them do badly in interviews and keeping them out of work for longer.