UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Welfare cuts and the world turned upside down‏

The Con Dem Coalition Government has unveiled £7bn of cuts in welfare entitlements and the political response has been a mixed bag to say the least. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11459055

Oxfam made a principled response to the proposed cuts saying ‘forcing people to live below the bread-line should never be a tactic to encourage them back into employment and from our experience, most people who are stuck on benefits do want to work’.

The response from politicians to the proposals has been less predictable. While Labour MP Frank Field masquerades as the Con Dem Government’s so called poverty Tsar, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes has issued a warning that benefit cuts ‘will not be approved’.

Credit for Hughes for being at least one leading politician prepared to break from the grotesque bipartisanship accompanying these draconian attacks on the poorest in society. This was picked up recently by BBC political editor Nick Robinson:

Sadly, Ed Miliband in his first PMQ’s felt it necessary to pledge to Cameron Labour’s support for the Government’s benefit reforms “let me turn to the issue of benefits and say to the Prime Minister that we will work with him on his reforms to disability living allowance and to sickness benefits, because they are important reforms and they need to be done”

Even the TUC, whose sharp analysis of the Con Dem public spending cuts has been second to none, makes reference to 'the Government's laudable aim for a fairer benefits system’ when the proposals are nothing of the sort: http://www.tuc.org.uk/social/tuc-18580-f0.cfm

The ‘back to the workhouse’ welfare policies should be opposed by all trade unionists – no weasel words can justify cuts in housing and sickness benefits of the poorest people in Britain.