Why working people should fear the Coalition’s social insecurity

TUCpollIt’s absolutely astonishing, the amount of willingness people have to be tricked by Tory doubletalk.

For example: “We love the National Health Service,” said David Cameron. Then Andrew Lansley turned it into something that was neither national nor healthy.

Now Iain Duncan Smith is busy turning our social security system into something that is extremely insecure and downright antisocial!

In the name of fairness.

He and his cronies keep repeating their mantra that benefits have increased by almost twice as much as average wages, even though it has already been proven to be total nonsense.

Well, I’ve got a few more statistics for you – covering the expected effects of the Coalition’s (let’s not forget the Liberal Democrat part in all this) benefits tinkering.

Thanks to this government, working families will lose £9 billion of support every year, according to Liam Byrne. But he said the welfare bill – barring tax credits – will not rise by the one per cent of the benefit uprating, but by four per cent – £8 billion – because the government is failing to create jobs. (Why not? We’ll come to that later)

More working people are in poverty than ever before, with the figure currently standing at a record 6.1 million, according to Karen Buck. She said, according to the House of Commons Library, if only out-of-work benefits were subject to the one per cent cap, but in-work benefits were uprated as normal, 80 per cent of the proposed savings would disappear.

Add changes to the personal tax allowance (increasing to £9,440 this year) to the effects of the Benefits Uprating Bill and working people take 60 per cent of the hit – in other words three-fifths of the drop in income will affect people in work, but they will be expected to take FOUR-fifths of the financial squeeze.

So now even the government’s flimsy claim to be standing up for working people is revealed as a tatty lie.

In each Conservative-held constituency, an average of 6,000 families will be worse-off, Mr Byrne said. Nationally, if the Bill is passed, of the 14.1 million working-age households with someone in work, seven million will be hit – alongside 2.5 million jobless households – so the Benefits Uprating Bill will reduce the capacity of 9.5 million of the UK’s 23-24 million households to pay their bills (Karen Buck).

According to Ian Mearns, 4.4 million jobs pay less than £7 an hour.

As a result of the Bill, five million people may resort to payday loans in order to balance the books for the end of the month, according to Chris Bryant.

He said a food bank is opening every three days and working people are using them to feed their children.

You see, the Government cannot make serious money out of an assault on out-of-work benefits alone – just three per cent of all welfare spending goes on Jobseeker’s Allowance, and all out-of-work benefits account for only three per cent of GDP between them (figures courtesy of Karen Buck)

And the reality is that the line between working people and the jobless is blurred, with people changing between being in and out of work all the time. Last year there were between 244,000 and 357,000 new claims every month for Jobseeker’s Allowance, while between 242,000 and 370,000 left benefit every month (Karen Buck).

Let’s look at the figures affecting both workers and the jobless. According to Liam Byrne, the Benefits Uprating Bill means a child benefit rise of 20p per week; maternity allowance would go up by £1.37 and Jobseekers’ Allowance by just 72p.

Getting back to those 2.5 million jobless – they will lose about £215 a year by 2016, said Karen Buck. Ian Mearns added that, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, a working family eligible for both housing and council tax benefit will gain only 13p a week extra as a result of the extended personal tax allowances.

Meanwhile, a millionaire’s income will rise by £2,058 per week as a result of the cut in the top rate of tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent, according to Liam Byrne.

With less money to spend, more shops will close and more people will lose jobs (Chris Bryant). this is because money in the pockets of people at the bottom end of the income spectrum is far more likely to be spent, and therefore to keep the economy moving (Sarah Teather, one of the few Liberal Democrats who rebelled against the Bill).

The government would have you believe that the losses I have described above, and the poverty they will bring, could be avoided if scroungers stopped stealing money from the system through fraud, and got back to work.

But benefit fraud stands at 0.7 per cent, according to official figures, and the total number of available jobs (according to the Office of National Statistics) is 489,000.

And – for the third time in this article – there are around 2.5 million people out of work.

There aren’t enough jobs to go around.

So why do you think the government wants to make it impossible for those who are out of work to make ends meet?

It all comes down to something identified by Skwalker1964 in his excellent blog: Greed.

This is about employers wanting to make sure they don’t have to pay too much of their profits away to their workforce – the people who actually make things and do things to generate the money – bear in mind that employers’ pay has risen to eight and a half times what it was 30 years ago, while workers’ pay has increased by an average of just 27 per cent.

Employers want to make sure workers stay in a weak position when bargaining for more pay. If there were more jobs available, or the number of long-term jobless was high, their position becomes stronger as they would realise they could not be replaced very easily.

Lots of people unemployed over the short term means more insecurity for those in work, so they’ll tolerate lower wages and won’t demand increases. The long-term unemployed are less of a threat to job tenure as they are more likely to remain out of work than take a working person’s job.

That’s how the ‘fat cats’ think. And they, of course, pay huge donations to a certain political party, currently in power, to ensure that they get their way.

Do you think I’m wrong?

Then tell me – by how much has the income of the UK’s top earners increased, in total, since May 2010?


  1. Rainbow Lizzie January 12, 2013 at 10:38 am - Reply
  2. […] conclude my loose series on the current changes to social security benefits – see here, here, here, here and here – by taking a look at what we know they have planned, and what we can […]

  3. maxwell1957 April 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

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