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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2016

End the Tories' war on the working poor

TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Dave Murray, Socialist Party Eastern region

In the 19th century, Walter Bagehot, a constitutional scholar, said: "Poverty is an anomaly to rich people; it is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell."

For working people in the UK today poverty is becoming a normality, just as it was in Bagehot's time.

According to a recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) 55% of poor people now live in working households - for the first time on record.

While wages haven't risen since 2005 for most people, housing costs have rocketed as private landlords have muscled into the housing market, and the welfare safety net has had great holes cut in it.

Women and young people make up a majority of workers who are in poverty, and almost half of poor households include a disabled adult. Poverty has no commitment to equal opportunities.

The report warns that the coming reduction in the benefits cap will pitch 90,000 families into extreme poverty.

In a previous report JRF noted that while the incomes of the bottom 10% in society have reduced, the incomes of the top 10% have gone up.

JRF is a charity, however, and it would be uncharitable of them to embarrass the government, or indeed the obscenely rich 0.1% who stand behind that government

That's why, in this report, they do no more than mildly request a benefits system that works to prevent poverty. But this ignores the fact that every government since 1979 has worked in the opposite direction.

For socialists the report's findings show that we need to issue a less gentle warning to the government, employers and housing profiteers: we are coming for you!

We want a minimum wage of 10 an hour without exemptions, we want rent controls and rent reductions, we want an end to zero-hour contracts and full rights at work, and we want to be able to live like human beings when we can't work. We are campaigning for these basic demands and more besides.

More importantly, we want a democratically planned economy and an end to the poverty and inequality generated by capitalism - we want a socialist future!

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 14 December 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS crisis: we're fighting back!

End the Tories' war on the working poor

Amazon workers living in tents

Pfizer drug extortion - nationalise big pharma!

Trust in politicians reaches all-time low

No to home seizures for care bills

Them & Us


What we think

Establishment EU crisis deepens - fight for a socialist Brexit


A socialist programme for education

What kind of education?

Education for all - not exam factories


International socialist news and analysis

CWI: opportunities for substantial growth


Workplace news and analysis

Glasgow Labour leaders deluged with protests

Victory for UPS parcel workers

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs and pensions

Bin workers strike against draconian management

Derby TAs to strike against pay cut

Southern: back the strike, nationalise the railways!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Birmingham Labour: Corbyn supporters need not apply

The Socialist Party and fighting women's oppression

Doncaster: cuts give rise to 'tent city'

Scrooge Tory council confronted over treatment of homeless


Comment and review

It's the bumper Socialist 2016 quiz!

2016 sounds for your stocking

The Socialist Inbox


 

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