Friday, 22 April 2011

Let them eat cake!

This morning I read that one in four of us disguises damaged property when trying to sell. Last week it was bogus insurance claims; the week before, an increase in fuel thefts. Despite the hype around our lack of financial capability, the maths of a scam is not beyond us. Why is that?

The Daily Mail can rant all it likes about the 30 acne suffers who are too sick to work, yet the individual scams - persecuted or real - are nothing compared to the widespread abuse of welfare by so called competitive markets.

Take our money (as they do). Any chance of clearing a much needed cheque in the next ten days? No way!

With the odds on unauthorised charges from an inaccurate balance stacked against us, the market for managed accounts, helping us to pay in advance for bankers doing their job, is created. A Bank Holiday? You're damned right it is!

And what of our homes, now rented by so many? It is small government indeed that caps Housing Benefit without cutting back on the profiteers who charge four times a mortgage payment for once social housing. Here are your benefit scroungers, guv!

Fall short with utility payments and we're slapped on a meter, complete with debt from charges for stopped direct debits. Mail order firms take payments on a four weekly cycle, so why not switch essentials to accommodate unemployment or ill health? No wonder we're "confused".

Likewise, the 1985 Transport Act cuts more of us off - encouraged to buy, but unable to sell 24/7, when the last bus home leaves at six. DH Lawrence enjoyed more trains than we do today - ironic, when you live in the East meets West Midlands, as I do, and have none. 

Image: Rawich /

When we do shop, we see beer for a pittance next to rocketing bread prices - the very same ingredients, soliciting oblivion from the shame of hungry kids. Then there are the corner shops, branded with four by four packages and tills refusing to accept that we only need one.

Cut back? 

Beg pardon, Sir, I am forgetting myself... Up to six text messages a day, offering to ease the pain of tightening belts and the hope of a paid day future - but what proportion of £65 a week are they interested in for a guaranteed rollover?

How dare anyone say cut back, when taxes to meet basic needs are scammed. This is not capitalism. It is fraud. And I, for one, don't buy it. Prey on the weak, foolish and hungry at your peril, for in petty crime there is a caution - far prettier heads have been lost over the cost of bread.

posted by Emma Bryn-Jones


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