Tax the rich to save jobs

by Daphne Liddle

UNEMPLOYMENT is set to soar during the summer months by 100,000, according to a report from the IPPR think tank published last week.

Meanwhile Chancellor George Osborne is fooling no one with his pretence that he is shocked that his very wealthy friends succeed in legally avoiding paying much tax at all.

The Association of Revenue and Customs — the union for high level tax officer — says the Government loses about £5 billion-a-year through tax avoidance.

If the Government had this money the current massacre of public sector jobs and services would not be needed.

The IPPR report predicts that North-west and Eastern England, London, and Yorkshire and Humberside will see the highest increases in unemployment.

“The personal tragedy of the slow economic recovery is the way unemployment will continue to rise over the next year, even once the economy begins to grow,” said Kayte Lawton, senior research fellow at the think tank.

“This has been the longest recession and the slowest recovery that Britain has ever experienced.

The risk is that high unemployment becomes a permanent feature of the UK economy, as it did in the 1980s.”

And it is Britain’s women and young people who are bearing the brunt of unemployment and underemployment — having to scrape by with a part-time job because there are no full-time jobs available.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, condemned the Government’s record on youth unemployment at the union’s annual conference last week.

“Youth unemployment is a blight on our society,” she said. “For one in five young people aged 16-24 who are not in full-time education to be unemployed is a shocking waste of talent. This is nothing short of the abandonment of a generation.”

The NUT called for the restoration of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) that allows young people over 16 from low-income homes to stay in education, take A-levels and try for university, “so that degrees are not the preserve of the wealthy and privileged”. If the rich paid their taxes it would be easy to restore EMA.

Meanwhile the Government is pressuring the long-term sick and disabled to seek work and at the same time closing Remploy factories that employ disabled people.

GMB and Unite, the unions for Remploy workers, will hold a demonstration starting at Hay Hill opposite Primark at 10am in Norwich on Saturday 14th April. This will be followed by a public meeting on Thursday 19th April in London at the Venue, University of London Union, Malet Street at 7.30pm — and national demonstration on Friday 20th April 2012 both in London.

Glen Holdom, GMB officer for Remploy staff, said “On 7th March the Government announced its intention to close 36 of Remploy’s 54 factories with the potential compulsory redundancy of 1,752 workers of which 1,518 are disabled workers.

The other 18 factories will be closed in due course. The joint unions are committed to fighting to save the Remploy factories and our members’ jobs.”

Again, these cuts would not be needed if Osborne’s rich friends paid their taxes.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the civil service union PCS, commenting on George Osborne’s pretended naiveté, said:

“The only shocking thing is that someone who was shadow chancellor for five years before becoming chancellor apparently did not realise that our public finances are deprived of tens of billions of pounds every year through tax avoidance and evasion by the super-rich.

“Mr Osborne should spend less time courting the very wealthy and agreeing to cut their taxes even further and more time talking to his own staff in HM Revenue and Customs who have been warning about this for years.

“But now he has seen the light, he must accept his government’s cuts are not only damaging they are entirely unnecessary.”

And the Association of Revenue and Customs issued a damning report showing how Osborne has actually made it easier for his wealthy friends to avoid tax.