Socialist Worker

We deserve better than Labour's choice of decent benefits or jobs

Issue No. 2395

Ed Miliband says he has declared war on inequality. The Labour leader hopes to benefit from the widespread anger at the growing gap between the rich and poor in Britain.

He said George Osborne’s budget will only help the “privileged few”. He’s right. 

But it’s hypocrisy to whine about this while promising to drive through the same cuts as the Tories.

Labour’s message isn’t one of equality. Rather it is a rehashed version of the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.

So Miliband often talks about wanting to help “hardworking families”. He said a “strivers’ tax” in last year’s budget hit “hard working families”.

The idea is that some people aren’t hardworking and don’t deserve help. There are strivers and skivers.  And if people are poor or out of work it’s their own fault.

For all the rhetoric, Labour is abandoning some of its pledges to reduce inequality.

In January last year shadow chancellor Ed Balls said Tory cuts to child benefit were “unfair”. Now he’s admitted that reversing them is not a “priority”. 

He’s also scrapped a plan to cut VAT—a move that would have helped the poorest the most.

Balls said Labour would invest in jobs instead.

We shouldn’t face a choice of decent benefits or jobs. 

But Labour isn’t willing to challenge the wealth and power of the rich. Working class people deserve better than this.

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What We Think
Tue 18 Mar 2014, 18:28 GMT
Issue No. 2395
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