Sat on Facebook I have scrolled past our local news outlet sharing an article about the benefits cap. The benefits cap reduces the amount of money a family can receive in benefits from the £26,000 limit to £20,000. Predictably, the comments underneath the article reflect apparent support for the cap with people stating than in Gloucestershire a lot of people who work are unable earn £20k.
I can understand why people get angry about this. There is massive inequality in our society and we are all seeing our living standards fall due to austerity, cuts and now a massive plunge in our currency.
From most of the media and the government we receive encouragement to be angry at each other and the most vulnerable and poor in our society.
Meanwhile a wealthy minority get richer with tax cuts and businesses get enormous savings on corporation tax or deviously avoid paying tax altogether.
The amount of money saved from the benefit cap will be a drop in the ocean compared to the money that could be saved from cracking down on tax avoidance or by introducing a Robinhood Tax or other means that make high earners pay their fair share.
People have rightfully commented in response to this local news post that some folk work hard full time and don’t even earn £20k. But instead of taking more money from our neighbours and people in our community who have very little anyway (comparatively) we should be demanding better pay from employers, fair and decent contracts (not zero hours) a real living wage, a universal income.
In our society there is a redistribution of wealth that sends the vast majority of money in this country to the very wealthy; this needs to change. We need a redistribution of wealth to where it is really needed; to our schools, the NHS, local services, the police, to the most vulnerable in our country.
It’s also worth noting that the benefit cap will disproportionately hit children;
“Children will be disproportionately affected by the introduction of the benefit cap, with 140,000 children compared to 60,000 adults. Children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out.
The benefit cap is being introduced under the premise that it is unfair that some households receive more in out-of-work benefits than other households receive in work. It is intended to address those adults who are able to work but are unprepared to do so. However, its own figures clearly show that the largest group to be affected are children. We fully support efforts to make work pay, but it is not right to achieve this by putting more children on the breadline.”
The Children’s Society
So be angry about inequality. Be angry about injustice and unfairness. But make sure you’re angry at the right people.