Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/645/10546
Don't destroy our sickness benefits
When the Con-Dem government announced its cuts, Steve Spreadborough of Coventry appeared on the BBC News, speaking emotionally of his fears of losing his home and more. Here Steve talks to The Socialist.
I AM a married man with four children. I'll say this the way the Conservatives would: 'Following an accident at work I've been sitting at home, scrounging off the system, letting my children run riot and letting taxpayers bring us up'.
Right, that's the lies out of the way. I now have health problems, but I have not sat on my backside and let my illness dictate to me, as that would send the wrong message to my children.
My eldest daughter works in a home with special needs adults and is on call 24 hours a day. My eldest son has autism and dyspraxia, but is in full time college. The youngest son left school four years ago and has not had a job, though not through lack of trying. But he works in the community doing gardens for the elderly. My youngest daughter has devoted her life to becoming a vet.
I would like to say sorry to all the politicians for taking 4,000 milligrams of painkillers every day, aspirin to keep my heart going, and eight tablets for diabetes. I'd also like to say sorry for the stroke I had four years ago, the three weeks I was in hospital learning to walk and talk again, and the burden I was on the NHS.
During the Labour government a coffin was being built for public services. The Tory-Liberal cuts are an attempt to finish that coffin. You're OK if you're rich but if you're low paid and in the public sector you are about to lose everything unless you go to where the work is. And that means getting on your bike and going to live in India or China because that is where our factories have gone.
It's not easy being on benefits. I've survived on one meal a day for many years. I have served on 30 local and council committees to help people worse off than me. I don't believe in getting something for nothing, so I try to put back what I can.
A big nail in the coffin of our living standards will come in January with the VAT rise.
Today, I live in social housing in Coventry. In a couple of years, because of benefit cuts and rent rises, I could be living on a street or in a field.
So I say to working people when you are facing a decision about whether to fight back against the government onslaught, go home and look at all you have got and think about what you will lose if you don't fight for it.
To trade unions, I say get together and act as one. Don't be blackmailed because politicians are like wolves and they will try to divide and conquer. Probably not one Labour, not one Tory, not one Lib Dem MP will lose their jobs and the bankers will still get their bonuses at the cost of the public sector. We have no option but to fight back.
In The Socialist 3 November 2010:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis