Socialist Worker

Tories to plunge thousands of children into poverty...

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2287

The Tories suffered another setback to their brutal Welfare Reform Bill this Monday.

The House of Lords voted to exclude child benefits from the cap, following fears that over 100,000 children would be plunged into poverty.

The bill would impose a cap on benefits of £500 a week for a household.

It is one of a number of attacks on welfare that it hopes would save between £6 billion and £7 billion pounds a year.

But work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith pledges to overturn the Lords’ amendment when the bill returns to the House of Commons.

He says the bill would be “pointless” without the cap on child benefit.

Large sections of the media are cheering him on.

Since the new cap would apply to the whole household rather than individual children, it amounts to a harsh tax on large families.

Economist Tim Leunig calculates that “after rent, council tax and utilities, a family with four children would have 62p per person per day to live on. That is physically impossible.”

This is the fifth time the House of Lords have voted against measures in the bill.

But even if their amendments are not later overturned, the bill still contains plenty of toxic attacks.

When even sections of the ruling class are this nervous about the Tories going too far, it shows that there is the potential to stop them.

…and attack Disability Living Allowance

The government hopes to cut disability benefit spending by 20 percent—pushing over 500,000 people off it altogether.

It wants to replace the Disability Living Allowance, which helps people pay for care and mobility support, with a Personal Independence Payment. Many people will see their payments drastically cut.

And the Tories also want to make people submit to constant, humiliating tests to prove their disabilities are real.

Iain Duncan Smith talks as if he is doing disabled people a favour by giving them new impetus to get a job.

“But the real barrier to employment for disabled people isn’t unwillingness to work,” said Andy Greene from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

“The real barriers include attitudes, discrimination, the built environment and getting the right support.

“Forty percent of families with one disabled child live in abject poverty. This figure rises to 50 percent where there are two disabled children.”

DPAC and other campaign groups have held regular lobbies of the Lords against the Welfare Reform Bill. This Saturday they will be joined by UK Uncut for a civil disobedience protest.

Protest against the Welfare Reform Bill. Called by DPAC and UK Uncut.

Meet 11.30am at Holborn underground station with a charged Oyster card.

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Tue 24 Jan 2012, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2287
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