We are the fifth largest economy in the world, bigger than France, India, Italy, Brazil or Canada, writes Ipswich Council Leader, David Ellesmere.
That means we are a very wealthy country.
So why doesn’t it feel that way?
Why have people been waiting on trolleys at A&E departments? Why were all non-emergency operations cancelled for weeks?
Why are there reports that up to 40 people died or suffered harm due to ambulance delays in the East of England over Christmas?
Why has the number of people sleeping rough on our streets risen for the seventh year running?
Why are our roads full of pot holes?
Why, in short, are we constantly told that “there is no money” when there clearly is?
The answer, of course, is that there is plenty of money – it is just that a few people have a lot of it but a lot of people don’t have very much at all.
Now some argue that people on extremely high salaries are worth every penny. That we couldn’t do their job and they earn their money. That to argue otherwise is the “politics of envy”.
But, the former boss of Carillion, who left the company in last November after poor results, was still due to be paid £688,000 until next October – after he’d left the company.
He’d played a large part in the events leading up to his company going bust, putting thousands of jobs, pensions and small businesses at risk. Yet he was still being paid more than 25 times the average wage in Ipswich – for doing nothing.
Literally anybody could do that job!
That doesn’t make me feel envious – it makes me angry.
Because it doesn’t have to be this way. We are here because of political decisions that have been made.
The millionaires have had massive tax giveaways and a blind eye has been turned when they try to avoid what little tax they do owe.
Instead, our public services – the NHS, the police, our councils – have been starved of the funds they need and the very poorest people have had their benefits cut.
It doesn’t have to be this way. When are we going to say enough is enough?