Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, credit: Paul Mattsson (uploaded 05/11/2008)
Lone parents need decent wages and benefits, credit: Paul Mattsson (uploaded 05/11/2008)

“There’s already that palpable sense of rebellion”, was how a BBC reporter described the atmosphere at Tory party conference. The Liz Truss government has made it clear that it is prepared to put more money into the pockets of the super-rich, but at the time of writing Truss has refused to rule out real-terms benefit cuts.

She has a long history of advocating cutting the government’s benefits bill, but the question is: Will she get away with it? Even cabinet ministers are contradicting her in interviews.

With costs rising and increasing numbers facing a winter of hunger and cold, even some Tories are opposed to a real-terms cut in Universal Credit. Or rather, they are scared of the prospect of their re-election hopes getting slimmer if six million claimants see their incomes squeezed further.

Survival on Universal Credit is already a struggle, made worse by the benefits cap, also frozen despite inflation, and by the plans to force part-time workers to take on more hours.

40% of Universal Credit claimants are already in work, either so low-paid that benefits are needed to survive or unable to work full-time due to childcare availability and costs, or other caring responsibilities.

Rather than forcing people into deeper financial difficulties, a minimum wage of £15 an hour, free childcare and social care services to meet need, would mean hundreds of thousands of workers would no longer need benefits. The Socialist Party fights to scrap the benefits cap and for an immediate permanent uplift in benefits, with regular rises to keep pace with the rising cost of living.