The chilling picture of a Victorian sized poverty gap painted by the Indy demonstrates just how far free market capitalism has travelled and the mire that it has left in its wake.
Inflation is hitting poorer people hard while leaving the rich to benefit from falling petrol prices and mortgage rates. The Institute of Fiscal Studies have shown that the poorest pensioners are suffering with 6.9% inflation while people with large mortgages got an effective pay rise of £10k. Inflation is running at 4.7% for people renting privately, 4.9% for people with no mortgages and 6.1% for people in local authority housing.
"The IFS analysis reveals that in January 2009 the richest fifth of households had an average inflation rate of minus 1 per cent; the poorest fifth had an average inflation rate of 5.3 per cent."
Of course, if this picture had emerged at the end of 12 years of socialism, I would argue that socialism doesn't work, however the country has witnessed policies that right wingers could only dream of: bank deregulation and bail out, privatisation of mail and health, and so on.
The poverty trap caused by the benefits system is an appalling indictment of Labour's (and prior to that Tory) policy.
We need to introduce a basic minimum income for everyone - a citizen's income, an income that people can top up with earnings without fear of losing it. An income that people can live on, that can't be taken away, that reduces the fear of trying to get by.
Pensioners need a decent income. Pension funds are crashing with stock markets, saving are attracting no interest. People who have worked and saved are struggling. The state should stop bailing out the banksters, and simply bring banks under democratic control.
Put bail out money towards people and projects that need it. Poorer people and pensioners need this money!