Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 December 2013

Them & Us

Universal fiasco

Universal Credit (UC), the brainchild of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, is in meltdown even before its launch.

The 2 billion project, with its 'simplified monthly payments' to replace five existing benefit schemes and 'save millions of pounds', is so behind schedule and full of IT glitches that it won't be paid to an estimated 700,000 claimants after a planned 2017 deadline.

Make no mistake, UC isn't designed to "simplify" an archaic benefits system, it is designed by the Con-Dems with tougher eligibility criteria to cut further social welfare at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

Already, under the government's pilot scheme, benefit claimants are having to borrow money from family and payday loan sharks in order to survive through the month.

Austere times

Remember 'Big Dave' Cameron's "we'll all in it together" rallying cry as his government pushed through the biggest austerity programme in living memory? Yes, we're all still laughing, cynically!

But, apparently, some people have taken the message to heart, including Princess Michael of Kent. The "Pushy Princess" has cut back by not eating out in restaurants. "That's too extravagant".

Instead, "we invite people here [Kensington Palace]. I cook. Well, if I'm giving a dinner party I get help". Luckily, her bijou palace pad only costs her 70 a month in rent, so that should cut down the housing benefit claim.

And forget about taking the luxury limo for a spin, it's public transport for now on. "I love easyJet", says the frugal aristo. "It's the only direct route to Biarritz". And yet, some people continue to knock the royalty...

Struggling to survive

Food on the table or heat the home? Increasingly for many low-income households it's less food to eat.

A Real Life Reform survey found that such households in October were spending a miniscule 2.10 a day, per person, (down from 3.27 in July) on groceries as many had run out of cash after paying essential items such as rocketing energy bills.

Increasing numbers of people are also relying on food banks to feed themselves each week. And, as this column pointed out in the last issue, personal debt has soared as people are forced to use rip-off credit cards and payday loans to buy essentials.

Housing lockout

According to the National Housing Federation the number of working people claiming housing benefit has soared by 109% since the 2009 recession.

The Federation also points out that half of people's disposable income is paid out in rent and that this figure will rise to a staggering 57% in ten years' time.

Moreover, by 2020 house prices will have risen by an unaffordable 35% 'locking out home ownership forever', it added.

So who's benefitting? The NHF says that the government's 24 billion expenditure on housing benefit is simply going to line the pockets of private landlords rather than into building new houses.

It also points out that in England alone 240,000 new homes are needed each year but that between 2009 and 2013 house building fell by 10% to 107,000.

What we saw

2013 Scrooge award?

One of the most famous Christmas stories is 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, in which Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly banker who pays poverty wages, is shown the true spirit of Christmas by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Poor Bob Cratchit, his bookkeeper, has to beg Scrooge to be allowed Christmas Day off work.

But even Dickens didn't foresee the real ghost of Christmas future. This advert can be seen on the underground for the Dickens museum in London:

"A Very Dickensian Christmas

Join us in 2013 for the most Dickensian Christmas London can offer!

Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day"

Paula Mitchell

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

In The Socialist 11 December 2013:

International socialist news and analysis

After Mandela: The struggle must continue

Cameron 'kowtows' to Chinese dictatorship

Socialist Students

Cops Off Campus: NUS must call a national demonstration now!

Socialist Party news and analysis

Osborne's budget statement - work 'til you drop or fight back!

Reactions to the Autumn Statement

Fight for our NHS: Public health, not private profit

Struggling workers say 'fight poverty pay'!

Austerity and the new working poor

Them & Us

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Floods: "Daddy, there's water on the floor"

Swansea councillors: which side are you on?

Why I've donated to the Socialist Party Christmas appeal

Obituary: Joel Lane, 1963-2013

Message to our readers and contributors

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in byelections


Home   |   The Socialist 11 December 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleJoin the Orgreave Halloween rally

triangleTheresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

triangleThem & Us

triangleBending the knee v Trump


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleEast London summit fails to address housing crisis

Housing benefit:

triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

triangleYoung people...fight for a future, fight for socialist policies

triangleOne in three borrow for rent, Corbyn pledges housing revolution


triangleThe end of the Tories?

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity


triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Justice for Tube cleaners demo



Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



Workplace news in brief


Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



Too much to cross the Mersey


Royal Mail

Set for national strike action



Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

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



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