Austerity: We’re in this together, except for politicians

On a day when junior doctors have overwhelmingly voted to strike due to cuts in their pay (1), the Prime Minister seems to have forgotten about the cuts that ‘we’ are supposed to be making. It was announced today that the Prime Minister is to get a brand new plane at a cost to the British taxpayer of £10 million (2). How lovely for him. The argument is that this will save the taxpayers £775,000 a year. OK, so in order to recoup the £10M cost, the Prime Minister would have to use the plane for thirteen years to just break even! This would be without maintenance or repairs. Can you honestly see a Prime Ministers plane lasting 13 years? This is of course, on top of the 10% pay rise for the last year for ministers (3). As pay for ministers in 2010 was – £65K in 2010 (4) to £74K in 2015 (5), ask yourself the following question: Has your pay risen by £9K in the last five years? Here’s another couple of questions to ask yourself

  • Do you know of any other organisation that would allow expenses of £103 million? (6)
  • Do you get a hotel room provided for you if you work late, after the taxpayer has funded your home? (7)
  • Do you think this is fair?

1 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34859860

2 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34864328

3 – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/16/ipsa-goes-ahead-with-10-pay-rise-for-mps

4 – http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/m05.pdf

5 –  http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/payandpensions/pages/default.aspx

6 -http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/sep/12/are-uk-mps-really-claiming-more-expenses-now-than-before-the-scandal

7 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11500757/46-MPs-claim-rent-or-hotels-to-live-in-London-despite-owning-taxpayer-funded-homes-in-capital.html

Austerity: We’re in this together, except for politicians

BBC coverage of the anti-capitalist riots, or lack thereof

On an evening when 670 protests around the world were staged (1) and 20,000 protesters took to the streets of London (2), coverage by the BBC was lacking. On the live channel, there was no mention of the protests between 1820hrs and 1930hrs (2). However, there were constant updates on the 20,000 holidaymakers stranded in Sharm-el-Sheikh. If those 20K stranded are important to cover, why aren’t the 20K taking to the streets of London against capitalism? On the BBC app and website, there was no mention of the protests at all (3). The day after the protest, there is no mention of it on the front page of the BBC website, despite 50 arrests and three injured police officers (4). In order to find the linked article you had to go to the politics section, where the article is displayed in a small corner.

Feel how you will about this individual protest (very, very pro if you wondered), but to see that 59% of people polled (3) think that the power to protest should be taken away if there is a risk of public disorder is terrifying. YOU have the right to protest and speak your mind about anything you choose. That is YOUR right. Imagine if someday this was applied to you when you were trying to show your opinion. If we take away the right of protest, which is already limited by law (5), then we begin to lose our right to stand up for what we believe in.

1 – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/million-mask-march-anti-establishment-protests-expected-in-over-670-cities-across-the-world-a6722286.html

2 – Personal experience

3 – Personal experience

3 – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11975183/Million-Mask-March-Anonymous-protesters-hurl-fireworks-at-police-in-London-live.html

4 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34741434

5 – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/01/right-to-protest-under-attack

BBC coverage of the anti-capitalist riots, or lack thereof

Doors opened for increase in tuition fees

The government today has announced a policy that will allow top scoring universities in the UK to raise tuition fees (1). This means that top scoring universities will be able to charge more than the set £9,000 per year fees. Until the launch of this policy maximum a student would pay for a bachelor degree was £27,000 for an average three year degree, with longer courses such as medicine facing up to £45,000, which is in itself a staggering sum of money to burden someone with for simply wanting to train properly to perform their job well. These maximum fees have increased over the last few years thus (2) –

Year                     1998           2004         2010               2016

Tuition Fee        £1,000       £3,000       £9,000             £ ???

Government     Labour      Labour     Coalition     Conservative

The median earnings for a person living in London is £19,000 a year (3), and remember that this will be pushed up significantly by the higher earners, and that this will be higher than those not living in London. So, if a university course costs more than twice the annual income of a Londoner, how can a single parent afford to help their child attend university? They can’t. This means that a newly qualified doctor will leave higher education with £47,000 debt, including interest of 0.9% per year (4). This is before including accommodation, food, transport and books. Therefore, many students will be paying back their student loan for 30+ years, which would take them into their fifties (5).

University attendance is still the greatest opportunity for social mobility available (6). The chances of a student who received free meals at school accessing an Oxbridge university course are 2000 to 1, compared to a privately educated child of 20 to 1 (7).  Thus, if the rich are more likely to attend the top universities, they are more likely to obtain high paying jobs. Therefore, the wealthy stay wealthy, and the poor stay poor.

Firstly, I would like to live in a society where everyone is educated to a high standard. There are no losers when we live in a country where everyone has strong language and analytical skills. Secondly, education should be free for all. We live in one of the most economically advantaged societies in the world. In order for not only the wellbeing of the populace, but for a strong economic future we should all have an education that allows us to play our role in society. Thirdly, the decisions of politicians are preventing the poorest from advancing into high paid jobs.

The key points to take away from this are

  • University fees will be higher than they were
  • All of the major political parties have increased tuition fees
  • The poorest in society will not be able to help their children financially
  • Students will be paying off a massive amount of debt until they are a just over a decade away from retirement

1 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34733096

2 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuition_fees_in_the_United_Kingdom

3 – http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/02/housing-market-gulf-salaries-house-prices

4 – http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=93,6678642&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

5 – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601146/Three-four-graduates-paying-student-loans-50s-Most-face-having-debt-written-30-year-limit.html

6- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/80188/Higher-Education.pdf

7 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30939926

Doors opened for increase in tuition fees