Angry protesters blocked traffic outside Downing Street on Thursday evening to oppose Tory welfare cuts.
Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) organised the protest as the Tories prepare to slash the £20 uplift to the Universal Credit (UC) benefit. They chanted, “Tax the rich, cancel the cut—£20 for all.”
Dpac activist Peter told Socialist Worker, “Working class people and disabled people are being made to pay for the Tories' pandemic mess up.”
Peter, who will lose money under the UC cut, has recently been in hospital and is suffering from ill-health. “The doctors have asked me to stick to a diet that I won’t be able to afford,” he said.
“I already buy the cheapest stuff from the cheapest places—Aldi and Lidl.”
Peter says that he’ll try his “best to follow the doctor’s advice”, but there’s a real possibility that he’ll plunge himself into debt after the £20 cut.
“I have to choose between making my health worse or going into debt,” he explained.
He added, “Dpac should continue campaigning—Labour with Keir Starmer aren't supporting us.
“It’s left to ordinary people to fight.”
The government increased Universal Credit by £20 per week at the start of the pandemic. But the Tories excluded more than two million disabled people on legacy benefits from getting the uplift.
Cathy, who's been a Dpac activist for several years, told Socialist Worker, “This is a protest against austerity. It impacts many working class people, particularly those who are disabled.
“Some disabled people seeking housing are living in bed and breakfast accommodation.
“Universal Credit currently doesn't pay enough for those people to cover rent.”
Cathy believes protests like this are important so “Tories don’t ignore our demands”.
But she added this “is a problem with the Labour” too since Keir Starmer shifted the party to the right.
Dpac calls for all benefits to be significantly increased.
Everyone should support Dpac’s actions—and fight for a welfare state that provides support for all.