Osborne's Wealth Transfer & Social Cleansing Programmes

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Courtesy: Martin Shovel

By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 6 June 2015

In late March 2015, just 6 weeks before the UK's General Election where the electorate had an illegitimate regime foisted upon them, George Osborne delivered his final budget of the parliamentary session. Like all budgets that precede a General Election, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was sickeningly effusive in his praise for an economy that in reality has languished in the doldrums for the last 5 years with absolutely no prospect whatsoever of returning to surplus before 2020 and beyond.

Osborne then went on to proffer a tranche of sweeteners the general public could look forward to if Cameron's Conservatives were re-elected: the personal tax free allowance would be raised as would the threshold at which the higher rate of income tax was payable on earned income, and savers too would no longer have to pay tax on interest of unearned income up to a limit of £1000, for basic rate taxpayers, and £500, for higher rate tax payers, respectively. Osborne's finale was the introduction of yet another Help-to-Buy housing scheme called the Help-to-Buy ISA (ISA - Individual Savings Account, a tax free savings account) where every £200 saved would accrue a government top up of £50.

Of all the treats on offer, it is the latter, the Help-to-Buy ISA (HBISA), that has continued the trend of his previous budgets: to introduce new fiscal measures that will further inflate house prices and thus financially enslave both purchaser and renter alike.

In 2013, London UK, the price of a house or flat increased on average by £40,000 raising the cost of a typical home to a little over £475,000. This rate of increase continued throughout 2014 and, albeit marginally slower, into 2015, where now the average price is in excess of £530,000. Thus, the notion that Londoners, or other aspirant London dwellers, aka. the general public who are routinely disparaged by the monied and privileged in society as the Proletariat who subsist on an average annual salary of £27,250 as of 2015, can afford to either purchase or rent a property in London is, quite frankly, laughable. Clearly the Proletariat are increasingly becoming part of a growing group of the population known as the Precariat.

The Precariat then, are those members of the population who are less well-off, often with differing degrees of irregular employment that is either part-time or zero-hours contract work, and hold an even more tenuous position in society than the Proletariat. Their dependence on social security benefits just to house, clothe and feed their families ensures their compliance, to those in authority, for fear of being made homeless and destitute.

Generally, those who can afford to purchase a property are couples with a regular form of employment, are salaried staff and thereby have some degree of job security. If either of the couple should lose their job, fall sick or decide to part company, the home is usually forfeited at some stage as financial hardship takes over. Thus, their tenure, as a member of the property owning group of the population, a number that declined from 69% to 64% in the period 2001 to 2011, is highly tenuous and ensures their subservience and compliance, to the rich and powerful, for fear of becoming a member of the Precariat.

Of course, the number of people in the the UK able to secure a mortgage is diminishing fast, not least because of the strict tests that have been introduced to minimise the risks associated with lending to high risk clients, as they did before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), but primarily because of the nature of employment, or more accurately under-employment. The spectre of under-employment now pervades the country and whilst the headline rate of unemployment has fallen by just over 1% in the last 12 months, the rate of under-employment, as reported by the UK Office for National Statistics, remains stubbornly high at more than 10% of the workforce, i.e. approximately 3.1 million people are both willing and able to work more hours but do not have the opportunity to do so: a rate that was reached in mid-2009, soon after the GFC, and has remained at that level for more than 5 years.

Nonetheless, as the previous Help-to-Buy campaign introduced by Osborne attests: the 2013 budget programme helped to raise the average price of a property, nationwide, by £46,000 in just 18 months: an increase of 27%. Research has gone on to prove that 31,000 buyers were assisted by the scheme but there were another 258,000 renters priced out of the purchasing market altogether. Current estimates indicate that as many as 3.5 million people are now trapped into private renting and are therefore unable to buy their own property as a result of the policy. In addition, the vastly inflated property prices, and rents, in London and other major cities throughout the UK, are being used to socially cleanse the conurbations of poor people who are routinely shipped off to other parts of the country where opportunities are scarce and unemployment is high.

Clearly, Osborne's HBISA scheme is designed to inflate the price of housing and thereby fiscally, and socially, enslave both the Proletariat and the growing Precariat alike. That both buyers and renters, the latter of which may be financially assisted by benefits funded through general taxation, are in the process of transferring their wealth and the wealth of the nation, as funded by the taxpayer, to the rich or rentier's is patently obvious. The fact that housing, being an essential commodity, has become the tool of choice to not only facilitate wealth transfer but also a tool of social engineering by forcing the poor to move to areas where there are few opportunities and unemployment is high, thus depriving them of the benefit of social mobility, is equally as obvious.

That Osborne is embarked on a programme of wealth transfer and social cleansing is as certain that a lifetime of precarity awaits the Precariat.

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
Frederick Douglass