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Letters—Universal Credit cuts will push food banks to the edge

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Issue 2772
Food banks are relying more heavily on personal donations from collection bins.
Food banks are relying more heavily on personal donations from collection bins. (Pic: Birmingham City Council/Flickr)

The reduction in Universal Credit (UC) by £20 a week will force 1.2 million people to skip meals according to a survey conducted by YouGov.

This measure shows the cruelty that Tory politicians are willing to set upon ordinary people. There is a complete disconnect and lack of care between Tories and inner city communities.

Politicians with grassroots connections such as Jeremy Corbyn and Zarah Sultana are a blessing. They’ve provided support and shown the world the realities that many people face.

But despite great acts of solidarity, food bank staff and volunteers have seen numbers increase.

I’ve volunteered in foodbanks for three years. We saw numbers attending rise dramatically as workplaces closed due to Covid-19.

Food banks are incredibly stretched and often struggle to provide the support we’re determined to give. This daily challenge is set to get a lot worse.

Universal credit cuts mean it’s ‘heat or eat’
Universal credit cuts mean it’s ‘heat or eat’
  Read More

The obstacles we face come in many forms. A recent YouGov poll showed that 23 percent of those surveyed said they haven’t been able to afford personal hygiene products.

Alongside this, 21 percent of UC claimants said they may not be able to heat their homes in winter.

And 11 percent say they will no longer be able to afford the energy cost of operating an oven.

Foodbanks and mutual aid volunteers are being challenged as to how to provide accessible meals.

The Conservative Party slogan is, “Build back better.”

But that doesn’t mean rebuilding the communities that have suffered decades of council cuts and austerity measures.

It means lining the pockets of their super rich friends even further.

The work that foodbank volunteers do is vital.

But we must continue to pressure the Tories over austerity—and ensure food, heating and personal hygiene products are rights, not luxuries.

Emily Lloyd,


Care crisis is unjust

The Tories’ disastrous plans for addressing the social care funding crisis will increase the burden on working class people whilst benefitting the rich.

Disabled campaigners have been fighting for a national independent living support service paid for by general taxation and free at the point of need for a long time.

Such a service should be capable of meeting all disabled people’s human rights and be capable of providing good quality services.

Disabled activists within Britain’s trade union’s previously organised to get motions in support of these demands. They were passed by the Unite union and the Trade Union Congress in 2019.

The assembled vision document was supported by both disabled people and social care workers. It outlined that we are against integration with the NHS.

Disabled people have suffered decades of unequal access, discrimination and deaths by neglect. The pandemic showed that entrenched attitudes towards disability within medical services are inconsistent with the aim of supporting equal life opportunities for disabled people.

An understanding of disabled people’s oppression—something alarmingly absent from debates on the future of social care—must be at the heart of any social care reforms.

Better pay and conditions for workers go hand in hand with this approach.

Ellen Clifford

London Disabled People Against Cuts

Tories falsely claim to represent the workers

The Tories have in recent years tried to present themselves as the party of the working class.

After the “fall” of the Red Wall in 2019, they have boasted that communities that were once staunchly Labour have turned blue.

But with a National Insurance tax increase of 1.25 percentage points and the suspension of the “triple lock” pension system, their attempt to appear as friends of working people is laughable. Johnson says the money will fund spending on health and social care.

The truth is that the Tories are trying to claw back money they lost through concessions made during the pandemic.

Some £36 billion will be stolen from workers over three years, hitting mostly the young and low-paid—and further devastating communities.

Liam Tuckwod,


CEOs determined to drill oil until 2070

The New Scientist magazine was recently entirely dedicated to how we can solve climate change. They asked the oil barons when the reliance on fossil fuels would end.

“The world is going to need oil for decades to come,” said Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub. Oil and Gas company, Shell predicts an expiry date of 2070.

‘Tax the rich’ is just the start of what’s needed
‘Tax the rich’ is just the start of what’s needed
  Read More

This is awful. These companies show that profit comes before life. They will not change and want to keep profiting from fossil fuels despite the terrible effects on the rest of us.

We should jail all the oil company CEOs responsible for the climate disaster and seize and nationalise their assets to conduct the green energy transition that we desperately need. The revenue in 2018 of the US fossil fuel industry is around £130 billion according to Statista.

That’s enough to fund a just transition to net zero.

These oil criminals should face life in jail on an island off the coast of Scotland where only the seagulls and seals go.

Extinction Rebellion, trade unions and the environmental movement should target these criminals with these demands.

Tim Knight-Hughes,


Boris Johnson is a racist

Boris Johnson has joined in the condemnation of the abuse directed at black England players by far right Hungarian football fans. It’s hypocritical that he has done so.

Johnson has a long history of racism, including his vile comments about African people and Muslim women.

Johnson has also made a point of supporting and encouraging the Islamophobic, antisemitic and homophobic Hungarian government of Viktor Orban.

Mark Brown,


Politicians target poor

Why does Socialist Worker seem surprised that tax increases will avoid the rich and hit the poor the hardest?

Politicians get into politics to advance their economic status and further enrich themselves.

Andres Viveros,

On Facebook

Johnson must resign

If Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga can resign with dignity following a spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths after the Olympics and Paralympics surely British politicians can also.

Covid-19 has been much worse here than in Japan, so jog on Boris, we dare you to resign.


On Twitter

Blame Tories, not migrants

Private rent isn’t increasing because of “mass immigration”, that’s a racist myth that Socialist Worker is right to stand against.

There are hundreds of thousands of vacant properties.

There is little regulation for private sector renting. Almost all laws favour the landlord.

Don’t blame immigration for the problems the Tory government is responsible for.

Nic Taylor,

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