The conservative led coalition government continues to attack and dismantle the welfare state, something that my grandparent’s generation worked so hard to provide for us. That generation suffered two world wars and really fought through hard times in the hope that their efforts would provide a better standard of living and better lives for future generations.
In order to dismantle and remove everything that was achieved by my grandparent’s generation the Conservative tactic seems to be to demonise benefit claimants as skivers and then trying to turn public opinion against them and effectively make the poor poorer whilst coaxing them to blame one another.
When George Osborne announced a real terms cut in the cash value of welfare benefits, and made reference to the work-shy in bed with the curtains closed, he failed to mention that only 2% of the welfare bill goes to the unemployed.
In Hillingdon there are over 6000 people in low paid jobs and claiming benefit, despite what a millionaire like George Osborne might think, these people are by no means work-shy skivers in bed with the curtains closed.
It is also interesting to note that 83% of new housing benefit claimants are in work as are three quarters of all those who claim tax credit.
Meanwhile at the other end of the scale we see that people earning over £150,000 a year are getting a 5% tax reduction. This really does prove that we are not and never have been all in this together.
Even locally the Conservatives are boasting that they are freezing council tax again this year, but the localisation of council tax benefit and the local Tory scheme means that the lowest paid and the unwaged will see around a 20% rise in their council tax. So once again those that can least afford it have to pay more.
We are seeing more and more demand on charity run food banks with people in real need and struggling to put food on the table, and at the same time highly paid bankers, speculators and executives are still raking in their obscene bonuses.
We must not let the current government hoodwink us by pitching us against each other whilst they rip apart our welfare state that people like my grandparents fought so hard to provide.
Cllr Peter Curling
Leader of the Labour Group
London Borough of Hillingdon