Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1014/28105
From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2018
Universal credit = universal misery
Universal credit is the latest in a series of general attacks on the working class causing mass anger, photo by Judy Beishon (Click to enlarge)
Tories in retreat...
Build a mass fightback to boot them out
Hapless Prime Minister Theresa May, at the recent Tory party conference, threw a bone to the public by declaring 'the end of austerity is in sight'. If you're on the receiving end of Universal Credit (UC) it probably feels like you'll need to use the Hubble telescope!
This mean-minded, vindictive 'reform' is being rolled out across the country with the pledge that more benefit claimants will be better off. Yet researchers for Policy in Practice found that millions of households will have their benefits cut by an average of £52 a week - the difference between having a roof over your head or living on the streets. For disabled claimants the average loss rises to £76 a week.
Feeling the hot breath of public anger on their necks, the Tories have partially retreated by delaying its full roll-out and by cushioned 'transitional arrangements' - but they haven't yet scrapped it.
And for those already on UC, having to wait for up to five weeks or more for payment is forcing claimants into debt and despair. The biggest foodbank in the country reckons that 24% of the million plus people they help are there because of lengthy delays in UC payment.
Of course, this government (and previous ones) didn't delay in handing over billions and billions of pounds to the failed bankers to keep them luxuriating in their super-rich lifestyles.
And anyway, why is it that millions of working households are forced, cap in hand, to claim UC in the first place?
It's because of the universal blight of low pay and soaring rents. In other words, the public purse is being used to subsidise scrooge bosses and rip-off landlords.
To end this nonsense we need to boot out the Tories and make the tax-dodging companies pay up. And if they won't, then a Corbyn government should nationalise them.
There should also be rent cuts and rent controls reintroduced. A minimum wage of at least £10 an hour should be brought in. For those who still need them, benefits should be enough to live on without having to decide whether to eat or to heat the home on any day.
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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.
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- 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 17 October 2018:
What we think
Tories' Brexit bust-up - general election now
Universal credit = universal misery
New anti-poll tax type revolt needed today
Homeless driven from Windsor streets for royal wedding: abolish the monarchy and end homelessness now!
Toxic fracking gets the go-ahead while protesters jailed
No to fat-cat top judges' £59k pay hike - fight for decent pay for criminal justice workers
Tory and Trump hypocrisy over murder of Saudi Arabian journalist
Fully fund mental health services now
PCS union: nominate Chris Baugh as Left Unity candidate for assistant general secretary
Striking Brum home carers reject 'final' pay cut offer
South Western rail workers launch five-day safety strike to save guards
Uber drivers strike against unfair 'deactivation' and low pay
Bolton hospital workers strike
Grimethorpe dinner ladies stage all-out strike against redundancy
Cable makers' pay strike bites as production falls 33%
Newham finance staff fight pay and grading insult
International socialist news and analysis
Libres y Combativas: striking for women's rights in the Spanish state
The renewed relevance of Engels' classic Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Demo against far-right DFLA
Socialism - the podcast offering Marxist analysis for the movement against capitalism
'Corbyn-council' faces a choice: Implement or fight the cuts
Devon foster carers fight 30% cut in allowances
De Montfort freshers stall
Peterloo film exposes bloody nature of capitalism
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