Benefits slashed while bankers prosper


Today Parliament votes on the Tory coalition bill to place a 1% cap on all benefits and tax credits for the next three years – a vote that has been accompanied by the most frenzied attack on the unemployed and low paid by the government.

Central to this attack has been the big lie that tax credits are claimed by ‘fraudsters’ and benefits by ‘scroungers’, all of whom bear the complete blame for the crisis which holds British capitalism in a death grip.

The Tory thinking behind this cynical attack on workers and increasingly sections of the middle class, who have been thrown out of work by a collapsed economy, or who are forced to exist on levels of pay far below the poverty line, is quite clear.

If the working class and middle class are to be made to pay for the banking crisis then they must be portrayed as workshy scroungers living off the backs of ‘decent hard working folk’.

The problem for the coalition is that this propaganda is completely at odds with the reality that the vast majority of people are forced to confront every day of their lives.

This has been brought home graphically on the eve of today’s vote by a report issued by the respected Children’s Society.

They reveal that far from hitting just the mythical ‘fraudsters and scroungers’ these cuts in benefits will impact disastrously on a wide range of people in employment including a whole number of professionals.

They estimate that as a direct result of the cap – in practice a cut in benefits – up to 300,000 nurses, 150,000 teachers and even 40,000 soldiers will lose money running into hundreds of pounds.

While these professionals now face the immediate prospect of being tipped into the abyss of poverty, the unemployed and low paid face being driven into the ground as they experience cuts in employment and housing benefits that will leave them starving and homeless.

At present 13 million live below the official poverty line, last year 128,000 people were forced to rely on foodbanks  provided by charities in order to avoid starvation, an increase of 100% over the previous year.

Now, according to the Tressel Trust, foodbanks are required in every town and city in the country in order to meet the inevitable increase in food poverty.

If the working class and whole sections of the middle class are facing poverty on a scale not seen since the 19th century then the real scroungers and fraudsters are celebrating today.

The cause for celebration is the agreement finalised at the weekend to virtually drop the European-wide banking regulations promised in the wake of the onset of the banking crisis, which exposed to the world the fact that these powerful, mighty banks were hollow and that most of their assets, on which they made vast loans, were non-existent.

Now this promise has evaporated and instead of strict controls, the banks will be allowed to count as assets ‘mortgage backed securities’ – that is the same ‘assets’ that precipitated the banking crisis in the US in 2007 and which has brought down the entire international banking system necessitating huge bail-outs from public funds – bail-outs that are now to be paid for by savage cuts to welfare, wages and benefits.

While the working class and middle class are being forced to pay for the crisis of capitalism, the banks, who caused the crisis, are free to carry on as if nothing had happened.

What is clear is that the working class has no future under capitalism – only by putting an end to it through the socialist revolution can society as a whole advance.

The urgent task today is to build the WRP into a mass revolutionary party to organise the British socialist revolution.