The coalition government here in the uk continues to show it is more than capable of staring down the barrel of a blunderbuss without flinching - especially when bearing down on the knuckleduster choices of swingeing cuts required to repair the uk's ailing economy. Proving that there is nothing they hold dear or sacrosanct, and there's no scum-laden pond they wont dredge, in order to bring the good ship uk back on route.
So, naturally, one of their targets are what the oecd classify as being the relative poor. Not content with removing those who are struggling with either beans on toast, or cheese on beans (thus saving the toast for a rainy day), from a momentary inflation matching rise in their income that was conferred by using the more accurate retail price index (rpi), they decided to use the consumer prices index (cpi) which is a few points lower, and so cheaper.
But even here, the idea that people already wallowing in the trough of poverty are obviously having far too much fun and wantonly exhibiting luxurious spending habits - oh yes and the inflation rate is a bit too much for them to stomach - the treasury (according to the bbc) instead ponders whether they should use a figure which encompasses the average six months of the year on which to base any allowance raises on. This from the very same people whose idea of poverty and hardship is running out of a jar of mustard, to slather over whatever succulents they've being invited to tuck into.
I wonder if the relative poor could also use that government wheeze for themselves, and pop into their local tescos or sainsburys, perhaps m&s and query, "i propose to pay for these pack of 12 surprise cheesy bean-balls, by using your average six-month price. Can you tell me how much, mate?" Which part of their anatomy would the store guards or security launch them into the street by first i wonder!
But as a sign of how desperate things really are: energy prices are going up, water costs going up, rents and clothing costs rising. Indeed everything the already ravenously poor have no choice but to generally spend money on, are inflating more than the newly proposed increase in the meager safety line many are bobbingly clinging to. If anything, the governments latest wheeze will ensure already threadbare funds are stretched to final breaking point.
With not much light peeking over the horizon (unless it's the on-rushing flames of a record wild-fire), the future - especially when you consider the double even triple-digit numbers applying for jobs - looks increasingly bleak, and that is the silver lining. I seriously doubt all claimants live double lives with bentleys or ocean going yachts!
Let's see when the next independent annual mp pay review comes up, whether they'll do the right thing instead of squealing "we never said we should get a pay rise, it was them," and drop a few digits off their rate. After all, and someone please correct me if i'm wrong, a £650 (or £12.50 per week) pay rise to those on £65k pa plus expenses, plus whatever junkets, dinner functions, gifts etc., fall their way probably might not fall into the same category as opposed to a £175 (or £3.04 per week) allowance increase impact might have on those who eek by on £3.5k pa, which might mean the difference between heating, eating or freezing to death.
If they do link allowance rises to average earnings, at what stage would they consider their de-coupling? Perhaps when average earning increases reach the heady heights of directors or ceo's?