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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2011

Stop the government austerity juggernaut

Simon Carter

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show business secretary Vince Cable hypocritically reiterated the government's line that "the most vulnerable people in society should be protected in these very difficult conditions." Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg had earlier said the government would "not balance the books on the backs of the poor."

Odd then that ministers are considering ending the rise in benefits linked to inflation and threatening to cut benefits to the working poor if claimants don't work longer hours.

What the government ignores is the fact that many workers (a record 1.25 million workers) have been forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs.

Chancellor George Osborne, according to the Financial Times, is looking into only increasing benefits in line with average earnings growth (around 2.5%) instead of inflation (5.2% in September), or simply freezing payments.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies calculates that freezing all benefits and pensions would save the government 10 billion and linking benefits to wage increases would save 5 billion.

Clearly the government is looking to hammer the poor to plug the budget deficit caused by bank bailouts and shrinking tax revenues.

In 2013, under new government rules, those working 16 hours a week who can currently claim housing and childcare benefits without further conditions, will be expected to work 35 hours a week and raise their weekly earning to 212.80 or lose benefits.

Single parents with children between five and 13 years will be forced to raise their working hours to 20 a week, with the target of earning 120.

These changes will make the current welfare regime more draconian than most countries in Europe and the USA.

Given the high levels of unemployment due to the government's cuts and the economic downturn inevitably many more vulnerable and poor people will become victims of the government's austerity juggernaut.

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In The Socialist 16 November 2011:


Fighting the cuts

Strike together, Protest together, Win together

Defend the right to strike and protest

All out together on 30 November


Socialist Party workplace news

Southampton - opposing all the cuts

Police kettle electricians

Electricians march to defend pay and conditions

Sparks battle pay cuts

Reinstate Vik Chechi

Workplace news in brief


Socialist history

The first shop stewards movement


International socialist news and analysis

Berlusconi quits as debt crisis hits eurozone's third largest economy

End the dictatorship of the markets!

Irish Socialist MEP Paul Murphy speaks out: solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza will continue


Socialist Party news and analysis

Murdochgate scandal shows need for democratic and accountable media

Stop the government austerity juggernaut

Jobs crisis - 'We can't afford capitalism'!

Fast news


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

NHS under attack

Wales: Fight the NHS cuts

Thousands say no to fees, cuts and privatisation

Riot cops assault Occupy protesters

Cardiff occupation evicted


The Socialist - Readers' comments

Cuts kill - Poverty, despair and a suicide pact

Poppy mania for bosses...


 

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