End low pay and poverty benefits

Cut tax scroungers, not benefits, photo Socialist Party Wales

Cut tax scroungers, not benefits, photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Lindsey Morgan, Leicester Socialist Party

The Tory government has said it will scrap the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit (UC) in the autumn. This is despite the fact that six former work and pensions secretaries disagree, and the widespread public support to keep it.

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell called the uplift introduced during the pandemic, a ‘handout’ and said: “I think there are people that quite like getting the extra handout but maybe don’t need it”. 37% of people on Universal Credit are in work; their piss-poor wages from greedy bosses topped up by our tax money.

That twenty quid, which is just a snack out for the rich, is the difference between stocked-up cupboards, or electricity on the meter, or travel costs to work for many.

If you’re on UC you need every penny you get. Taking away this money will hit the most vulnerable the hardest yet again. We are not only demanding that the £20 uplift stays, but that it be extended to all those on legacy benefits who have missed out on this money. This includes a huge number of long-term disabled claimants who are still claiming Employment Support Allowance.

Many people who have been ill long term were unable to risk shopping around for bargains, and had to spend more on shopping locally rather than risk contracting Covid-19 in the big supermarkets. Despite the Tory lies, we had many increased expenses due to Covid-19, including the cost of teaching our kids at home.

Tory lies

They make it sound like the money is a favour; benevolently gifted, but no longer needed. In every way that’s a lie. As furlough ends and more people end up out of work or in lower-paid work, we need as much financial support as we can get. Trade unions must have a leading role in the fight to keep the uplift, end poverty pay, and increase the level of benefits. The Unite Community-led day of action on 15 July must be a start. But we can’t depend on the heartless Tories to see sense, or to understand the long-term threat to their system a weak benefits system contributes to.

A well overdue long-term overhaul of the benefit system is needed, a real living wage of £12 an hour as a step towards £15, and a united class battle against the bosses who pit workers and the unemployed against each other in a ‘race to the bottom’.

We need to take the wealth for ourselves by nationalising the top 150 companies and big banks under democratic workers control and management. As part of a socialist plan the wealth can be used to end low pay and poverty benefits for good.

News, Welfare and benefits