The British people have been fooled by our government and by the right wing media, into thinking that our benefit system is the province only of the laziest and most selfish in society: we’ve been tricked into thinking that we could never need the benefit system to support us because we are not like the slobs that use and abuse it and choose to lie in that system rather than go out for work. We’re not like that. We work damn hard for a living, we want to work and would never dream of sponging off the state. SO we need to get those people get off benefits and the only way to do it is by cutting benefits. It doesn’t matter to me, I’m never going to need them because I’m not afraid of work.
WRONG! Those of us at the lowest end of the wage scale are the ones most likely to need benefits, whether it is to supplement the poor wage we receive, or because our jobs are the most vulnerable to market changes, or because we have the weakest collective bargaining power. By arguing for or allowing unchallenged the stripping of out-of-work benefits we champion the destruction of a safety net. You may not want to need benefits, but at some point in your life, you may in fact need them. Governments also have a duty to lead people, particularly children, out of poverty, and a more generous welfare system was one of the key strategies for achieving this under Labour. Tax credits as well. This was a substitute for pushing for a living wage in this country, or regulating house prices or investing in childcare and public transport – key issues for the lowest paid people in society.
Our current government and its media arm want us to think that the majority of people on benefits are scroungers and that system is corrupt. This gives them the platform to strip it bare; and by doing so the security of all of us at the bottom of the pile is made more precarious. Raising the minimum wage helps and raising the tax threshold helps us keep money in our pockets, but there’s danger on the horizon.
If the goal of the Conservative government is to take the poorest people out of paying any tax then they are also planning to take our political legs out from under us. If we pay nothing into the system then what credibility does our voice have when we speak out against public policy? We’re not paying anything so why should we be given a say? Isn’t that exactly what they say about people on benefits? If they’re not paying anything into the NHS through taxation then why should they benefit from using it at other people’s expense? Isn’t that what they say about people on benefits?? If we earn the least, contribute the least tax yet are most dependent on government funded/government subsidised public services, won’t we, THE WORKING POOR, be the next scroungers in society? And if people are paying less tax then how will services be funded. Won’t it just justify more and more cuts and greater privatisation? And who will be most vulnerable to the effects of this? People on benefits and THE WORKING POOR, and the stretched people in the middle who thought they could just about ‘have it all’, as promised in the middle class dream.