People who work 15 hours a week – or less – will lose benefits in the latest Tory attack on the poor.
It’s not being reported on the BBC today (September 23), but Kwasi Kwarteng was set to announce that from January next year, 120,000 benefit claimants could see their payments reduced if they fail to work up to 15 hours a week, meet regularly with their work coach and take active steps to increase their earnings.
So people who are already struggling to make ends meet amid the Tory-created cost-of-living crisis are to be punished while – for example – bankers are to enjoy huge increases in income with the removal of the cap on their bonuses.
There is no good reason for either measure but the Tory excuse for hammering the working poor is that there are 1.2 million job vacancies after Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presumably the people being targeted are being expected to take 10 jobs each.
There’s an elephant in the room here, though: how much do these 1.2 million jobs pay? What holidays are offered? What about sick pay? In short: will people actually be better-off for taking them?
New Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith says they will: “We are committed to helping people on lower incomes to boost their pay – because we know work is one of the best ways to support your family and help grow our economy.
“Whether it’s increasing their hours in their current role, entering a new sector or switching careers, we want people of all ages and all stages to be able to progress into fulfilling careers.”
But is it just propaganda?
Maximilien Robespierre thinks it is:
“Give them a job – any job – to meet a target… and sell it as work to help people out of a disaster – that being the cost-of-living crisis.
“Notice [Chloe Smith] did not say anything here about better benefits. Many people can’t work, or find jobs that either suit their skills or are in their vicinity.
“This is about punishing people at the bottom and reducing numbers on benefits, which we have seen comes at a huge human cost.“