Local Lotteries Should Not Replace Government Funding Cuts

The Tories are gambling with all our futures; but the game is rigged, and the primary beneficiaries of this lottery are the billionaire class.  They seem to forget that it is the hard work of the 99% that enables their profits to rise.

Corporation tax plummets, while our cost of living increases by the day. Since 2010 the Government has cut the grant for local authorities (that is derived from the taxes we pay) by a mind-numbing 50%. And every year the super-rich corporate scroungers use legal loop-holes to avoid paying £120 billion of tax.

Vital public services that benefit the most vulnerable in society are being cast by the wayside. Critical mental health services like Network for Change are threatened with closure, while Welfare Advice Services are being cut to the bone.

In response, Conservative authorities are now following the regressive American model in setting up local lottery schemes to fund vital local services. In the same way that the Council Tax is a regressive form of tax, so are lotteries.

As demonstrated in the landmark book Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (1991), regressive tax is a form of taxation that ends up making the poorest in society pay a higher proportion of their income for the provision of public services.

Melton Borough Council is the third Tory-run local authority to back lottery schemes.

As the Leicester Mercury (December 5) reported, Melton authority “hopes the lottery will raise money to replace what it’s losing in Government cuts to grant funding which allows it to support good causes.” Apparently the lotto is meant to “cushion the impact of Government cuts”.

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But the most effective way of reacting to such drastic funding cuts, would be for the official political opposition to the Tories, Labour, to refuse to put up with such institutionalised theft.

Certainly the leader of the Labour Party opposes austerity, as do the majority of his party’s membership, but unfortunately most elected Labour representatives seem intent on blocking any fightback against cuts.  So why don’t the Blairites do the honourable thing by resigning? This would allow actual socialists to replace them in posting a serious anti-austerity alternative to the Tories.

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