Luciana Berger is right to state " food banks" must not become normalised and part of our culture, and should go the "same way as Poor Law Guardians and the workhouse". She is also correct in saying they bring shame to this country, "one of the richest countries on earth". This last phrase we never hear from fat-cat Tory MPs, no doubt under strict orders not to undermine the so-called reasons for the government`s policies to enforce increased poverty on the majority of people, whilst shrinking the state to levels unprecedented in modern times. However, we do hear it admitted by many Labour MPs, like Ms Berger, so why don`t the Opposition`s policies reflect this view?
The adoption of a few of the policies below would do wonders for Labour`s popularity, as they would help to ensure a fairer distribution of the country`s wealth, and enable the next Labour government to forget all ideas of continuing Tory-like austerity measures:
support for a financial transaction tax
a sliding scale of income tax, going up to 60-70% for earnings over £200000
a bonus tax of at least 75%
tax havens on British territory to be ended, a policy of total transparency adopted, and tax evaders made to pay up, or face imprisonment
tax avoidance to be ended, by the re-appointment of the thousands who have lost their HMRC jobs under the coalition.and by the refusal to grant government contracts to companies known not to be paying their fair share. Individual tax avoiders similarly to be refused permission to work for the BBC and government departments, or to represent Britain in any capacity; the slogan here could be "no representation without taxation"! No honours to be granted to tax avoiders, and all previous honours to be returned.
introduce VAT or a similar tax on all advertisement in the media, totally refundable at the end of the tax year, when corporation tax has been calculated, and the right amount paid, with no exploitation of loopholes etc.
adopt a policy of total transparency with regard to MPs and candidates; all business connections, other jobs, tax records etc to be made public, prior to elections.
end support for the replacement of Trident, and for HS2 and airport expansion in London.
Milband said when elected that Labour would be different under his leadership. Well, better late than never! The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act set up workhouses which were to last well into the 20th century, and Labour must ensure their longevity is not emulated by food banks. A change in culture is needed, but it is not as though the country cannot afford it!