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From: The Socialist issue 895, 30 March 2016: We demand a real living wage of 10 an hour now!

Search site for keywords: Disabled - Cuts - Benefits - Tories - Disability - Protest - Parliament - Employment and Support Allowance - ESA - George Osborne

Disabled activists shame tory cutters

Amalia, disabled worker

Disabled people protested against Tory attacks on our benefits in parliament on 23 March.

I joined around 40 people to protest during Prime Minister's Questions. Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) called the action. "Cut Osborne", "No more deaths from benefit cuts" and "Is this how to treat disabled people?" were some of the slogans on banners.

This took place in the aftermath of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain "IDS" Duncan Smith's resignation. He hypocritically claimed he resigned because of cuts to disability benefits. Replacement Stephen Crabb is no better. And IDS voted through the cuts budget no problem.

ESA

He also backed the 30 a week cut to 'Employment and Support Allowance' for disabled people. The Tories forced this through the Lords, against strong opposition, on 7 March.

Chancellor George Osborne has subsequently backed down on one attack - cuts to 'Personal Independence Payments'. See socialistparty.org.uk website article, 'Tories cut disabled dignity for tax breaks', for the Socialist's coverage ahead of the climbdown.

This is a victory for all activists. It was supported by public outcry and a tremendous naming and shaming campaign in the mass media.

This led to a number of Tory MPs publicly opposing the cuts. Three were asked to resign their positions as patrons of disability charities, including Tory London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith.

Despite the victory, there was lots of well-justified anger in the crowd.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell greeted the protesters, saying all Jeremy Corbyn's questions to David Cameron were on cuts in benefits and the disability allowance.

This is good. So was John's warm embrace of a Dpac activist.

However, Labour and the unions have the power to do more than just ask difficult questions. Disability allowance cuts stirred the Tory pot, and IDS popped out.

This shows that - just like when they retreated over cutting tax credits - a section of the Tories is worried about anger over continuing austerity and growing inequality.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Trade Union Congress should organise mass demonstrations and coordinated strikes against this weak and divided government. Then the rest of the Tories would have to follow IDS.

The Socialist Party says that disabled people have the right to play a full part in society.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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