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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2013

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Con-Dems have no solutions to unemployment

Dan Crowter, Coventry Socialist Party

On budget day, the latest unemployment figures were published and showed yet another increase in the number of people out of work.

Rather than offering any solution, the three main parties continue to attack the unemployed.

For example, the Con-Dems' 'workfare bill' went through the House of Commons easily, as all but 44 Labour MPs obeyed the leadership and abstained.

The bill was rushed through in response to the High Court's ruling that the way workfare was implemented is illegal.

This meant that the government owed compensation to around 150,000 jobseekers who had taken part in the scheme, which forced them to work for free for private companies or risk losing their unemployment benefits.

Labour

Unlike most laws the bill will be applied retrospectively so the government can ignore the ruling and refuse to repay any benefits that were sanctioned.

Labour is facing a growing backlash from inside and outside its ranks as a result of their disgraceful decision to abstain, with many members calling for shadow Work and Pensions minister Liam Byrne to resign. It has once again been shown that New Labour doesn't represent working class people.

Hundreds of people have said online that they won't vote Labour again, and some Labour activists have resigned or threatened to resign - they should get involved in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) instead.

It has also recently been revealed that jobcentres have been setting targets and "league tables" for how many benefit claimants they've sanctioned, despite repeated statements from the government and the Department for Work and Pensions that there were no targets in place.

Emails sent by a local manager referred to a "league table", which the Guardian reports "could only have been drawn up through information provided by senior managers in the DWP".

The email also threatened disciplinary action against staff deemed to be "not delivering". This sort of pressure on staff, and the attitude within the DWP of suspicion towards claimants, is unacceptable.

The trade unions must campaign for real jobs - not workfare - and for benefits that are enough to live on without bullying for claimants or staff.

The Socialist Party calls for a mass programme of job creation - house building, infrastructure development and investment in public services - as the only way to solve unemployment.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 27 March 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!

NUT conference: Serious attacks require serious action

Cameron whips up immigration fears to divide movement against austerity

What does the budget really mean for the housing crisis?

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Them & Us: Budget special


International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus bailout: Return of the eurozone crisis

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS budget day strike - M20

Thera care workers prepare for action

Striking against the 'fast track to the sack'

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex university occupation: 'they say privatise - we fight back and organise'

Why we're standing for TUSC

Sick of Your Boss gets going in London

Fighting the cuts: Birmingham and Exeter

Socialist Party appeals


The Socialist: readers' comments

Disability hate crimes - accomplices and victims

Danger: New secret courts in Britain


 

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