AS THE annual conference of the TUC, this year conducted on-line, opens, the GMB union released analysis of official data showing that 100,000 care workers are ‘trapped’ on Universal Credit.
With Universal Credit (UC) about to be slashed by £20 a week on October 6th care workers, along with every low paid worker and unemployed, who only survive through benefits will be driven into extreme poverty in matter of weeks.
Kelly Andrews, GMB National Care Lead, said: ‘With the government’s plan to slash Universal Credit payments by £20 a week in October, we are heading for a perfect storm.’
All TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady could say about the cut to UC was that it broke PM Boris Johnson’s pledge to ‘level up’ the country.
She said: ‘Levelling up means nothing if they freeze workers’ pay, slash Universal Credit, and the number of kids in poverty soars.’
O’Grady and the TUC must be the only people in the country who still cling to the belief that the Tories are going to be shamed into acting on her pleading.
On Sunday, Tory Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterated that the cut would go ahead as planned – no apologies for throwing millions of working class families and their children into destitution.
This was reinforced yesterday by Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey who told the BBC she was ‘entirely happy’ with the UC cut and claimed that claimants could make up for it by working ‘about two hours extra’ a week.
It was quickly pointed out that Coffey was lying, as claimants on the minimum wage would have to work at least an extra 10 hours a week after all deductions are taken into account let alone if those extra hours are available.
On what the unemployed are supposed to do Coffey was silent. In fact, the Tories are well aware of the massive increase in poverty when the cut comes in – they don’t care.
Last week, the Financial Times reported government sources telling them: ‘The internal modelling of ending the UC uplift is catastrophic. Homelessness and poverty are likely to rise, and food banks usage will soar.’
The Tories know that the cut will slash the incomes of six million families, but they are not going to abandon it – no matter how much the TUC and Labour Party leadership beg for a U-turn or promise futile campaigns of letter writing.
The driving imperative for the Tories is to save the £6 billion the uplift of UC is costing the government – money that it is desperate to save in order to help pay off the huge national debt run up bailing out capitalism during the pandemic.
It goes hand-in-hand with the 1.25% hike in National Insurance that will hit youth and low paid workers, while pensioners will pay through the ending of the triple lock on pensions.
The Tories are prepared to meet the explosion of anger from workers and young people who will refuse to accept being driven into starvation and homelessness to rescue the bosses and bankers.
They have introduced the most draconian laws giving the police the right to stamp on protests and intimidate individuals in preparation for the eruption of class war in the UK.
They are relying on the craven treachery of the reformist TUC to divert the mass movement away from the fight to confront and bring down the Tories by restricting the unions to useless protests about the ‘inhumanity’ of the Tories.
The reckoning with the Tories cannot be put off any longer. The working class wields huge power, it is much more powerful that the capitalist state.
Workers and youth must demand the TUC either call mass action to fight the class war that is upon us or be removed and replaced with a new leadership prepared to call a general strike to close down the country, kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and socialism.
This is the policy of the WRP – join today, there is no time to lose.