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Thursday, 17 February 2011

British Unemployed told: This is all your fault !

The unemployed were damned for being "workshy" today as Con-Dem ministers revealed the nastiest welfare squeeze in living memory on top of mass public and private-sector job losses.

As the coalition ruins livelihoods by imposing hundreds of thousands of job cuts under the slogan "we are all in this together," millionaire Prime Minister David Cameron announced a "reform" package that unions argue blames the unemployed for being jobless.

David Cameron describes his Welfare Reform Bill as "the most ambitious, fundamental and radical changes to the welfare system" since the welfare state was set up.

That it may be, but equally valid adjectives would include unfair, discriminatory and mean.

Despite rhetoric about helping the unemployed into work, the real aim behind this Bill is to reduce welfare spending over the next four years by £5.5 billion - slightly less than the £6bn that the banks have devoted to bonuses this year.

"Never again will work be the wrong financial choice," the Prime Minister asserted as he launched the Bill.

The implication behind this statement is that a substantial proportion of those living on benefits do so as a lifestyle choice rather than there being a lack of jobs.

Cameron and his ministers know this reality, but they are determined to draw a line under what the banks did and to blame unemployed workers for the symptoms of a crisis that they had no part in creating.

Their stomach-churning "compassion" for the needy, the most vulnerable and those in old age is just words.

The government is set to train its sights on precisely those sectors of society that need help most and to drive down their living standards at the behest of the City and the rich.

What would this multimillionaire, who has never experienced any kind of deprivation, know of claiming benefits?

And yet he rewrites history to claim that, when the postwar Labour government set up the welfare state, individuals' sense of "private shame" was sufficient to deter them from claiming handouts unless they really needed them.

Now, according to him, couples live apart, the unemployed refuse jobs and people go on the sick because they are better off cheating the system than working.

In fact, the take-up of benefits was low in the late 1940s, '50s and '60s because there was virtually full employment. Youngsters leaving school did not fear a life on the dole queue.

But the capitalist class's obsession with short-term profitability, its refusal to invest in Britain and its readiness to export investment - and jobs - overseas in search of higher returns have made mass unemployment a major feature across the country.

Instead of berating the unemployed for not having a job, politicians ought to have been directing investment into industry and employment.

According to Cameron, one in every £7 of government spending is devoted to welfare, amounting to £90bn a year, and this is not "simply not sustainable."

If anything is not sustainable, it is the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere that have swallowed billions of pounds to no avail, to say nothing of the human cost.

Weapons of mass destruction, such as the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, are also unsustainable, costing tens of billions and contributing nothing to society.

The level of tax avoidance in Britain is also unsustainable, costing the exchequer around £80bn annually alongside a further £20bn uncollected because of staff shortages at HM Revenue & Customs that have been exacerbated by government-imposed redundancies.

The government does nothing about these unsustainable phenomena because they work to the benefit of the wealthy who still don't pay their fair share of taxation.

The coalition assault on working-class living standards forms part of its ongoing campaign to absolve the rich of any responsibility to contribute to society.

Welfare Reform: key points

Benefits to be brought under one Universal Credit, which will also ensure those coming off welfare or increasing hours can keep 35p of benefits for every extra £1 they take home.

Housing Benefit will be restricted to cover only the cheapest 30 per cent of homes in an area with limits on the amount which can be claimed by families of a particular size.

Unemployed people who refuse to accept a job or voluntary work will lose benefits for three months on the first occasion, rising to three years if it happens three times.

A review of sickness absence to end what Mr Cameron described as the "sicknote culture"

Cutting £1 billion by replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a face-to-face assessment under Personal Independence Payment (PIP), raising fears from charities that hundreds of thousands of disabled people will lose support.
Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants