Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Welfare Cuts Tsunami Arrives

To the accompaniment of criticism from the churches, disability groups, charities, voluntary organisations, political parties outside the coalition and decent fair minded folk everywhere, the Government's welfare cuts regime is upon us - arriving at the same time as the implementation of the "NHS dismemberment legislation" and attacks on legal aid.

The welfare cuts include the hated bedroom tax which will face many low income families with the choice of going without or moving (perhaps away from friends, family, jobs, schools etc) into more expensive private sector accommodation (that will also raise rather than decrease the government's required expenditure - so will not succeed even on those terms, though perhaps one government aim is to further enrich their friends in the Rachmanite community).  There simply is not enough smaller property available in the Social Housing Sector to accommodate all those affected that are being expected to move. This will cause widespread hardship and anguish.

At the same time there is a 1% cap being put on increases in benefits which will reduce the income of poorer people in real terms.

This is not to be confused with the cap in overall benefits which is encountering problems in roll out through pilot areas but the government is still determined to bring in.

There is also the farming out of Council Tax Benefit payments to Councils with a cut in their funding which will lead to people who have never had to pay Council Tax before having to fork out large sums from limited and fixed or decreasing (see above!) incomes.

There is also the moving of many disabled people from DLA into the new PIP regime, again likely to cause disruption and potential hardship. (Not to mention the ongoing war on the disabled being conducted by ATOS and their ilk.)

Taken as a whole this is a wide ranging and multi-faceted, disgusting attack on the most vulnerable in our society and should be opposed - it is all the more sickening when coming from a government of Millionaires, most of whom have never had to suffer any kind of deprivation.

Councils must be encouraged to follow the lead of those Green, SNP and (few) Labour councils that have said that they will not evict tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the Bedroom Tax.  Local campaigns must be built to resist bailiffs and fight people's corners.  The hypocrisy of the well heeled,  expenses- claiming, generously pensioned, extravagantly paid and often multiple job holding political classes must be exposed.

The People's Assembly Against Austerity gives an opportunity for uniting much of the rising tide of opposition to the Coalition's policies and both the local and National events should be supported and built.

The local elections in May will give an early opportunity to show the Coalition parties the contempt that millions of ordinary people now hold them in.

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