Dear Dave,

It’s been a while since I wrote, life’s been pretty busy with 2 small children, a busy job and a fair amount of running . I’ve been working hard you could say which brings me onto the subject of this letter. You and your buddies keep talking about ‘hard working people’ like they are a well known group of people who walk around wearing badges and a hard working persons uniform. Yet I don’t think you’ve ever said exactly WHO they are, maybe you know but the rest of us need to find out what the secret handshake is to join in?

So what I thought I’d do is give you a couple of examples of family and friends and you can tell me if they are hard working or not. Although given that you say you are helping them surely it should be obvious?

My first example are a married couple; he is 64 and has worked all his life as an electrician, she is in her mid fifties and is unable to work due to long term sickness. They rent a 2 bedroom house from a housing association and if it wasn’t for his age would be subject to the bedroom tax. They have both worked all their lives, they’ve paid taxes, they’ve contributed to society yet if he was just a few years younger you would be taxing them for living in a 2 bedroom house. Incidentally they actually live in your constituency and couldn’t move to a 1 bedroom house as there are none available.

Are they hard working?

The second example is a student, he’s studying hard for a degree at a top university and on course to get a 1st. He planned to take a gap year before university had to abandon that when you put up tuition fees. Starting 1 year earlier avoided the worst of the rises but he’ll still leave university with a mountain of debt and enter a job market where 20% of people his age are unemployed. Not only that you plan to remove his ability to claim any benefits should he need to due to not finding a job.

Is he hard working?

My final example is me, 31 years old I have a degree and I have studied to become a chartered accountant. I’m married and I own my own home using a deposit I saved myself, I even have my own private pension that I pay into. That surely makes me the epitome of hard working in your eyes doesn’t it? My wife doesn’t work because child care is so expensive it makes more sense for her to stay at home. Since you have been in office you have taken away our child benefit in a grossly unfair system where me earning enough to be just over the threshold is all that matters despite us having one income only.

You’ve also put up my income tax payments and continued to increase fuel duties. To give you credit you have just announced that my wife can share part of her tax allowance with me, but why not go further and share the whole amount? Or let me offset my mortgage interest payments as in the USA?

So am I hard working?

From my perspective it looks like your definition of hard working is either someone earning more than £150k or a first time home buyer. It certainly isn’t the vulnerable who really need your support or the people trying to raise a family despite a stretched NHS and an screwed up education system.

Why don’t you stop creating policies that create such unfair situations for those most in need? Why don’t you encourage investment to get abandoned and empty houses back on the market rather than push house prices higher?

If that all sounds too tough, how about this for a simple idea. Go and talk to the guys at DIY SOS, ask them how to help those in need. In 10 days they can change a person’s world on what I would guess is a fairly small budget. Can there be a better example of big society? Give them the money to do 100 times more, then you’ll have an impact and create work for suppliers and bring communities together.

I voted for you at the last election, I can tell you now that isn’t going to happen again.


The Fool