Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Ahead of a general election New Labour turns to bashing the poor

The government has announced new plans for benefits claimants which may mean cuts in benefits and people being forced into unsuitable low paid work.

This 'new' approach will no doubt be applauded by Daily Mail readers and the private sector companies who plan to profit from the easy money on offer for 'placing ' the unemployed in jobs.

The people the government are aiming at are single parents and those on incapacity benefit. I have to ask what is the point of forcing a single parent to go into a low paid job so she can (just about) afford to pay a child-minder to look after her children when they would be better off belong looked after by her?

Of course, those looking for work will be offered 'help' in the form of writing CVs. This is likely to be a great help when unemployment is set to rise to 3 million in the next year or so.

Many of those who aren't working are doing so for good reasons, but what must never be forgotten is that unemployment is an essential part of the Capitalist economy. Capitalism requires unemployment to keep labour costs down. - "...unemployment is not an aberration of capitalism, indicating any sort of systemic malfunction. Rather, unemployment is a necessary structural feature of capitalism, intended to discipline the workforce." - see this link.

If we want a decent welfare system, which combats the poverty endemic in the capitalist system, we need a citizens income, which is Green Party policy. At a time when capitalists are benefiting more than ever from corporate welfare why should the poor be made to suffer in this way? Answer - because it will play well with the Tory voters that New Labour wants to attract back before the next election.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

PCS described the Welfare white paper as “regressive”.

James Purnell has managed to combine Workfare with privatisation to bring us the worst of all possible worlds founded on openly Tory ideology (with open – and necessary – Tory support).

The idea of making the poor work for nothing (or very little) in a recession is not new and certainly not modern. In the 1930s the state built “Instructional Centres” - labour camps to which the long term unemployed could be sent to work.

In the 1830s the New Poor Law was founded on the concept of “less eligibility” - the idea that the lot of the “pauper” should be worse than that of the labouring poor.

The purpose of this approach has nothing to do with welfare – and nothing whatsoever to do with the interests of “hard working families” - on the contrary, the state is stepping in to try to ensure that the “reserve army of labour” is forced out into the labour market in order to do its job of depressing wages and holding down working class living standards in order to restore profitability.

New Labour of course bring a novel little twist to this toxic rehash of right-wing ideology by proposing that the whole thing be done in the private sector. I hope UNISON will be joining those who condemn this outrage.