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Sunday, 4 January 2015

The people-less road to a stronger economy.

A letter a day to number 10. No 965

Monday 05 January 2015. The people-less road to a stronger economy.

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Dear Mr Cameron,

I am much impressed with your new election poster, your people-less road to a stronger economy, an empty road. This is the Oxford definition of 'economy' - "The state of a country or region in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money."

That's a coldly objective expression of what an economy is, but something is missing, unsaid - 'people'. The people are the economy, the economy is people, without people there is no economy, not even the slightest need for one, not even the idea of such a thing. The existence of an economy depends on the cares and concerns of living people, living real lives.

Do you know how long humans have been around? If the Earth's history was represented as one year, we came into existence on December 31st at 10pm and recorded history at 30 seconds to midnight. All those billions of years without people or an economy, 4.54 billion years with us tagged on the end, as thin as a human hair.

Britain has just pipped France to the position of the 5th richest economy in the world, reported in the Guardian and Forbes on 26 December 2014. It seems that this was achieved by the inclusion of our multi-billion pound sex and illegal drug industries. And why? So that you and George Osborne can brag about being the only choice for recovery and "...because we put in place a long-term plan with some clear values at its heart". Oh really?

I had a phone call today from a dear friend who has spent the Christmas and New Year period with homeless people. She had to walk away at times because she didn't want homeless people to see her in tears. She was shamed by her own tears. She said more than once to me, 'People need to be out there, this is not an issue we can hide', but there's no room for them in your Westminster economic babble.

There is no room for the 13 million people living in poverty, of people turning to debt or food banks to eat on zero hours contracts. There is no room for the 93,000 children who were homeless this Christmas. No room for the 900,000 people who were referred to the Trussell Trust last year. No room for the people subject to 6.1 million JSA sanction between April 2000 and March 2014, or the estimated 6,800 ESA claimants sanctioned this December among the 80,000 sanctioned for Christmas. The DWP has even abandoned updating the figures for benefit related deaths.

Without the millions of good people who donate, assist and support feeding Britain's hungry and homeless the death toll in Britain would be even more appalling than it already is. Targeting the poorest and most vulnerable people isn't recovery, it's war.














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