Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/754/16228

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 February 2013

Will the Tories play the benefits card?

Mary Jackson, TUSC Mayoral candidate, Doncaster

Another bright idea that the Conservatives came up with recently is to pay people's benefits on a card that restricts what it can be spent on. This idea shows the contempt Tories have for the working class and their misunderstanding of 21st century life.

The idea was floated, in a parliamentary bill from Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke, to replace benefits payments with a welfare card. It was discarded before Christmas.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith distanced himself from the scheme (though he said he might consider it for registered addicts). But, two months later, thanks to the self-styled 'left of centre' think-tank Demos, it's again a possibility.

Demos says that the imminent arrival of universal credit is likely to accelerate the need for digital payment. It urges caution against routinely restricting use of benefits, but calls for a full public debate as to how any such restrictions should be drawn.

The original proposals would have restricted the use of benefits payments to prevent purchase of 'luxuries' such as alcohol, tobacco or TV subscriptions. Demos brought this back to the drawing board. But if they had any idea of the reality for benefit claimants they would be arguing for wages and benefits to be increased.

I work in an advice agency and help people manage their finances, often by drawing up a financial statement showing income and expenditure. People trapped into the cycle of unemployment and low pay, (topped up with tax credits), do not spend their money on alcohol and tobacco or subscription TV.

Debt

They spend money on food, clothes, water, gas and electricity bills, TV licence, travel to work for the low paid, school trips for the kids (though often they cannot afford to let their children go on trips). Rarely are 'luxury' items listed, overwhelmingly it's 'essential' debt like fuel or water bills. The truth is benefits are not enough to live on.

There are others who do have a TV subscription (still within the contract period so payments need to be made even if the service is cancelled), credit card debt, payday loans. But these mainly belong to people who had decent paid jobs but are part of the hundreds of thousands thrown on the dole by public sector cuts or through the recession since 2008.

The Con-Dem government has already put through council tax benefit cuts, tax credit cuts, housing benefit caps, bedroom tax, disability benefit cuts and the end of the social fund. We live with a scandalous lack of full-time work, falling wages and rising rents, energy and food costs.

This cannot be tolerated. A mass campaign is needed against the 'bedroom' tax and cuts to council tax benefit. So is a one-day general strike as a first step in protecting our, often quite dismal, quality of life and to safeguard essential services. It's time to stop the rot!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 27 February 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Austerity... Anger... Action!

Resist all attacks on trade union facility time

The Work Programme isn't working

Will the Tories play the benefits card?

Foodbank figures reveal reality of austerity

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Big response for Workers' and Socialist Party

Italian election - Results resolve nothing


Socialist Party workplace news

Oil tanker drivers show their industrial strength

Socialists strengthened on NUT executive

London workers lobby GLA about cuts and conditions

Housing support - workers and service users under attack

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Councillors must fight attacks on council services

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: building an anti-cuts electoral voice

Hull: build an unstoppable force

Campaigning against the cuts

East Midlands Ambulance Service

Marching against cuts in Coventry

Socialist Party 2013 congress

Socialist Party Scotland conference


Socialist history

45 years since the Ford Dagenham strike: women workers still fighting for decent pay


Readers' comments

Should socialists support GM foods?

A busy day in the life of a 'shirker'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 February 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Benefits:

triangleTory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

triangleWaltham Forest Universal Credit protest

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleEnd Tory war on poor

Tories:

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleThousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

Tax:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

Cuts:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

Debt:

triangleTunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/1/18

Labour

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

17/1/18

Trump

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

17/1/18

NHS

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2