Seconding a motion on social security and austerity today (September 12), Unite delegate Anna Rothery urged the TUC conference to “look at the bigger picture.”
“Cuts to social security, the slashing of benefits, the destructive roll-out of Universal Credit – it’s all part of the government’s ongoing austerity offensive against our people,” she argued.
Drawing from her own experience as a Labour councillor for Princes Park ward in Liverpool, Anna said that the vast majority of the casework she deals with is “about helping people whose lives are being ruined by austerity to try and pick up the pieces.”
“And Congress – these cuts have targeted claimants and support workers alike,” she added.
Anna pointed to research from Unite from over 30 advice centres, law centres and Citizen Advice centres showing that over three quarters of the union’s members are reporting surging workloads because of increased demand and cuts in staff.
“The political chaos dominating the headlines clouds the fact that the one constant and unwavering feature of Tory governments — from Theresa May back to David Cameron’s coalition – is a commitment to austerity,” she said.
“It is an ideological project – to crush working class communities and for ten years our movement has fought alone,” Anna went on to say. “But not anymore.”
She highlighted that the motion “welcomes the fundamental change which has come from the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
“Suddenly the ground is shaking under the Tories feet as the Labour Party takes its rightful place at our side – smashing the cosy consensus of austerity,” she said.
“This motion calls for the complete overhaul of social security – towards a system built on the socialist principles social insurance and a welfare system based on need,” Anna added.
“After ten long years the end is finally within sight,” she told conference as she urged delegates to support the motion as “a first step towards defeating the austerity offensive.”
The motion was carried.