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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

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

Simon Carter

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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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 17 October 2018:


What we think

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News

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Workplace news

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


Engels

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

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Opinion

Peterloo film exposes bloody nature of capitalism

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Universal Credit:

triangleMake the super-rich pay, not the poorest

triangleNo surprise, poverty is rising

triangleWhat will the spending review mean for me?

triangleDon't let Tories starve our kids

triangleTV: Council House Britain

Claimants:

triangleFilm: 'Sick' - 'They've got people looking in the wrong direction'

trianglePCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

triangleJobcentre reopening: only union struggle will put safety first

triangleBenefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces

Tories:

triangleTories tout toilet tensions

triangleTories target universities in free speech shakedown

triangleTories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

Benefits:

trianglePoverty wages: When workers can't afford to self-isolate

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

Government:

triangleFacebook v Australian government: nationalise the bosses' media!

Households:

triangleBig Energy piles on the misery

Austerity:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: The TUSC anti-austerity challenge in the Welsh parliament

Debt:

triangleGlobal capitalism at most dangerous conjuncture since the 1930s

Minimum wage:

triangleGarment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage

Low pay:

triangleLondon bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours

Rents:

triangleScrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant

Cuts:

triangleSave John Carroll Leisure Centre

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