BOTH Prime Minister Blair and Chancellor Brown insisted yesterday, in support of Works and Pensions minister Hutton, that single parents must look for work once their child reaches 12.
They added that unless the age for this was reduced from the current 16 years, British capitalism could no longer afford to pay benefits to single parents.
Both also backed the US type move to bring in the charities and the voluntary sector as well as the private sector to run ‘welfare to work’ departments for the government.
This will kill two birds with one stone. A big chunk of the state budget will flow into the coffers of private businesses, including business charities, and the public sector will be dealt a huge blow with thousands more government workers sacked.
Blair continued to urge that ‘we need an even greater effort’ from people to get into work because without it the Welfare State and the provision of the state pension would be unaffordable.
This is nothing less than a declaration of his government’s intent to destroy the Welfare State. ‘We’ must force single parents and the millions on incapacity benefit into work or else the Welfare State, the NHS and the state pension will be history.
This from a government that has already decided to raise the pensionable age to 68 in stages.
This from a regime that has spent tens of billions on Blair’s wars, from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan, with Iran now in its sights.
It is a government that is preparing to spend up to £80 billion replacing the Trident programme, and in its almost 10 years in government has handed big business hundreds of billions in tax cuts of all kinds, while hammering the workers.
This government has already declared that in the future military expenditure will have to be greatly increased so that Britain will remain a reliable and proven ally of US imperialism.
It is to be guns not butter, for all except the bankers and their friends who are literally awash with cash and super profits.
Blair’s words were: ‘If we want to be able to afford the welfare state then we’ve got to get even more people off benefit and into work which is why we’ve got an aspiration to raise the employment rate to some 80 per cent of the workforce.
‘That will be very tough to do, but if you look at the decades ahead if we’re not able to do that we’re going to face enormous pressure in affording our welfare state.’
This government’s basic refrain is that modern capitalism and the Welfare State are polar opposites.
The implication of this statement is that either one or the other will have to go.
Chancellor Brown declared his solidarity with Blair on this vital question pledging: ‘I will champion’ welfare reform, ie the abolition of the Welfare State.
The working class will give Blair and Brown the response that they deserve.
This is that if British capitalism can no longer afford the Welfare State and its benefits, then it is British capitalism that will have to go, and be replaced by a higher form of socialist society where production will not be for profit but for people’s needs.
There must be no cuts in any benefits and every attack on the Welfare State must be resisted.
Workers in the trade unions must organise councils of action made up of the local trade union branches and the communities to defend every section of the Welfare State from health to education and all benefits with strike actions and occupations to prevent cuts and closures.
The trade unions must be mobilised for a general strike to bring down Blair and Brown, to go forward to a workers government carrying out socialist policies.
It is capitalism that has to go and the historical role of the working class is in fact to be its grave digger.
To work then, there is not a moment to lose.