Tuesday, 17 March 2009

No war but the class war . . .

Today, MPs will be voting on the Welfare Reform Bill. Among a series of amendments tabled by John McDonnell (who has an excellent article in today's Guardian) and Lynne Jones is the demand to raise Jobseeker's Allowance by £15 per week and raise it in line with earnings thereafter.

With unemployment about to break through 2 million, Jobseeker's Allowance stands at just £60.50 or just £47.95 if you're reckless enough to be under-25.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation into minimum income standards has shown that a single working age adult needs an income of at least £153 a week "in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society".

If benefits had increased in line with earnings over the last 30 years, JSA for a single person over 25, would not be £60.50; it would be worth over £100 a week. If it had been increased in line with earnings just since 1997 it would now be worth £75 a week - £15 more.

Aside: There's also a great letter in today's Guardian: "Congratulations to all those who raised a magnificent £58m for Comic Relief. But let's not see this frittered away on mosquito nets for children when it could provide a decent pension for up to four struggling bankers." - Absolutely. Where's the bailout for the people in need?

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