Never bowing to the pressure to stop talking bollocks, Polly Toynbee returns in the Guardian today to bring us the benefits of her wisdom. The benefits of this are great, the medicine of laughter can be a wonderful thing. Today she is telling us that Help for children will the reason people vote Labour again, seems we were all fooled and it wasn’t the arts after all.
None of her usual soft introductory tones today we dive straight into the vitriol.
“Beware those who want to "simplify" the tax system. You can bet they really mean tax cuts. "Simplification" is new Tory code for cuts, as George Osborne yesterday promised "a radical overhaul of the tax system with a programme of tax simplification at its core".
God and heaven forbid that we have a tax system we can understand Pol, Let me explain a couple of things for you and if you want I could put it in capital bold letters and make it really easy to read.
If you have a simpler system of tax you have a simpler system of tax credits. They are easier to administer. There are fewer errors. People get paid what they deserve. A simpler tax system would have not had £2bn worth of overpayments. £2bn would have balanced the books on the NHS. Money that is spent on chasing tax returns and payments that the complicated system lost could, in hadn with those tax payments that hadn’t been lost, fund the Police Force to keep its 43 forces fully staffed and operational. It could have bought the protective foam to save the lives of soldiers. The list goes on.
She goes on….
“"At long last, Osborne is talking tax cuts," a joyous Daily Mail headline welcomed his first revealing speech about his tax plans. He said: "I am clear. We need to move towards lower taxes," because "personal freedom and responsibility are diminished as the state takes a larger slice of everyone's cake".
Good words from Mr. Osborne there… I can’t see how Pol Pot here can oppose this with any sensible words… so she doesn’t… she glides straight past this and focuses on “Tax Freedom Day” which I personally think should be the extra bank holiday that the government is dearly searching for.
“"This Saturday - June 3 - we celebrate Tax Freedom Day. That is the point in the year when people stop working for the chancellor and start earning for themselves." This tellingly spurious factoid hints at his numerical fragility.”
Now I’m sure FactChecking PollyAnna will back me up on this, our Pol is the last person who should be talking about fragile figures. (UPDATE - he has backed me up on this)
“Yes, credits are quite complicated because they do something subtle and difficult” – so subtle and so difficult that nobody’s noticed the benefits and they’ve got it all wrong, or am I being a bit too nasty there.
“A typical single mother working part time gets nearly £4,000 more than under the old family credit others want to return to.”
The trouble is she has to pay about £500 of that back when it’s overpaid to her. Tell me how that’s not hitting the poor Pol, please tell me.
“These facts are true: some 2 million families were overpaid £1.8bn in credits last year. Nearly a million familes were underpaid £556m. Clawing it back is painful for the relatively few owing large sums - though half owe under £500 and a third owe less than £200.
A new system allowing people to keep much of it will cut this by a third this year. That means 20% will still be overpaid and 10% will still be underpaid. How bad is that? Not all that bad. The standard error rate of the social security system for means-tested benefits under all governments has always been around 10%.”
Jesus Pol!!! I don’t know where to begin. How can you possibly defend this system. 6 million people claim tax credit and 2 million were overpaid and 1 million were underpaid. That’s 3 million wrong out of 6 million that’s an error rate of 50% not 10%. Look at the figures woman, do the maths. Come back from dreaming of that Number 11 love nest and get with the real world.
Her new system says 20% overpaid and 10% underpaid, that’s still a 30% error rate. But that aside she mentions the standard error rate of 10%. Try going into work this week and doing 1 in 10 jobs wrong. See how long you last. It gets worse….
“But most of these over- and underpayments are not errors.”
WELL WHAT THE FECK ARE THEY THEN???? If they are not errors then they are not overpayments or underpayments are they?
“Yes, they are quite complicated but, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, tax credits have delivered "the longest sustained fall in child poverty since records began" - 700,000 fewer children now live below the poverty line, back to levels of 20 years ago, (though not yet repairing all the damage done in the Thatcher years).”
I thought she was slacking there… child poverty is the fault of the Tories, the nasty Tories who come and steal the food from poor babies’ mouths. The swines.
How many fewer poor families would there be if we say spent the £32,000 it costs to train young offenders to dance? Here is the trouble with Pol, she harps on about the poor but has absolutely no idea about the poor or poverty. No idea at all.
“Yet, for reasons that are puzzling, Labour still fails to make its popular family policies its main battleground with the Tories. Why are tax credits for children and universal high-quality children's centres not the party's key winning symbols?
Probably because they didn’t work? The universal high-quality children’s centres you talk about are more than likely all the privately run nurseries. If the government has provided such great systems of children’s care and entertainment why oh why Pol do registered child minders have such a racket going eh? Maybe you should ask your Swedish au Pair.
“Help for children should be the reason why women will vote Labour again. “
Pol, were you watching the Local elections? or had you rented 101 Great Gordon Brown Moments?