facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/449552485116401/
For decades our public services have come under attack from successive governments intent on cutting & privatisation. Since the bankers’ crisis began this assault has become an all-out war on the welfare state, under the guise of reducing debt.
In reality the brunt of the cuts has fallen on those most in need. Sick & disabled people, even the dying, are put through repeated tests intended to force them onto the dole queue. Lone parents sign on when their children are younger, older people have seen their pensions vanish out of sight. As austerity bites, unemployment has soared, but instead of taking action the government treats the jobless as an army of unpaid labour, imposing workfare schemes which are not only an attack on the unemployed, but on all workers; threatening jobs, rights, pay and conditions.
To justify their actions, government propaganda paints everyone on benefits as work-shy scroungers, conveniently ignoring the effects of the recession which have actually been intensified by the cuts. The assault on welfare has nothing to do with benefit fraud (minimal compared to tax fraud) It is not about sorting out the ‘genuine’ sick, not about forcing the ‘lazy’ jobless to get up in the morning. It is not even about saving money, because ever larger sums are thrown at private companies to do a worse job of providing services than the public organisations they supplant.
It is an all-out attack on the entire working class. Its policies threaten those in work as much as those without. Cuts to housing benefits lead to a direct increase in poverty and homelessness. Many working families will be hit by the capping of child benefit and tax credits. With the introduction of Universal Credit part-time workers also face the threat of workfare, as benefits become conditional (ie. dependent on whether claimants perform any tasks imposed on them) rather than based on need.
Millions of families currently surviving on the edge will be pushed into poverty, with massive social consequences. Yet while benefit claimants are being turned into forced labour & threatened with destitution, vast sums of public money are being redirected into the pockets of the wealthy.
Private companies are paid millions to provide reduced services, most failing to reach targets yet their contracts are renewed & the money keeps flowing. Far from being ‘all in it together’ the wealthy have been rewarded with tax cuts, and big businesses like Vodaphone allowed to make billions without paying anything. It is clear that the assault on welfare is nothing to do with reducing debt. It is all about profit.
In the face of such a comprehensive assault by those in power, it is easy to despair. Yet we have seen that fighting back achieves results, especially where profits are affected. Campaigns against workfare are having an effect, because when workfare exploiters are named & shamed by Boycott Workfare, picketed by groups like ourselves or damned on social media, it’s bad for business. It cuts profits – & profits are, after all, what workfare is all about.
There is an increasing mood of resistance. This is clear from the rising tide of anger against the bedroom tax, which has united groups all over the country. The ‘tax’ is actually yet another cut to housing benefit, this time for anyone in social housing seen as ‘under-occupying’ their home. The penalties will be imposed by councils, already expected to do central government’s dirty work of cutting local services.
We are under attack but with solidarity we can win. We all have an interest in fighting cuts. The media encourage division & a culture of blame, targeting those most in need, while the millionaires in government & their wealthy friends get away with daylight robbery. This crisis was not caused by the poor, the sick, the unemployed, immigrants, public service workers, trade unions, single parents, students, pensioners or working people, but by the greed of those who control our economy & our society purely in their own interest. Why, then, are we paying for it?
Join us in fighting back!
The assault on welfare
This event is organised by local activists, not affiliated with any political party