The welfare state is under a sustained assault. Each day brings news of ever more drastic government plans – privatisation of the health service, destruction of the benefit system, public services cut to pieces.
The politicians say it is because we’re in a financial mess. This is nonsense – public debt is no worse than at many times in the past. The rich are getting richer, the bankers once again paying themselves massive bonuses. Yet the rest of us are expected to give up our essential public services to pay their gambling debts.
The bankers’ crisis continues to cause mass job losses. But while numbers on welfare increase, the government is slashing benefits for the unemployed, sick and disabled, single parents and those on low wages. Anyone out of work is threatened with sanctions and workfare.
To justify this, the government paints benefit claimants as useless scroungers who have to be bullied to get a job. Yet welfare cuts – which cause misery and destroy lives – amount to many times less than unpaid taxes (or the billions in unclaimed benefits).
As the cuts bite, the effects will be disastrous. Cuts to housing benefit – mostly paid to those in work – will throw many families into spiralling debt and homelessness, and create social cleansing of large city areas. Coupled with the changes to tax credits which will adversely affect up to ½ million families, this is a direct attack on low-paid workers.
At the same time as the government is slashing benefits for the worst off, public money is being diverted to private companies, as services including health, welfare and education are hived off. Companies like Atos are making millions out of misery – paid to force the unemployed, sick and disabled off benefits and onto the dole queue.
Now we are facing the complete privatisation of all public services, including our health care. Private greed cannot provide for public need. The profit motive will result in a service that is not fit for purpose. Workers and service users in the NHS are already fearful of the changes which will be imposed on them.
A decent, public welfare system is in the interests of all working people. Destroying welfare serves only the richest who never need to rely on it, and the bosses, as an army of desperate people and workfare slaves compete for every job.
We must stick together and fight for our right to health and welfare!
Most People Get Benefits
One of the most common myths is that it is only other people who claim benefits. In fact at many points in our lives most of us are in receipt of some kind of benefit. Child Benefit, Tax Credits (which are just a benefit under another name, since they have nothing to do with the tax people have actually paid), Pension Credit – benefits which enable many of us to survive despite poor wages or the chronically low state pension.
And if, through no fault of our own, we become injured at work and unable to work any longer, then benefits like Industrial Injuries Benefit & Disability Living Allowance are there to help with our needs.
Except that the Coalition is intending to abolish DLA by 2013 and save £2 billion pounds a year. Child benefit is to be frozen. Changes to tax credits will adversely affect hundreds of thousands of families.
Low Benefits = Low Wages
Unemployment is used to threaten the employed into accepting low wages. If you don’t accept a wage cut or pension cuts, then there are people on the dole willing to do your job for less.
The Government, and New Labour before them, are using ‘divide and rule’ tactics to play off public against private sector workers, those in work against those without work, those fortunate enough not to need benefits against those who rely on them to survive.
According to Chancellor George Osborne, being on benefits is a ‘lifestyle choice’. The idea that £60 a week JSA makes people not want to work represents the contempt of Old Etonians like Cameron & Osborne for the rest of us. In reality it is being used to divert attention from those really to blame for the economic crisis – the Bankers & Tax Dodging Rich. They wish to divide workers against the unemployed and disabled.
We are told that Britain is in debt and we must all tighten our belts. But when it came to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton there was no economising, quite the contrary. The average pay rise for Chief Executives is a cool 36%.
Whilst benefits are being cut and fuel bills rocket it is the working-class who are expected to pay the price.
The old Trade Union rallying cry that an injury to one is an injury to all is applicable now more than ever.
That is why we are calling a demonstration against Benefit Cuts!