Two reports this week bring home that the reality facing millions of workers and their families under this rotten, bankrupt British capitalist system is one of hunger and homelessness.
According to the housing charity Shelter, over 80,000 children will be spending this Christmas without a home and living in ‘shocking conditions’ as a ten year high for families forced to live in temporary, emergency accommodation is reached.
Of this total a growing number are being housed in Bed and Breakfast-type accommodation, usually comprising of just one room.
Entire families are being forced to live in one room with children and parents often being forced to share beds.
Under law it is illegal for families to be housed in emergency B&Bs for more than six weeks, but increasingly this is being flouted by local councils.
Government cuts by this coalition since 2010 have had a devastating effect on local government finances, while the all-out war on housing benefit has driven hundreds of thousands out of the private rented sector through evictions for rent arrears.
Homelessness is hitting the working class on a mass scale, it is estimated that one in three working class families in Britain have been affected either directly or indirectly by homelessness.
At the same time as the capitalist crisis is destroying the ability of people to find decent shelter it is causing food poverty on a horrific scale.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies this week revealed that rising food prices along with cuts in wages and benefits had resulted in people simply buying less food and turning to cheaper, less healthy processed food.
In the past five years food prices have dramatically increased by 33% on average, with butter, meat and fresh fruit increasing even more, while heavily processed food products, high in fats, salt and sugars have increased by 27%.
The predictable result is that families are spending 8.5% less on food, with more and more children missing out completely on fresh fruit as desperate parents turn to cheaper, less healthy options rather than see them go completely hungry.
Small wonder that hundreds of thousands now rely on free food from the ‘food banks’ just to survive.
All this poverty and suffering has one cause, the drive by the coalition government to cut all spending on the welfare state and pile all the money ‘saved’ into paying off the £1.3 trillion pound national debt – a debt that has been run up to gigantic levels in order to bail-out the bankrupt banks and financial sector.
On Monday the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, Ed Balls, made an appearance before the bosses organisation, the CBI, to pledge the Labour Party’s undying devotion to the cause of keeping this bankrupt capitalist system going at the expense of the working class.
Balls was insistent that he and George Osborne were in complete agreement on the need for deficit reduction through slashing wages and benefits and that all they disagreed on was the ‘pace of deficit reduction.’
The Labour Party, which was forced to introduce the welfare state by a working class that in 1945 was determined to abolish poverty, hunger and homelessness, is today committed to propping up this crisis-ridden capitalist system through smashing up all these gains.
There can be only one solution to the crisis of homelessness and poverty and the defence of all the gains of the welfare state, and that is to put an end to capitalism once and for all.
This requires breaking with the treacherous reformist leadership of the Labour Party and the TUC and building a new revolutionary leadership that will mobilise the enormous strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the coalition and bring in a workers government that will go forward to socialism.
Only the WRP is fighting to build the leadership that is required and we call on every worker and young person to join today.