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From: The Socialist issue 919, 5 October 2016: Tories out!

Search site for keywords: Poverty - London - living wage - Pay - Minimum wage - Benefits - Debt

Millions have less than 100 savings

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)

Ellen Kenyon Peers

How much is in your savings account? According to a new report published by the under-threat Money Advice Service, 44% of UK workers have savings of less than 100.

Even in the wealthiest regions, over 30% are 'non-savers'. Although the report identifies low wages and the high cost of living as factors, unfortunately it emphasises respondents saying they lack money management skills.

No doubt this is true for some. But no amount of money management will turn poverty pay into a living wage.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of data, however, is that almost half of 'non-savers' have an income above 30,000 - above the UK median wage. The report states that roughly the same number said they had no financial goals for the next five years.

The average UK rent - excluding London - is 724 a month. This average rises 2.5% every month. And the average house price has skyrocketed to 216,750.

With prices so high, it is easy to see why people earning a real living wage would not set financial goals such as owning their own home. A 25-year mortgage for a one-bed flat in London could cost 2,300 per month.

More council housing is desperately needed, as well as rent control and secure tenancy.

Those unable to save are also at permanent risk of being plunged into debt by a sudden bill or unexpected expense. Even the cheapest funeral, for example, can cost grieving family members around 3,700.

The Socialist Party fights for a 10 minimum wage without exemptions, and living benefits. It shouldn't matter how much is in your savings account. The huge resources of the super-rich could instead provide for all.

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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.
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