Miliband Attacks Welfare Cuts: Will he Oppose the Unemployment Business and Workfare?
In the Sunday Mirror Ed Miliband has attacked the Liberal-Conservative Coalition’s welfare cuts.
After some well-worth not saying stuff about the usual suspects, “We should be tough on the minority who can work and try to avoid responsibility. he says,
They showed they are not fit to govern because they played political games with people’s livelihoods.
They said they were cutting benefits for the next three years and the mood music was that it was a way to punish the “shirkers and scroungers”. But the truth turned out to be so different.
Six out of 10 people hit by these cuts are people who get up every morning and go to work. The lowest paid families getting tax credits. The new mum who will lose £180 in maternity pay.
And it will also hit the people doing the right thing, trying to find work, like the trained professional I met in my constituency, unemployed for about a year, desperate to find it.
This important letter (signed by a variety of Campaigning groups, trade union leaders – such as Len McCluskey, and…Bob Crow! – Charities and Churches) appears in the Observer today.
Last week’s autumn statement marks a watershed in our welfare system, breaking the long-standing link between benefits and either earnings or prices. The policies announced are a bitter blow for hundreds of thousands of low-income families struggling to make ends meet in the face of overwhelming austerity.
Economic analysis of the government’s announcements shows clearly that the poorest have been hit hardest. Plans to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at a meagre 1% for the next three years will far outweigh any gains from increasing the personal tax allowance. This will hurt children, leaving a damaging legacy.
While the chancellor paints a picture of so-called “strivers” and “skivers”, our organisations see the reality: families scraping by in low-paid work, or being bounced from insecure jobs to benefits and back again.
The truth is that the vast majority of those who rely on benefits and tax credits are either in work, have worked, or will be in work in the near future. They and their families are making their contribution to society and are entitled to genuine security, as Beveridge intended.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, which laid the foundations of the welfare state, we risk losing the very safety net that he intended. It is a punitive, unfair policy and must not happen.
I don’t know whether our Chancellor and Prime Minister ever meet people like this. If they do, they show no sign of it in the way they divide Britain.Next April, each person earning over £1million a year will be getting on average a tax cut of £107,000 each, not just for one year, but every year
But they show all the signs of understanding the needs of a different group: the richest in society.
To ram the point home the Mirror has this story,
A QUARTER of a million hungry Britons will have used emergency food banks by the end of the year.
The latest figures, FOUR TIMES higher than two years ago, include parents too poor to feed children and desperate householders forced to choose between eating and heating.
Government austerity cuts and squeezed incomes are even forcing people with jobs to regularly queue up for free food parcels as well as benefit claimants.
Britain’s biggest food bank operator, the Trussell Trust, fed 110,000 people in the first half of this year… just 18,000 fewer than the whole of 2011. And its bosses expect the final 2012 figure to top 250,000 for the first time.
A Sunday Mirror investigation reveals delays in the processing of benefit claims top the list of reasons why people have to resort to free food. Next is low pay followed by debt.
In one case we found that a desperate woman who hadn’t eaten for two days was referred to a food bank after walking 16 miles to a Jobcentre. She hadn’t enough money to catch a bus because her benefit payments had not come through. In another case, a man living in a tunnel told us how a food bank saved his life.
We add some further points from the unemployed.
- The Work Programme has been shown to be a failure. But millions are wasted on shoring up welfare-to-work companies and their overpaid bosses. With its use of suspensions from the dole and diversion of pulic money into its own pockets the ‘unemployment business’ is as much a cause of poverty as low benefits.
- Workfare, in the shape of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) has been put into practcie. People are working for at least 5 weeks for nothing, often for Charities.
- The Government intends to make all long-term unemployed work for nothing on the Community Action programme. That is, for 26 weeks. The individual would work for 30 hours and carry out up to 10 additional hours of ‘supported job search’.
- A Pilot Scheme for this workfare, by Enable, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Voluntary and Community Sector Learning and Skills Consortium, which “promotes equality and diversity” ended on 31st August 2012. It had this result: Referrals 115
Entered employment 28
Sustained employment (i.e. In employment for 26 weeks) 5.
The Work Programme should be abolished.
Given the above results the same failures will happen with the ‘work for nothing’ Community Action Programme.
Ed Miliband should start speaking out now against both.