Benefits caps hits working people

Unions have reacted to Government action to cap benefits. Shopworkers’ Union Usdaw has said the Benefits Uprating Bill will cost families with two children more than £1,000 in the next three years.


The 1% cap on increases to tax credits and child benefit at a time when inflation is predicted to be between at least 2-3% will make a massive difference to families on low and middle incomes.


“These are the cruellest of cuts at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet,” said General Secretary John Hannett. “How can the Coalition justify taking money out of the pockets of families on low incomes who rely on in-work benefits to provide the basic necessities for their children.”


“Working people on low and middle incomes have already borne a disproportionate cost from the Government’s cuts. The freeze on Working Tax Credit and on Child Benefit has already substantially cut the incomes of working people at a time when the cost of basic necessities like food and fuel has been rising so sharply.


“Many of our members are reporting that they struggle to afford to feed their families and heat their homes. That cannot be right for people who are already working as many hours as they can.


“The further cuts announced in the Benefits Uprating Bill are a kick in the teeth for working people that will fill many households with despair. Our members cannot understand how this Government can give a tax cut to millionaires at the same time as cutting the support that working people rely on to keep them above the breadline.”


Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “These latest cuts to welfare show the disdain with which this government views ordinary people and underlines just how out of touch it is with working families struggling to make ends meet.


“Cuts to vital support, like housing benefit and tax credits, will have a devastating impact on many in society, sucking money out of the economy and plunging people in to poverty. This is not just self-defeating, it will set this nation back a generation.


“Cameron and Osborne’s failing economic strategy lies in tatters, yet their response is to turn people against one another – people without disabilities against those with, those in work against those without and the young against old.


“Many Unite members, including NHS workers, care workers, bank workers and cleaners rely on welfare support such as housing benefit and child tax credits.  This does not give them a lavish lifestyle, but merely allows people to put food on the table and keep a roof over their families’ heads.


“It adds insult to injury that at a time when ordinary people are facing cuts to vital support, the government is handing out massive tax breaks for millionaires.


“Unlike this government, Unite is firmly on the side of people – in and out of work – as they fight to resist state-imposed impoverishment.  Rather than attacking the poorest, the government should concentrate on getting growth back in to the economy and tackling our jobs crisis.”


PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “No one really believes this bill is a serious attempt to help our economy; it is simply another shameful attempt to punish people on low incomes for a crisis caused by the recklessness and greed of wealthy bankers.


“The Tory-led campaign to demonise people who are out of work, in an attempt to turn neighbour against neighbour, is a stain on our society and we should be proud of our welfare state and seek to improve it.”


PCS are expected to launch a campaign drawing on the experiences of their members in the DWP and Jobcentre Plus.



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