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Friday, 8 October 2010

Attacks on UK benefit Claimants - Erosion of democracy !


Chancellor George Osborne's proposals earlier in the week for a maximum limit on the amount of benefits a family could claim, is a cap on family benefits it would cause suffering to some of society's most vulnerable children.

The Chancellor did not put a figure on the new welfare cap but said that, with the exception of the disabled, no family should receive more in benefits than the average family was paid for going to work.

Politicians should be focusing on how they are going to meet the target to end child poverty in the UK by 2020 rather than perpetuating the myth of the undeserving poor.

Children are the ones who'll end up suffering if a parent suddenly loses their job because of the economic crisis, or if their mum or dad becomes a single parent.

Most children in poverty had at least one parent in work, but were still poor because their work was low paid.

The government needs to concentrate its energies on making sure that families are better off when a parent takes a job or increases their hours rather than staying on benefits, as Iain Duncan Smith is proposing.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt also came under fire for saying that the government's new family cap reflected the need for long-term claimants to "take responsibility" for the number of children they have.

The state "shouldn't support" large families who receive more in benefits than the average family earns, he declared.

"The number of children that you have is a choice and what we're saying is that if people are living on benefits, then they make choices but they also have to have responsibility for those choices," he argued.

"It's not going to be the role of the state to finance those choices."

Coercion has been used in the past. The 1974 USA case of Relf v Weinberger showed that between 100,000 and 150,000 low income women were sterilised annually under federally-funded programs, and that some of these women had only consented to be sterilised after being threatened with removal of benefits.

Birth control programmes and forced sterilisation were also used in Germany to eliminate groups that the "Third Reich" disliked.

Tory Chancellor, Osborne went to war on benefit / welfare claimants during his speech to the Conservative Conference in Birmingham. In an unprecedented move, the Chancellor capped how much the unemployed can get from the state. Osborne told Day Two of the Tory Party Conference that no household will be able to claim more than £500 a week in total in benefits - the average family's take-home pay.

The cap - which will come into effect in April 2013 once local authorities have built schemes to administer it - will see most tenants evicted from rented properties who's landlords charge criminal rent levels. In Britains major cities private landlords rip off & overcharge tenants for rent, once again we see an ultra right wing government supporting big business & private landlords.

What we are seeing today in 2010 are the same policies that we saw in the late 80's. The policies propounded by Dame Shirley Porter and her Conservative colleagues and officials on Tory Westminster City Council in July 1989.

The council was engaged in gerrymandering, which was disgraceful and improper purpose, and not a purpose for which a local authority may act.

In 1972, Westminster council started a policy of "designated sales". In an effort to reduce its housing stock, when some homes fell vacant they were not re-let but sold. The numbers involved were small, some 20-30 homes a year. On 8 July 1987, the housing committee resolved to expand the policy by earmarking for sale 9,360 properties, 40 per cent of its total stock - a move that was expected to generate 500 sales a year.

The reason for the increase was the local government election of May 1986. Dame Shirley, who had been leader since 1983, suddenly found herself with a majority of just four.

In a paper called "Keeping Westminster Conservative", she set out her strategy for the next election in 1990. The critical point was that at local level the margin between electoral success and failure is tiny.

Her paper noted: "Conservative members of the council have identified eight key battlezone wards. The results of the 1990 local elections will depend on how people vote in these wards." The eight wards were marginal - a swing of just 70 votes in each could determine control - and "they have suffered particularly from the destabilisation of their resident middle class, the natural Conservative voter". The new, expanded, designated sales was aimed at these "key wards".

The Conservative Government with help from the Liberal Democrats are demonising, harrassing, patronising working class benefit claimants who are more likely to vote Labour in an election. The present Tory/ConDem government are creating "Boundary Changes" to enable themselves more likely to win at the next election. Deception of democracy is taking place, the government never got elected in the first place & yet they are laying the foundations to destroy democracy.

Politicians should be focusing on how they are going to meet the target to end child poverty in the UK by 2020 rather than perpetuating the myth of the undeserving poor. Children are the ones who'll end up suffering if a parent suddenly loses their job because of the economic crisis, or if their mum or dad becomes a single parent. Most children in poverty had at least one parent in work, but were still poor because their work was low paid.


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