It is hard to conceive how a Chancellor can look at people surviving on just a few pounds a day and decide it is them who must have their incomes cut to pay for a financial crisis caused by the rich. What kind of fucking human being would do that?
These are people who may be struggling with a serious health condition, newly unemployed steel workers, the precariously self-employed or those on the lowest pay. These are to be the likely victims of the latest round of economic terrorism that George Osborne is set to inflict in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement.
Be in no doubt, this is terrorism. Millions of people are now living in a state of stark and permanent panic as reckless Tory cuts strike randomly, demolishing lives, putting homes at risk, endangering health and tragically driving some to suicide. The callous assessments for disability benefits alone have led to 590 people taking their own lives researchers recently revealed in a report that should have brought this Government down. Yet it was greeted with little more than a murmour. The UK establishment, in all its guises, cares no more about the lives of the poor than the Isis death cultists cared about those they mercilessly gunned down in Paris last week. A welfare state that destroys lives whilst masquerading as a safety net is the perfect weapon of class warfare. The victims kill themselves, or disappear without trace under the burden of desperate poverty.
Such is the carefully constructed poverty trap that there is now almost no chance of escape. There are just under 2 million people in the UK who are unemployed, and a further two million who don’t have a job and want one but do not meet the strict criteria of official unemployment. Add to that a couple of million sick and disabled people or lone parents who are now being ordered to endlessly search for jobs. There are just 740,000 vacancies according to the Office for National Statistics. If every one of those was filled tomorrow there would still be millions looking for work.
Not that finding a job will help the poorest as housing costs soar and in-work benefits are demolished. Only if you can climb to the ranks of the so-called squeezed middle will you perhaps be able to grab some quality of existence, and even if you get there you’d better not get sick, become disabled or lose your job. And you won’t ever get there. Try walking into a Jobcentre and saying you’d like to re-train as a plumber or take an IT course that will actually get you a job rather than just teach you how to turn on a fucking computer. When they’ve stopped laughing they will point you in the direction of a private training company, who want thousands of pounds, and for which there are no students loans available. Even then, if you manage to raise the money, the Jobcentre may order you to leave to attend full time workfare instead.
Those who have had benefits sanctioned for missing a meeting, or failing to attend workfare, now survive on around £41 a week – and only then if they qualify for Hardship Payments. Those under 25 who are looking for work will fare little better with a weekly income barely over £50 whilst the older unemployed receive just £73.10. Some of these claimants will be paying the Bedroom Tax, as well as Council Tax out of that sum. Others will be frantically trying to make up rent payments to cover Housing Benefit shortfalls as private rents soar and benefits intended to pay them are capped and frozen.
Any further cuts to Housing Benefits will be devastating and could plunge some into a negative income as unavoidable costs like rent, water and Council Tax leave them with no money at all, just a steadily increasing debt. This will include the working poor who have little more to live on than those on the dole, making a mockery of Iain Duncan Smith’s claims that his reforms are making work pay. Whether Osborne cuts Tax Credits, Housing Benefits, or child benefits this week will make little difference to those affected. Their lives are earmarked for economic destruction however the Chancellor chooses to cut.
In the face of such an onslaught we have no choice but to fight back. There is no slack in the social security system left at all – in fact there never was any to begin with. Street homelessnes is already at record levels and the full impact of the last round of cuts has not yet been truly felt. Gideon Osborne is playing a dangerous game that could leave millions with nothing left to lose and no futures to plan for. The rich may sleep comfortably in their mansions tonight. But there will be consequences, there must be, because one death was too many and we cannot allow this to continue.
As ever Class War are taking te fight direct to the pampered elite calling for a picket of George Osborne’s family business to coincide with his speech on Wednesday. Meet outside Osborne & Little, 204 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 from 12-2pm on Wednesday 25th November. Spread the word.
Apologies for the extended absence. Back to normal now hopefully.
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