Tory long term economic plan – Criminalise the poor

23_february_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,009

Monday 23 February 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

In these days of auto reminders and auto renewals and desktop computers millions of times more powerful than those that landed men on the moon, your government decides it’s time to get tough on prescriptions by criminalising the poorest and most vulnerable patients on lifelong medications.

Medical exemption certificate have to be renewed every five years but the NHS insist it is the “patient’s own responsibility to check their entitlement”, although patients were not informed of the new five year renewal system. Are they sent a letter or email to check on their circumstances, or as a reminder to renew? No, the first that patients know is that they are fined up to £100.

This is Osbornes ‘long term economic plan’ in action, threaten, penalise and hound the poor.

Ministers claim that prescription checks could save the NHS £150m a year, ‘Health Minister Dan Poulter said it was time to get tough on those who avoid paying their fair share towards the NHS’… and maybe Osborne should stop supporting tax dodging. Tax Research LLP found that the difference between what should be paid in taxes and what is actually paid (the tax gap) “topped £119bn in 2013-14 and “is rising steadily”. That, for you and your innumerate Chancellor of the Exchequer, is 793 times more than that lost in prescription charges.

I also note that HM Revenue and Customs have outsourced their fraud and error detection to private US business services company, Concentrix, whose staff, under-trained and under pressure, are sending out wildly inaccurate tax credit claims and demands, so ridiculous that people receiving them are, reasonably enough, treating them as hoaxes.

“Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said that it was “another example of the Government and HMRC chasing those on low incomes, when they should be chasing tax-dodging millionaires. Concentrix work on a ‘payment by results’ basis, so they only get paid if they cut the tax-credit bill. This means they profit out of stopping payments made to people in real need. This service should be publicly accountable, not led by profit.”

Your entire ‘long term economic plan’ is based on punishing the poor, low wage, no wage, benefit stripping, hounding and terrorising the least able to defend themselves; the planned obsolescence of the poor whilst rewarding crooks and fraudsters.

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