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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 December 2020

No surprise, poverty is rising

We want real benefits, living wage, rent control and socialism

Empty pockets broke penniless poor poverty budget, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)

Empty pockets broke penniless poor poverty budget, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Sam Morden, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that 2.4 million, including half a million children, experienced "destitution" in 2019 - before coronavirus reached the UK. This is up 54% since 2017.

In a country where unemployment is on the rise because of the financial crisis, and more people are forced onto what little Universal Credit may give (draconian sanctions permitting), these numbers are set only to increase.

Of the destitute, a fifth are homeless or suffer from addiction. 54% have a chronic health problem or disability. 14% are in paid work. These are indictments of the capitalist system and its effect on our health.

Destitution has risen sharply in all regions. The worst affected are London, where wealth contrasts with grinding poverty, and the north of England.

A January 2020 report by the Child Poverty Action Group shows that my home constituency - Gateshead - has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the north east (42%) - equal to Middlesbrough, and second only to Newcastle Central (48%).

The Foundation's report calls for the £20-a-week rise in Universal Credit to be extended, which the Socialist Party supports. But, in one of the richest countries in the world, it should be much more.

Benefits should be similar to a real living wage. Rents should be capped and council homes built. Only when the economy is taken into democratic public ownership will we see the wealth created used to end poverty for good.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 December 2020:


News

Unemployment and Covid rising - the crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Mass testing - we need trade union oversight and full pay for all

Fight for NHS pay and funding

Rich countries hoarding vaccine is danger to us all

No to Tories' new anti-protest law

Maternity unit deaths - democratic, public ownership needed

Met police investigate British mercenary war crimes against Tamils

No surprise, poverty is rising


Education

Cancel exams for class of Covid

Welsh schools close for safety after union pressure

Effective testing and properly funded safety plan needed in schools

East London shows the way: strikes are how to fight for state education

Determined strikers at Leaways school


Workplace News

Openreach and EE: Massive vote for action

PCS union conference stripped of powers by NEC

Unite launch ballot over sacked London bus rep

Christmas redundancy shock at L&Q housing association

Stop 'fire and rehire' at British Gas


New Technology

Can green technology and AI save capitalism?


Engels

'Socialism - Utopian and Scientific' by Engels


Reports & campaigns

Protests in solidarity with Indian farmers

Book: The national question - a Marxist approach

School boy assaulted by police in Tottenham

TUSC relaunch in the north west

Protest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

Tremendous fighting fund reflects confidence


Quiz

Quiz 2020


 

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Related links:

Poverty:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleLaunching a political alternative to cuts, poverty and job losses

trianglePoverty wages: When workers can't afford to self-isolate

triangleCovid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

Living wage:

triangleSouth Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage

triangleSouth Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign

triangleLow Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

triangleTory minimum wage hike not enough

Socialism:

triangleA history of International Women's Day

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

triangleEast London Socialist Party: A fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

Benefits:

triangleLife in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard

triangleBosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Child poverty:

triangleDon't let Tories starve our kids

Universal Credit:

triangleMake the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Health:

triangleWomen's health matters

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