Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2013

Tories and press use Philpott case to attack 'welfare culture'

The truth about life on benefits

Nobody can but feel horror and sadness at the deaths of six children, killed in a fire set by their father Michael Philpott.

However, the Con-Dem government, egged on by the baying of the press, has sunk to a new low in attempting to link this tragedy to a so-called 'culture of benefit'.

It's no coincidence that it was during the same week as a number of the benefit cuts came into effect that Chancellor George Osborne said of the case: "I think there is a question for government and for society about the welfare state, and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state, subsidising lifestyles like that."

But of course the welfare state has nothing to do with what happened to the Philpott children. When, in 2008, millionaire Christopher Foster killed his wife and daughter and then set fire to his 1.2 million mansion following the collapse of a Cyprus property deal, there were no cries for measures to control the rich or investigations into the machinations of property speculators.

Yet the press and the Tories have latched onto this tragedy to have yet another go at demonising the poor and attacking the already shattered benefits system.

An advice worker explains what life on benefits is really like:

I work for an advice agency covering three of the poorest areas of Liverpool and the country. There is crime in the area, which mainly hurts the poorest but is also the crime of poverty - petty theft, drugs and gang violence largely carried out by youth abandoned by government nationally and betrayed by the local council.

Even according to the Daily Mail, there are only 200 families with ten or more children claiming benefits - a drop in the ocean compared to the millions handed out to bankers or uncollected in tax owed by the rich.

Benefit fraud, by the government's own figures, costs under 1 billion - 0.7% of payments. Tax evasion costs over 70 billion.

So what are the government doing? Rather than increase the number of tax inspectors and collectors, they are attacking the civil services and cutting benefits.

Tax evasion

On the same day that tax cuts for the rich gave away 1 billion, over 650,000 tenants were threatened with eviction for not being able to pay the 'bedroom tax' - a saving of just 465 million.

Thousands on housing benefit will have to pay more towards their Council Tax - saving the government just 480 million.

Overwhelmingly, the problems faced by the people coming to the agency where I work are those of being thrown off Employment Support Allowance and Jobseeker's Allowance through sanctions - such as the disabled man called for an interview in an office accessible only by climbing some stairs, or the job seeker told that applying for 20 jobs in a week was not enough, or the man whose legs had been amputated due to diabetes who was told he should "bum" his way up and down his stairs. Or the people desperate for food vouchers because their benefit has been delayed.


In its wisdom the government has now transferred claims from the Social Fund - loans or crisis payments - to the city council, from a freephone number to a payment line.

There, claimants are told that details of any loan or payment they get will be sent to their computer or mobile phone.

Government statistics have shown that those most in need have neither a computer nor mobile - or no credit on the phone if they do.

So the poorest and most desperate must find the money to phone a friend to take the details, and wait until a decision is made as to whether they will eat that day or not.

This is a picture of parents going without food to feed their children, of people being forced out of the homes they have lived in for 20 or 30 years, of people losing their benefits and terrified of what the future holds and how they will find the money for food, rent and heating.

Rather than further benefits cuts, we need decent education in properly equipped schools, proper jobs on a living wage, as part of a socialist programme to rebuild the economy.

In the short term, that means a new, mass, campaigning workers' party that could give some hope and direction to those on benefits terrified of the future and living a life of uncertainty, poverty and deprivation.

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

In The Socialist 10 April 2013:

Thatcher's death

Now let's bury Thatcher's legacy

Thatcher: a class warrior for capitalism

Thatcher's death: readers respond 1

Thatcher death: readers respond 2

Socialist Party news and analysis

Halt the Thatcherite onslaught - TUC must call a 24-hour general strike!

Con-Dems' latest cruel cut: Disability Living Allowance

HBOS scandal is just the tip of the iceberg

Tories and press use Philpott case to attack 'welfare culture'

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Warrington: Suspended for fighting the cuts

Doncaster: 60 at Mary4Mayor rally

Greater Manchester: Stop extermination of our NHS

Cheltenham marches against A&E cuts

'Forced out of work, forced out of Spain'

The bedroom tax

Beat the rotten bedroom tax

Bedroom tax: Can't pay - determined to stay!

International socialist news and analysis

Fears of a nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula increase

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS plans more action

Pickets discuss coordinated strikes

Fight the attacks on NHS working conditions

Unison NEC elections: Vote for a fighting democratic union

PCS elections: vote Democracy Alliance/Left Unity

Socialist Party review

Hillsborough - never forgotten


Home   |   The Socialist 10 April 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleWaltham Forest Universal Credit protest

triangleDriving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

triangleEnd Tory war on poor

triangleDisability cuts outrage: my story


triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The fight for the welfare state

triangleChild poverty set to hit 5.2m - unions and Corbyn must act now

triangleUniversal Credit chaos: Tories punish the poor

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts


triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTrump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

Welfare state:

triangle"Austerity hurts and the only alternative is socialism"

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded



Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme



Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers



Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system



RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks



Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests



End Tory war on poor



Nationalise rail now


Them & Us

Them & us



Tory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices



Make the Tories history



Birmingham bin workers win!


British economy

Amber warning lights flash on British economy



After the budget - unions must launch pay fight


Climate change

Carbon dioxide hits 800,000-year high: end profit-driven pollution

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

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



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice