|The News Line: Editorial
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Bring down the Tories to end benefit cuts and homelessness!
THE Tories are continuing to lash out at the working class and the poor.
Last week housing charity Shelter revealed that new government figures on homelessness show that in the last year alone, 59,260 households were accepted as homeless by their local council – a rise of 22% over the last 5 years.
It added that ‘The loss of a private tenancy remains the single biggest cause of homelessness, with 18,750 households becoming homeless after an eviction from a privately rented home in 2016, and that since 2011, the rise in the number of households evicted from a privately rented home has accounted for 78% of the rise in homelessness.’
In reality the working class is being driven out of the cities, particularly London – it is being ‘decanted’. The number of homeless London families placed in temporary accommodation outside the capital has risen five-fold since 2012, the latest figures show. Families have been placed as far away as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
The number of placements rose from 113 between April and June 2012 to 551 between December and April 2016, figures from London Councils (LC) show. Kate Webb, head of policy at Shelter, says that high London property prices mean ‘councils are finding it much harder to find landlords that will work with them.’
Webb added: ‘Councils are struggling to secure long term leases on properties to use for temporary accommodation, so are forced into per-night rental agreements, or to look beyond the capital. The number of nights rented under these arrangements has more than tripled from 540,000 to 1.8m over the past five years, 14 councils in London confirmed.’
Meanwhile the noose around the necks of the poor is being additionally tightened with changes to benefit rules coming into force this week that will push 200,000 more children into poverty, as payments for some benefits will be limited to the first two children in a family, leaving some families £3,000 a year worse off under the new rules.
These new rules mean that children born after Thursday 6 April into families where there are already two or more children will no longer be counted in benefit payments to their parents, under either tax credits or Universal Credit. From autumn 2018, families making new claims under Universal Credit will only receive payments for their first two children even if they were born before Thursday.
The latest official figures show that 872,000 families with more than two children were claiming tax credits in 2014-15, and a similar number of families are likely to lose out under the changes, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) researchers suggest. In 2014-15, two thirds (65%) were working families and 68% had no more than three children, say the researchers.
Based on those figures, the researchers calculate that once the new policy is fully implemented an additional 100,000 adults and 200,000 children could face poverty! This is a policy to actively break up working class families. It may also leave women who become pregnant with a third child, for example through contraception failure, with a difficult choice between moving into poverty and having an abortion,’ CPAG researchers say.
The Labour opposition has not a single policy capable of dealing with this massive crisis that is being imposed on the working class and the poor. It is time for the trade unions to give a decisive lead in this crisis situation by taking action. They must call a general strike to end this Tory super-austerity for the working class programme, that will see pregnant women opting for abortion.
The Tory government must be brought down and replaced by a workers government that will nationalise the building industry and building land so that millions of council houses can be built to house the working class.
A workers government must also nationalise the banks and the major industries to use the full national wealth created by the working class to end all Tory austerity, restore all benefit cuts, finance the NHS properly, and plan the economy in the interests of the working people.
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