Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Welfare for All
PCS has issued a statement 'Welfare for All' to support the campaign to keep a fair and just welfare state, and to oppose the government's welfare reform proposals - which the BBC reports today are about to get even worse.
Mark Serwotka said: "The government needs to pay heed to the growing chorus of opposition to its plans for welfare reform. The plans are regressive and will lead to the removal of the state safety net and the introduction of the free market, where the only motive is profit for the few and not help for the many. As recession bites these are the wrong proposals at the wrong time."
The welfare state is one of the UK's greatest achievements and supports us all especially vulnerable and unemployed people and their families.
In July the government published the green paper 'No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility' announcing plans to change the current provision of support.
Many of the plans were unacceptable when they were first published and the worsening economic situation should lead to a fundamental rethink. However the government is pressing ahead despite the current global economic downturn which is leading to increasing levels of unemployment. As a result we have come together.
The government's proposals remove entitlements and fail to value the important work of parents and carers. Parents with young children, carers, sick, disabled, people with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups face tougher tests to qualify for benefits. If they fail they could be cut off with no support.
We are opposed to the abolition of Income Support which ends the principle that those in need deserve help. We are opposed to compulsory work for benefits. People should be paid the rate for the job or at the very least be paid the national minimum wage.
Jobseekers Allowance is shockingly low at less than £10 a day, if it had increased in line with earnings over the past 30 years the rate for a single person over the age of 25 would be more than £100 a week.
The government wants more of the welfare state to be handed over to the private sector. It is wrong to profit from the sick and unemployed. There is also the intention to share information with the police which raises real concerns about civil liberties.
We want voluntary skills training and life long learning opportunities for unemployed people. The government should focus on ensuring that there is more support to access jobs that have fair pay and decent conditions with a guarantee that when people cannot seek work they will not face poverty.
The government should introduce positive measures to challenge discriminatory attitudes held by employers, encourage flexible working practices and expand the provision of affordable childcare.
We want the government to rethink its plans. Support our campaign to help create a better welfare state and society.
See the PCS website for a full list of supporters, which includes LEAP.