Tories plunge millions further into poverty with Universal Credit cut

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

£6 billion has been ripped from the hands of working-class people through the removal of the £20 Universal Credit (UC) uplift. With an ongoing cost of living crisis, the loss of a grand a year will hit pockets hard this winter. Many low-paid workers, including many of the carers that risked their lives and got claps in return, will face hardship as costs go up. Food banks, which shouldn’t be needed in the first place, are bracing themselves for demand to massively outstrip the supplies they are given, often by people with barely any money to spare themselves.

The government, in its unceasing and unrelenting wisdom, has yet again decided that paying any more money to feed children is immoral. So instead of £6 billion, they have set up a £500 million ‘Household Support Fund’, managed by local authorities, to give to people who can’t afford essentials such as heating and eating. In itself this is an admission of the poverty we’ll be plunged further into.

Councils’ already stretched services will be responsible for finding those who need the money. The people they will find will be those known to services already and local authorities could easily miss those who are most in need. Long-term cuts to council budgets, and the refusal from Labour councils to implement no-cuts budgets, means devastated local services will be under even more pressure.

Our households need much more than what many have described as a temporary sticking plaster. We need ongoing financial support: through a £15-an-hour minimum wage and the immediate reinstatement of the UC uplift. That money shouldn’t be given to us on the whim of councils through grants. We shouldn’t be treated as charity cases hoping for scraps. We should be given the money directly for us to manage our own budgets – give us the £6 billion back! The ‘Warm Homes Discount’ of £140 should be given to all households that need it to help deal with the energy price increases too.

A well overdue long-term overhaul and uplift to the whole benefit system is needed, 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.