Comment by the Rev Paul Nicholson, of Taxpayers Against Poverty. I endorse every word.

Ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions repeat ad nauseam their mantra: “It is not fair for taxpayers to be asked to pay for the cost of spare bedrooms, or housing benefit” which is high in central London because rents are high etc, etc. Therefore the poorest citizens are thrust into unmanageable debt by caps and cuts in housing benefit, possible eviction, forced migration, undue stress and misery. As a citizen who pays income and council tax, VAT and the excise duty on my evening glass of wine, I steam with indignation each time I am used by ministers to justify such draconian measures making people poorer.

I am glad my taxation is used to enable my fellow citizens, both in and out of work, to buy enough food, clothes, fuel, transport and other necessities, to pay council tax and the rent of secure homes, when they have no other means to do so; and bewildered by the short-sightedness of a policy which deliberately reduces the totally inadequate adult JSA of £67.50 a week by creating rent arrears, with debt-related mental health problems and high extra costs for a hard-pressed NHS.

The self-evident unfairness is the current policy of dumping national debt and deficit reduction on the incomes of the squeezed middle and poorest citizens, while the higher-paid taxpayers experience no financial inconvenience. Meanwhile the OECD reports that $11.5 trillionincluding bonuses, is parked in overseas accounts and the Treasury is aware that£100bn of property in central London alone is registered overseas – both out of reach of the taxman. That really is unfair.

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