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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 December 2008

In brief

Welfare to profit

Attacks on benefits paid to lone parents and disabled people will feature in the Queen's speech to parliament this week. As previously reported in The Socialist, the government's new Welfare Reform Bill will penalise lone parents with children as young as one, partners of people claiming benefits with children under seven and incapacity benefit claimants who are deemed to be capable of working.

Previously the government said that lone parents with children aged over seven must seek work or lose benefits. Now they have introduced a new category of claimants - the 'progression to work' group - whose children are over one year.

To oversee this harassment, the government will outsource claimants' personal advisers from the DWP, thereby allowing private companies to profit from the unemployed and the disabled.

Crisis loans

New Labour priorities are clear. If you are a fat-cat bank looking for emergency money, your application is quickly approved as witnessed by the £37 billion lent to RBS, Lloyds TSB and HBOS last month.

If, however, you are poor, in desperate need and apply for an emergency crisis loan from the Social Fund, you may not be so fortunate.

Last year saw a 40% increase in crisis loan applications, with applications from workers on low incomes rising to a total of 2.5 million. In the past six months 300,000 (19%) of all applications were rejected. Emergency crisis loans are used for such luxuries as food and heating.

Work till you drop

Half a million people hope to retire this year, relying on their personal pension to top up their inadequate state pension. But the economic downturn of capitalism means that pension pot values have fallen in the past year by a staggering 25%-40%. This fall means that many will have to seek employment in their old age to get a living income.

Thanks to Rob Bishop

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In The Socialist 3 December 2008:


Job losses

Fight back now against job cuts

Woolworths jobs threat

Fighting the threatened closure of Hoover factory


Environment and socialism

Our planet not their profit


Socialist Party editorial

India and Pakistan conflict

Terror mayhem strikes Mumbai


Socialist Party campaigns

Judiciary challenged over the right to protest

Building a left wing political alternative

Southampton uni students fight fees

Liverpool: mobilising against the far right

In brief


Comment

Social workers demand proper resources

Secondary education: PFI's gloss soon peels away


Socialist Party LGBT

Fighting homophobia


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Crisis-hit capitalism fears prospect of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela elections: Chávez wins victory but opposition gains ground


Marxist analysis: history

The Isle of Man general strike 1918: Workers' power paralysed government


Socialist Party news and analysis

Help fund the alternative to big business politics

Socialist women: Looking at the past to take action today


Housing crisis

Stop the repossessions

New Labour's housing crisis


Socialist Party workplace news

Vote 'no' to BT's pension cuts

A Christmas message from the Unite leadership

Dover docks strikes

Appledore shipyard


 

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