Gordon Brown’s superb Twitter thread on the scale of poverty and inequality in the UK

'The low paid get just £550 in government help, despite facing £1,300 rise in fuel bills not to mention other costs'.

With an unprecedented cost of living crisis pushing millions of people into poverty in the UK, with families choosing between heating and eating and children going hungry, today was the day the government could have chosen to do something to help.

Yet it instead chose to help the wealthiest in society. Rather than put money into the pockets of the poorest, the government chose to abolish the top rate of tax, lower corporation tax, reverse the national insurance rise, cut stamp duty and removed the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

This was a mini-budget that rather than ‘levelling up’, further exasperated and baked in inequalities in the UK, transferring yet more income to the wealthy.

Indeed, the Resolution Foundation reckons that, on average, the richest tenth of households will benefit from these measures by about £4,700 a year, while the poorest tenth will receive £2,200.

Following the government’s announcement, former prime minister Gordon Brown set out in a Twitter thread the sheer scale of poverty and inequality in the country and just how much the Tories have failed those most in need.

We’ve reproduced the thread in full below:

“1/ Having been promised an energy price freeze, millions will be shocked when hit with a 25% rise in fuel bills in October.

5 million kids risk being pushed into poverty, with charities having to stop feeding the hungry so they can help the starving.

We have to act.

[THREAD]

“After a summer of doing nothing the government has finally done nowhere near enough. 

Things are so bad that @Human_Relief which has spent 30 years focused entirely on aid to the world’s poorest countries, has opened a food bank in Birmingham.

“3/In June, Rishi Sunak gave households on universal credit £1,200 a year for fuel bills.

“But he’d already taken £1,000 a year from them, whilst benefits rose by just 3.1% as inflation hit 10%. Once the October fuel bills land, this will leave them £1,450 a year worse off.

“4/The low paid get just £550 in government help, despite facing £1,300 rise in fuel bills not to mention other costs.

Families with more than 2 children are even worse off as the flat-rate payment gives them just £2.60 a week per person for a couple with 3 kids.

“5/ It’s no longer the welfare state that’s the last line of defence but charities. And yet charities find themselves broke. Compassion isn’t running out but cash is. Churches are worried they won’t be able to afford to heat their halls for those who cannot heat their homes.

“6/The reversal of the NI rise will give £1,800 to the richest and just £7.66 a year to the poor. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen as the government lavishes billions on the already wealthy at the expense of the new poor.

“7/ The removal of the bankers’ bonus cap, corporation tax cuts and the rejection of a further windfall tax will mercilessly underline that a winter of destitution is coming for millions not because we are a poor country but because we are an ever more unequal one.

“8/The coming battle must be against poverty, not against the poor.

You cannot rely on a heartless government having a change of heart, but concerted action by the public can force a change of mind.

The time for action is now. Please sign the petition.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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