What will it take for the LibDems to say enough?
We learnt yesterday that the Coalition Government has decided it will no longer support the Financial Inclusion Fund and other services offering debt advice and help, all at a time when news also comes that 135,000 people in England and Wales were declared insolvent in 2010 – the highest figure since records began in 1960. [12 February: the Government has just announced that there will be FIF support for another year; so it will now it will end when the cuts have really begun to bite…]
And we also learnt yesterday about the residents of Trident House in Birmingham, a high-rise block of flats where research for the centre-left group Compass shows over a third were in debt, and of those almost half have now cut back on basics such as food and heating.
Perhaps, just perhaps, this would not be huge news if the residents of Trident House were dealing with their debt on a level playing field, encountering ‘only’ the same interest rates, and with ‘only’ the same chances of unemployment as others who are accommodated more happily elsewhere.
But this level playing field is a figment. Grimly exorbitant loan rates in places like Trident House are the norm, and chances of a job are low.
And those who are the most vulnerable are also the least able to look after themselves. Small children cannot choose where to live, and how confident and comfortable their parents are.
The Government however does not care. It takes a long view, claiming things will work out well in the end; whilst elsewhere and right now, as Labour MP Stella Creasy and the End Legal Loan Sharking campaign remind us, the high-cost credit industry continues lustily to thrive.
So in the meantime those in dire need will find they don’t even have any money management advisors to turn to; and deeply vulnerable people, those least resilient as the Chancellor and his colleagues pursue their slash and burn monetarism, will become even further mired in debt.
Some of the most fragile, least privileged people in Britain are bearing the brunt, with scant protection, of the knowingly brutal fiscal measures imposed by a government whose Cabinet includes at least 16 millionaires.
It’s quite beyond me how anyone, even ambitious Liberal Democrat MPs, can tolerate this happening in their name.