The Tories are rowing among themselves about whether to hand money over to manufacturing industry bosses. But all of them agree on taking money from the poor.
A week after the Tories cut Universal Credit (UC) by £20, people who rely on it to survive are already struggling.
Peter is a UC claimant and an activist with Disabled People Against Cuts activist in London. “People were close—if not over the edge—before the cut, now it’s not enough to live on,” he said.
“Tories fail to see that £20 is a lot of money—to them it’s just a glass of wine.”
Peter said the benefits system is “broken.”
“The Tories will never tax the rich—which would actually make a difference,” he said. “But it always comes down to the working class and disabled to pay.”
Peter said the cut has affected his health. He can’t follow the diet his doctor recommends.
“There are simple things they’ve suggested that I’ve just had to dismiss—some supplements that cost £10, £15 a bottle,” he said.”
“I’m sticking to the healthy things within my budget that they told me to, but that means I still have to eat ready meals and stuff.”
With winter coming, Peter fears he won’t be able to afford bills or Christmas.
“I’ve got a freestanding electric heater that eats through the electric bill,” he said. “One household disaster—fridge or cooker breaking—and I’m knackered.
“I’ll just have to dress up warm like a polar bear.”
Sean who lives in Glasgow has recently come out of employment and is claiming Job Seekers Allowance, a legacy benefit excluded from the uplift.
He told Socialist Worker, “I get £75 a week. It’s a joke, it’s not enough to live on. All prices are skyrocketing.
“This is a direct result of Tory policy over the last decade. They’ve got away with it by scapegoating us as ‘scroungers’ but what they’re doing is pillaging and plundering in plain sight.”
Sean described expensive Tory failures throughout the pandemic such as the faulty test and trace app and dodgy deals with their super rich friends. “It’s not the people at the top who are going to pay for these failures,” he said, “It’s all part of a plan to make working class people pay.
“Cuts to universal credit, increase to National Insurance, no real terms pay rise for key workers and so on.
“They are willing to put the mass of the population into the dust as the greed and corruption at the top is off the scale”
Sean says the benefits system should be a “safety net for people”. But for the Tories, he said, “The aim is to punish people—the system is designed to catch people out.
“We want a social security system that will support people and not let people die.”
The Tory hypocrisy on pay hits rock Bottomley
Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley has said that some of his fellow MPs find it “really grim” to live on a salary of £82,000.
He called for MPs to receive a 22 percent pay rise to take their annual wage to a huge £100,000.
Dpac activist Peter said Bottomley is “is taking the piss”.
“He can’t actually believe £82,000 isn’t enough to live on,” said Peter. “Is he saying it just to annoy people, just to get in the papers? Peter pointed out that these same Tories accuse benefits claimants of simply having money management issues.
“They accuse us of owning flat screen TVs, Sky Sports, always in the pub, taking drugs—I don’t do any of that,” he said.
“The system entirely is to blame for the poor remaining poor.
“£82,000 is more than enough unless he’s doing the drugs and drink that they accuse us of doing.”
Time in the sun, but only for some
After emptying the pockets of working class people, Boris Johnson swanned off on holiday to the Costa Del Sol.
Amid an energy and supply crisis and a rising cost of living, Tory business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was a “reasonable” time for Johnson to take a break.
Universal Credit claimant Peter said the Tories “live on a different planet”.
“The Tories say ‘we can’t afford to give you this or that, you need you to tighten your belt’ but then they can go off to Marbella,” he added.
Johnson loves a holiday. In 2019 he enjoyed a free holiday on the private Caribbean island of Mustique, in the private villa of Tory donor David Ross.
Now he’s staying in a luxury villa owned by his Tory chum Baron Zac Goldsmith.
“It’s annoying, I wish I had mates that could put me up,” said Peter.
“The closest I’m going to get to a holiday is sitting in the park.”
“It’s outrageous,” said Sean, another benefits claimant. “It makes my blood boil. The corruption is out in the open.
“We don’t need more of a voice in the mainstream media saying ‘this is awful, let’s get rid of them’ but we need them to say this is how the rotten system works. Let’s get rid of that system.”