Socialist Worker

New attacks lie behind Tory talk of protecting 'the family'

The government’s aim to look at how policy affects the family is pure hypocrisy, writes Sadie Robinson

Issue No. 2417

David Cameron - makes cuts while claiming he wants to help families

David Cameron - makes cuts while claiming he wants to help 'families' (Pic: Number 10/flickr)


The government has declared that from October it will look at the impact of all its domestic policies on “the family”. 

David Cameron whined, “We can’t go on having government taking decisions which ignore the impact on the family.”

This is a sick joke from someone who is ramming through cuts that make ordinary people’s lives harder.

Cameron’s announcement is an attempt to shift the blame for things like poverty and unemployment away from the Tories and onto working class people.

So he threw more money at the Relate counselling service, which aims to keep people together who would rather be apart. 

The implication is that individual relationships lead to problems in society, not government policies.

The Tories also plan to extend their “troubled families” programme to target up to 500,000 families.

You have to be poor to be defined as “troubled”. Criteria include living in poor housing, having no one in a family in work and being unable to afford food.

The programme puts poor people at the mercy of intervention by various authorities while doing nothing to tackle the poverty they live in.

Tory austerity has made working class people poorer. The latest figures from the Trussell Trust charity show that the number of people visiting food banks in Britain tripled in the past year. They include 330,000 children.

Meagre

The Tories claim they are attacking benefits because they want to “make work pay”. Yet people are out of work because they can’t find jobs, not because they want a life on meagre benefits.

And most of the 13 million people officially defined as living in poverty are in work. The figure has grown since the Tories came to office.

Low pay and high rents mean that the number of people in work who claim housing benefit has soared by 59 percent. Meanwhile the gap between bosses’ salaries and workers’ pay is growing.

Bosses at Britain’s biggest 100 listed firms grab on average 143 times more than their staff. That compares to 47 times in 1998.

Next boss Lord Wolfson got 4.6 million last year while Next shop floor workers took home just £10,000—459 times less than Wolfson.

On top of that workers in Britain have been hit with higher energy price rises than in most other rich countries.

Electricity prices rose by 24 percent between 2010 and 2013 while gas prices shot up by 34 percent. Energy bills have risen four times faster than wages.

Cameron isn’t about to stop his attacks on jobs, benefits or services. In fact he made clear that more attacks are on the way.

Ominously Cameron talked of the benefits system “incentivising couples to live apart or penalising those who go out to work”.

His speech had nothing to do with protecting families. It aimed to lay the ground for more attacks.

 


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