Westminster Council demands unemployed do ‘voluntary work’


The Tory ‘flagship’ council, Westminster, yesterday unveiled its blueprint for dumping the savage cuts in local government finances squarely on the backs of the unemployed and poor.

In a move that lays open for all to see the future workers and their families face in the economic collapse of British capitalism, the Tories at Westminster have issued a document that calls on benefits to be withheld for unemployed people who do not perform ‘voluntary work’ in the community.

At present, local councils have control over benefits such as housing, council tax rates and public service expenditure and these are now under threat for anyone deemed by the council to be the ‘undeserving poor’.

This definition will apply to anyone who refuses to actively volunteer to carry out unpaid work in the community; filling in for those council workers from libraries, parks and street cleaning departments among other jobs, who have been sacked to save money.

This is Cameron’s big society in practice, with the unemployed used as an unpaid army to be used against the working class.

Refusal to doff the cap, bend the knee and passively submit to this role will result in housing benefit being stopped and these undeserving poor being thrown out onto the streets and out of the borough.

This is not the only plan the Tories of Westminster council have in store for the unemployed and low paid workers receiving housing benefit.

They intend to introduce a means-test for those in social housing – anyone fortunate enough to be paid above the average local income will have their rents pushed up.

For those on the list for social housing, points will be deducted for ‘anti-social behaviour’.

Naturally, it is the council which will decide what constitutes anti-social behaviour but it does include families with children who are deemed to be persistent truants from school.

Those designated by the council as being anti-social or families with a member convicted of a criminal offence will also face having the benefit they are entitled to for paying the council tax cut back – a move that will inevitably result in prosecutions for non-payment followed by eviction.

There can be no doubt that the thrust of these proposals is to cleanse the London borough of Westminster of the unemployed and poorer working class families.

All this at a time when, by the council’s own estimate, 5,000 of their poorest families currently living in private rented accommodation will be forced out of their homes next month when the coalition government’s housing benefit cap comes into effect.

Westminster’s proposals also make it crystal clear what type of people they are prepared to tolerate in their borough.

They intend to give priority access to the 22,000 social homes in the borough to those volunteering to be police specials, members of the Territorial Army and ex-military personnel.

Clearly, the intention is to get rid of workers and young people who will not accept that they have no rights to live under capitalism and replace them with people the Tories believe will accept the discipline of the bosses and bankers and act as their unpaid and servile militia.

While the Tory council leader, Colin Barrow, bleats about getting away from ‘a culture of getting something for nothing’ workers will be only too aware that it is the bankers who are the ones getting away not just with something but with vast amounts in return for causing the biggest crash in the history of capitalism.

The only answer to these proposals must be the organisation of the general strike to bring down the government and go forward to a workers government and socialism putting an end to the parasites of the City of London forever.