Saturday, 30 March 2013

Stop All Cuts!

It is great to see people out marching against this invidious tax on poorer people. Yet, as has been pointed out elsewhere, an even more insidious tax is going to levied upon most benefits claimants, namely the 30% Council Tax chargeable from Monday!

Basically, Council Tax Benefit is to be abolished and replaced with a localised Council Tax support scheme, which means all but those protracted groups, pensioners, some disabled people, etc will have to pay a portion, up to 30%, of their Council Tax. Where once most unemployed people were protected, this protection will fall.

My point is this. Some weeks back I was closely involved in a bedroom tax campaign group in London. Good people campaigning against the break-up of our Welfare State. However, as I began to read deeper and deeper into this government's plans to smash our social security, it dawned on me that we're being inundated with campaigns; and almost every month an invitation comes my way to join a steering group for this project or that campaign.

Bedroom tax, 30% Council Tax imposition, the removal of the Independent Living Fund, lack of proper procedural reporting of disability hate crime in Lambeth, the closure of one-o'clock clubs, the closure of libraries, the abolishing of Disability Living Allowance in favour of a harder to access Personal Independence Payment; there are transport campaigns going on to force greater accessibility on our train systems, as well as saving thousands of jobs on the railways. And of course ongoing campaigns such as those against the horrors of ATOS medical examinations.

Oh, and Universal Credit, just to make sure we aren't caught napping!

Bit by bit this government is rolling out policies that will destroy our welfare state - not to mention the havoc they're creating in the NHS and our schools.

At every turn we attempt to deal with these issues; and its normally in the fashion I've mentioned earlier; that is we react to the new threat. At best we are fire fighting these situations.

Sadly I don't have the solution to the problem. I don't know how we can save our welfare system from the onslaught of government backed neo-liberalism. However, I do know that if we continue to form a new campaign group every time a new tax or cut is announced, I know we will end up exhausted, chasing ghosts and achieving little. What is needed is cohesion.

We as a class, as a movement need to pull our strengths together; we need a focal point, leadership. We are currently hundreds of small organisations trying to be heard in a hubbub of political activity. Unfortunately we continue to fight each other on political differences; differences often lost in the mists of time. Let's forget our differences and stop the divisiveness that will see us defeated by an opponent, equally as politically diverse as us, but who is able to focus on their commonality, greed!

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