Photo JJ Ellison/CC, credit: JJ Ellison/CC (uploaded 02/01/2019)
Photo JJ Ellison/CC, credit: JJ Ellison/CC (uploaded 02/01/2019)

Fight for the living wages and benefits that we need!

John Williams, Cardiff East Socialist Party

Andrew Cooper, defeated Conservative candidate for the Tamworth by-election, defended sharing a Facebook post telling jobless parents who cannot feed their children to “fuck off” if they still pay a £30 phone bill. Shockingly, but not surprisingly, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to condemn him, ignoring struggling families and child poverty, instead patting himself on the back for the ‘achievements’ of thirteen years of Tory rule.

What this Tory candidate seemingly doesn’t realise, probably because him and his party are so out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people, is that children aren’t going hungry because their parents are paying £30 a month for their phone contract. When looking for a job and receiving Universal Credit, a phone with mobile data is necessary. Claimants are required to be contacted at short notice for interviews, to receive security codes to log in to Universal Credit accounts, and spend a minimum amount of time online looking for jobs.

There are around 2.3 million working people who receive Universal Credit payments of some sort, about 40% of claimants have jobs, according to Universal Credit’s statistics. This shows how low wages are and that the government knows, for a lot of people, wages on their own aren’t enough. One decade of Tory rule saw the biggest decrease in wages in real terms since the Napoleonic era!

But would a Starmer-led Labour government have a different attitude to those struggling to make ends meet? Keir Starmer has said Labour will keep the hated two-chid cap on working tax credits. Abolishing the cap would cost £1.3 billion a year, (a drop in the ocean considering the amount of wealth that exists in society) and could help lift 250,000 children out of poverty.

We need a new mass workers’ party fundamentally different from the pro-capitalist parties of the establishment. One that will fight for the minimum wage to be £15 an hour for all, for wage rises at least in line with inflation, and for out-of-work benefits and pensions to also rise with the cost of living.