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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2017

Families to have 15,000 debt by 2020 - trade union action needed

Bills

Bills   (Click to enlarge)

John Williams, Cardiff East Socialist Party

The average family will be around 15,000 in debt by 2020, says the Trade Union Congress.

Over 95% of working-age people in Britain are in work. How come so many are in poverty and debt?

I remember as a young child, both my parents who were in full-time work, and had child benefit for their three children. They were forced to get loans and put themselves in debt continually.

The irony of loans, of course, is that they push poorer people into even more poverty, and make the richest even richer. In my childhood, it got to the point where my parents were too ashamed to answer the door to debt collectors. We were like prisoners in our own home.

A growing number of families across Britain have had to use overdrafts, pay-day loans and credit cards just to make ends meet. How is it that in the fifth wealthiest country in the world our wages have fallen at a rate comparable to Greece?

Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that it's a "rigged economy" that the Conservatives defend. Giving tax breaks to big corporations and the super-rich, selling off public services and subsidising private companies to take them over.

Us in the Socialist Party welcome Corbyn's promised reform. A higher minimum wage, forcing the richest to pay more to fund a stronger welfare state, and his workers' charter to give us more power at work.

Whether he wins the election or not, the trade unions will need to take action to make good on all this. A Corbyn-led government would be an important step forward.

But only a collective fightback led by the organised working class can ensure that all of us can lead richer lives - for the many, not the few.

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