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LETTERS – Weak Tories can be beaten if we unite to scrap Universal Credit

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Issue 2627
Protesting against Universal Credit in April this year
Protesting against Universal Credit in April this year (Pic: Jane Clendon)

News that the government is further delaying the rollout of Universal Credit (UC) has been welcomed by people who campaign against it.

We do not want to see hundreds of thousands of people left in confusion and despair by the UC regime.

The little income they have to survive on can suddenly stop and they have no support to challenge it.

Years of cuts to frontline services mean that many disabled people simply don’t have support to meet their basic day to day needs. Let alone read mail, fill in forms or go online. The government has spent billions of pounds on UC. Now it has belatedly realised the total nightmare that “managed migration” was about to create.

This is the process of all benefit claimants having to re-apply to go onto UC to continue receiving their money.

But let’s be clear. The reason the government has announced this delay isn’t because the Tories care.

It’s because the Tories are so weak they want to avoid any potentially divisive issue.

Also, simply to pause the rollout of UC is not the answer.

As research published last week by Inclusion London and the University of Essex shows, the use of sanctions to “incentivise” a work ethic among claimants is not just cruel. It is also counter-productive.

The research was based on testimonies by disabled people on the Employment and Support Allowance.

It found that people deemed well enough to carry out work-related activities and to search for jobs often felt sanctions undermined their confidence and made mental health difficulties worse.

Universal Credit must be stopped now. It should be scrapped and we need to be united in accepting nothing less.

Ellen Clifford, South London

Don’t allow anti-Zionism to be silenced

After much wrangling, Labour left factions agreed a joint slate of candidates to stand for Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

One disagreement was whether Momentum founder Jon Lansman would back Stephen Marks, a member of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL). Marks eventually stayed on the slate.

JVL has defended Labour members’ right to criticise the racist nature of the Israeli state. But Lansman has led calls to give in to the right’s campaign to severely restrict criticism of Israel.

Now the Jewish Chronicle reports that Lansman dislikes JVL’s very existence because “to actually argue about Zionism itself is only going to exacerbate the problem.”

He also believes that “there needs to be an acceptance of Israel’s right to exist, alongside a Palestinian state”. This means the Labour left wouldn’t be allowed to argue for a single state for Jews and Arabs together.

Lansman thinks that giving into the right will make them lay off.

His own actions show that giving in only helps to silence legitimate debate on Palestine.

Jenny Porter, Carlisle

European Union wants to keep wages down

The Spanish government wants to raise the minimum wage but the “worker-friendly” European Union (EU) doesn’t like it one bit.

The government proposes an unprecedented 22 percent rise in the minimum wage.

In addition it wants to raise pensions, increase paternity leave, spend more on unemployment and disability benefits and invest more in housing and education.

But according to Spanish newspaper El Pais a high-ranking EU official has said the measures are not something a “responsible government” would do.

This is nothing new.

A couple of years ago an EU document praised the government for keeping a lid on wage rises while trying to end collective bargaining.

It’s hard to reconcile the Labour left’s obsession with remaining in the EU with the EU’s actions in the Spanish state.

Bernie Wilcox, Manchester

Court win for PCS union

My union, the civil service workers’ union PCS, won a victory last week against the Tories’ attempts to destroy us.

In 2015 the Department for Work and Pensions ended the “check-off” system of deducting trade union subscriptions directly from employees’ wages.

This was a nasty political attempt to destroy PCS, as these subscriptions made up 90 percent of our income.

Members, reps and PCS staff worked tirelessly to get members signed up to pay their union dues by direct debit.

Now the High Court, has ruled that the withdrawal of check-off was illegal.

The government has to pay the union £3 million plus our legal costs in settlement.

We must now build workplace organisation so that next time we have a strike ballot, we can smash through the 50 percent turnout threshold.

Steve West, PCS DWP group executive committee (personal capacity)

Royal Mail shares fix

the average Royal Mail share price was £5.40-£5.80 for years.

But the very day before the workers’ shares could be sold tax-free, the price dropped to £3.60.

As workers were losing out, Royal Mail’s new supremo Rico Back was welcomed as chief executive officer with a payment of £6 million.

Nigel Coward, West London

Blinkered Blairites

THe Blairites got teary-eyed at pictures of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown together last week.

Between them they lost hundreds of thousands of Labour members and millions of votes. But the Blairites still think they can “save” Labour.

Jason Cunningham, Stratford-upon-Avon

Corbyn’s no communist

chancellor Philip Hammond described Labour’s election promises as a “Marxist manifesto” last week.

If only!

Deborah Whittaker, Northallerton

Great news from Germany

It was blooming brilliant to see your report of the huge march against the far right in Germany. (Socialist Worker, 17 October). Solidarity!

Maureen Topley, On Facebook

Tories aim to hurt the poor

Your feature on the effect of Universal Credit was shocking. (Socialist Worker, 17 October.)

For the Tories it’s a good day at the office if their policies lead to starvation and suicide of poor and disabled people.

Cahit Cetinkaya, On Facebook

Deportation risks lives

It’s outrageous that the Tories would risk a man’s life to push him through deportation (Socialist Worker, 17 October). Time to shut down the immigration detention centres.

Hannah Biss, On Twitter

DLFA is not working class

Excellent stuff in your last issue on why it’s wrong to see the DFLA as “authentic” working class (Socialist Worker, 17 October).

At last some decent class analysis of the DLFA.

David Webber, On Twitter

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