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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 October 2012

Tory cuts will increase child poverty

Alex Davidson
Kick out the Con-Dems: on the TUC demo 20 October 2012, photo Senan

Kick out the Con-Dems: on the TUC demo 20 October 2012, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Duncan Smith, Tory minister for work and pensions, has again revealed the clear class warfare at the heart of the coalition government's policies.

He wants to limit child benefit to two children for unemployed parents. The government's own figures show that this would save only 200 million, a mere fraction of the 120 billion that the PCS union has calculated is lost every year in tax evasion by the very richest in the UK.

To justify himself, Duncan Smith has used the usual propaganda of unemployed families of more than ten people living off the tax payer.

As with everything else the government uses to try and excuse itself, this conjures a huge myth. In truth less than 5% of those on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and income support have more than three children and over 65% of them have no children at all.

The Tory press has been full of myths of the 'feckless poor' for decades and we should not forget that the previous New Labour government also quite shamelessly demonised benefit recipients.

The effect of this attack will be devastating. The Tories' mantra that "work makes you free" (an actual quote from Duncan Smith) is completely at odds with the reality of there being over 2.5 million people unemployed and just under 500,000 vacancies.

So even if every single job was taken tomorrow there would still be over two million unemployed.

As the Child Poverty Action Group notes, 90% of people will leave JSA after being on it for between six to 12 months.

There is, therefore, exceedingly little evidence of this huge number of people refusing to take work that is available.

Child poverty in the UK is already at 27% and contrary to the Tory myth the majority of these families have parents who are in work.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group there will be 300,000 more children living in poverty by 2015 if current government policies continue.

New Labour has shown that, yet again, it is unwilling to act for working class families who are under threat from the Tories' policies.

It is down to the trade unions and socialists to lead a fight back. There must be a trade union-led campaign in defence of the welfare state and against the lies spread by the political establishment to divide poor and working class people from each other.

If we do not fight back against this government of the rich it will be our children who will suffer.

Alex is the Trade Unionist and Socialist collation candidate for the 15 November by-election in Manchester Central. See www.tusc.org.uk

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