Guest blog: We can live without billionaires but not without bedrooms

We can live without billionaires but not without bedrooms
Guest blog by Ellie Mae O’Hagan

What do we learn from the top ten names on the Sunday Times Rich List 2012? We learn that the richest people living in the UK are all men. We learn that their wealth is increasing. We learn that the vast majority of them made their money by selling us the basics we need to survive like property or energy, or simply the hazy process of moving money around – ‘investment’ as they call it.

We learn that not one of them, despite the billions of pounds they have between them and their opulent multiple homes, will be taxed for having too much. None of them will be told by the government ‘I’m sorry, but this country is in recession, and we need your money to help us get out of it.’ That conversation will be reserved for single mothers and people with disabilities.

The situation is now worse than the government freezing benefits, though that’s bad enough. Now they’re going after people’s homes. Make no mistake about it: the upcoming cap on housing benefit coupled with the bedroom tax will make people in this country, the fifth most prosperous in the world and residence of all those billionaires, homeless.  

What does one say about a government that enables this? Is it uncivilised? Is it incompetent? Is it cruel? Maybe some people reading this will think that it is none of those things. After all, they will think, we can’t take money from those billionaires to prevent the poor from having to leave their homes. If we do that, the billionaires will punish us by taking what little they give us away. Well, if that’s true, what does that say about the rich? It makes them sound like sociopaths. Are these billionaires, some of whom delight in calling themselves philanthropists, happy that the government depicts them in such a way?

When the government of a wealthy country is enacting policies that make people homeless, we can’t stand by and let them. We need to take action – a day of action, if you like. We need to bring these cuts home to the people making them. So let’s do that on April 13th. Let’s pay this wealthy government a visit. See you on the streets.