February 13 Letters: Greek austerity strikes a chord with inequality in Britain

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From: David Butcher, Bence Lane, Darton, Barnsley.

TO say that I was astonished by John Watson’s letter (“Greeks should stand firm over austerity”, The Yorkshire Post, February 3) is an under-statement.

Mr Watson claims to be a lifelong Tory, in which case he should realise that a large proportion of the British people are, themselves, familiar with the austerity now being experienced by the Greeks.

In our case, however, we don’t have to wait for eurocrats to create the hardship, because our own Government is quite capable of visiting misery upon us without their help.

The misery being experienced by the Greeks mirrors that which was experienced by many in Britain under Margaret Thatcher and is now being heaped upon us by David Cameron and company.

Unfortunately, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were no better during their times in office. I visit Greece just once a year and love the Greek people, but their present difficulties are of their own making.

They have been profligate in spending money, but hopeless at collecting taxes.

It was quite noticeable last year that receipts were, for 
once, being given for all transactions and notices in 
shops stated that you shouldn’t pay for any goods unless you received a receipt.

In contrast, we live in a country where one per cent of the population owns half its wealth and we have more billionaires living here than any other country in the world.

The workers are subject to PAYE and the ones with money seek tax advice from HSBC.

Bankers are still getting paid a bonus while others consider themselves lucky if they are on a zero hours contract and get paid the proper rate for the job.

Payday loans providers proliferate, as do soup kitchens and food banks.

If you have saved for your retirement you will be getting historically low rates of interest and one doesn’t have to be a brain surgeon in order to see where the banks are getting the money from to pay off their fines and pay out compensation for their various misdemeanours.

If anybody complains about the high salaries being paid to managers and the huge amount of wealth being accumulated 
by a few, they are accused of being envious, when all they really want is a modicum of fairness.

In my view, Mr Watson should forget about the Greeks and save his sympathies for the people of this country who have “lost jobs and creature comforts to keep those in power whose jobs depend on such abnormalities”.