Hands off the Universal Credit uplift

Fight for a system that puts need before profit

photo JJ Ellison/CC

photo JJ Ellison/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Lindsey Morgan, Leicester Socialist Party

The government doesn’t seem to want to budge on removing the £1,000 a year uplift to Universal Credit (UC). It says that it was only meant as a temporary measure. Tory work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey is “entirely happy” with the cut and thinks workers on UC can work an extra two hours to make up the difference. Clearly she is entirely clueless; any worker on UC who increases their income would have their benefits reduced accordingly!

The pandemic hasn’t ended yet. The increases in bills and food prices aren’t going away because most adults are now vaccinated. We’ve had letters telling us that yet again electric and gas prices are going up from 1 October. Without the minimal UC boost, many of us are going to be choosing between heating and eating again.

The Fabian Society think tank did some research and found that the worst-hit by the cut will be working families with children, which make up two-thirds of those falling below the poverty line. Throw in the piss-take of increasing national insurance by 1.25%, and it’s painfully clear that the Tories and the capitalists they represent want to take us for all we have and make us pay the price of Covid.

We already did that when we lost friends and family members that worked through the pandemic or our elderly relatives dying in care homes. We’ve paid enough. We need to force the super-rich who have gained during the pandemic to pay now.

We need an immediate increase in the minimum wage. 37% of UC claimants are in work. Work should pay enough to live on. The benefit system needs a complete overhaul. This must include keeping the Universal Credit uplift and paying the back pay to those on legacy benefits who didn’t receive the increase in the first place.

According to the Financial Times, just a one-off 5% wealth tax would raise £262 billion. Taxing the rich would be a welcome start. But we need to go further and take into public ownership the commanding heights of the economy – the top 150 businesses, including the banks – and run these under democratic workers’ control and management. Then we could guarantee the resources that are needed to really improve the lives of working-class people.

This will take a united struggle of our class, organised and ready to transform society on a socialist basis. We don’t need temporary measures, but a permanent end to the capitalist profit system.