Friday, 1 March 2013


At the end of the day it comes down to a question of priorities, two different issues bankers bonuses and the bedroom tax may well clearly define this Conservative dominated coalition government, and show that its priorities are at odds with those of most ordinary voters. David Cameron and Boris Johnson defence of pretty indefensible bankers bonuses and their strident criticism of European Union attempts to curb them is all too typical of a Westminster based political party that still reveres the City.

DC on a sticky wicket after the Eastleigh By-election?
This is not I suspect simply a Conservative position and that  this defence of bankers bonuses would also probably be made by the Labour Party if it was in power.  The EU has brought in a reasonable cap on bankers bonuses, seeking to limit them to no more than a year's basic pay, with an option for shareholders to agree to double it. I suspect that many voters along with many economists blame excessive bonuses in the financial sector for encouraging the risky irresponsible behaviour that brought on the 2008 financial crisis.

Top bankers and financial traders earned bonuses multiple times their base salaries, generating public anger over bonuses especially following the huge publically funded bail-outs of banks. Dave and Boris’s defence of the bankers and the Labour Party’s relative silence on the issue may, in my option have more to do with future job prospects for former Westminster politicians than it does with any heartfelt ideological love of the free market.

The other issue that will help define this Con Dem Coalition Government is its desire to bring in the "bedroom tax” (or housing under-occupancy penalty) which will hit on some of the society’s  most vulnerable people - including pensioners, people will disabilities, separated families and families of service personnel. The Con Dems are seeking to penalise those who are in receipt of housing benefit while having one or more spare bedrooms in their houses. Even the Department for Work and Pensions' figures show that 63% of the 660,000 claimants affected by the bedroom tax or their partners are disabled.

Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens (and even the Labour Party in Westminster) have put pressure on the Con Dem Government to think again. The bed room tax is an ideologically driven exercise to save money at the expense of some of vulnerable people – potentially it could force around 400,000 disabled people and their partners out of their homes and is wrong both in principle and in practice.

This Conservative dominated coalition has defined itself by failing to tackle tax evasion to recover lost tax, by failing to deal with excessive profiteering by the big six energy companies and failing to curb the bankers excesses. Instead this Con Dem government is going after those who can least afford to be taxed and is actually going out to bat for the City and standing up for bankers bonuses.

No comments:

Post a Comment