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Cameron’s welfare merry-go-round

Tories attack on in-work poor
Jody Whitehill, Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

A new report out today (Tuesday September 22) shows that the best way to help the in-work poor is through tax credits and that they should be increased to eliminate financial inequality.


But Cameron and Osborne want to slash financial support worth thousands of pounds from Britain’s poorest families.


Osborne announced shameful cuts that will devastate families relying on tax credits to top up their low pay in his budget in August.


Cameron has promised to ‘fix’ what he has named the ‘welfare merry-go-round’.


But the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that in-work benefits like tax credits, which encourage people to work at the same time, help to share the wealth.


The IFS stated: “The lifetime poor spend the majority of their working lives in paid work. As a result, policy makers looking to target the lifetime poor might favour doing so through in-work benefits.”


“David Cameron claims to be on the side of hardworking families. Yet these callous cuts will harm thousands of families in low paid work trying their hardest to earn an honest living,” said Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary.


Instead the Tories are increasing our tax-free personal allowance – a move which the IFS say will have little impact over a worker’s lifetime.


Personal allowance is the amount of money you can earn before you are taxed. At the moment it is £10,600. In April 2016 it will rise to £10,800.


“Increasing people’s untaxable pay while slashing in-work benefits is just a shameful attempt to disguise further attacks on the working poor – it does not benefit the very lowest paid and overall gives more gains to the wealthiest,” said Steve.


The Tories have committed to reducing welfare spending by £12bn by 2018. But low-paid workers wouldn’t require tax credits if their employers paid them a living wage.


“It’s immoral for billion pound companies to pour millions over directors while relying on the state to top up the poverty wages they pay their workers,” said Steve.


“We see no proper action to drive up wages. A small increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for those over 25 years old is simply not sufficient,” he added.


“If Cameron really wanted higher wages we would have a NMW that was at least the Living Wage for everyone and enabling stronger trade unions. But we see no signs of this, only another way of squeezing the poor and further legal attacks on working people being able to organise in the trade union bill,” added Steve.


Unite believes that decent work is a human right and the #fightfor5 campaign is for decent work for all.


The #fightfor5 promotes hope and opportunity for workers instead of fear and insecurity that goes hand in hand with low paid, insecure work.




Unite is calling for:


1 A wage we can live on

2 Safe, secure work

3 Guaranteed hours each week

4 Training, development and career opportunities

5 A collective voice and union representation


Support the campaign


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