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Suffer little children?

Dear Sir

It seems that as ever our local Conservative MPs have mis-interpreted that famous line in the bible as meaning that they should cause suffering to children by voting against proposals to provide food for children on free school meals over the half term holidays.

We are facing increasing economic disruption as a result of Coronavirus, and in a fast moving situation it is clearly understandable that event the most competent administration might be wrong footed, however rather than debating the current position let us wind the clock back a year, the pre Coronavirus situation.

According to UN figures, the UK had a per capita GDP of US$42526 in 2018, making us the world’s 24th richest nation, higher than  France $41358, and significantly higher than Italy, $34389 and Spain at $34406.

But even before Coronavirus, the use of food banks and concerns about poverty was rising, in particular being in work was no longer any protection against poverty..  At the moment about 49% of the UK GDP goes to wages, this compares with about 60% in the 1970s.  At the same time the share of total earnings taken by the top 10% is rising.  Compared to average earnings the earnings of the top 1% have risen three fold over the same period while their tax rates have halved.  For those on average earnings it represents a loss of about £6000 a year – which means a lower tax take and a higher benefits bill for the Government.

There are also concerns over housing and homelessness, again average house prices have risen from about three times average earnings in the 1970s to over eight times now – in a period when building costs rose in line with the Retail Priced Index.  Over the same period the number of households living in Social Housing dropped from about a third to a sixth, while the numbers living in expensive, insecure and poor quality private rented accommodation more than doubled.

These were not things that just happened, they happened as a result of decisions taken by successive Conservative, Coalition & Labour Governments.

Let’s put it bluntly, even without Coronavirus the economy isnt working for us, the rich are getting ever richer while the rest of us are getting poorer.  

This can’t go on forever, either it can be changed peacefully, or eventually it will unravel rather messily. 

John Boxall,

Frome.

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