Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/559/6685
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.
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
In The Socialist 3 December 2008:
Environment and socialism
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Marxist analysis: history
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