Another Inadequate Plan from the Tories for People’s Jobs and Incomes: The Pandemic Continues

Everyday that goes by the Tories are forced to do about-face after about-face as their policies belatedly attempt to catch-up with the demands being made upon them by ordinary workers and the trade union movement. But such unnecessary delays on the part of our incompetent and deadly government are costing the lives of thousands of members of the working-class. So what is clear is that the Tories must now be forced to implement the evolving demands of the millions of us regular folk – a process which should be coordinated through joint democratic committees of workers representatives.

Today, shortly after 5pm, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his government’s latest partial kowtowing to trade union demands which still goes no way near enough to help our country take the neccesary actions to defeat coronavirus.

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Indeed, right from the start of the coronavirus outbreak, socialists have been demanding that all workers face no loss of pay as a result of pandemic. If there was money for the banks in 2008 there is money for workers now!

So today’s announcement from the Chancellor can at least be celebrated as another partial victory for our class, as the government are now saying they are going to step in and help pay some people’s wages, providing grants that “will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month”. But the first question that will come to most workers minds is why not pay 100% of people’s salaries, after all, if the government can bail out billionaires, they are perfectly capable of meeting such demands of thousands of workers?

That said, these new grants are arriving too late for the tens of thousands of workers who have already been laid off, having already been forced into unemployment by selfish bosses. These workers deserve to be reinstated with immediate affect, and the government should state this clearly, and all these workers should have their previous salaries reinstated in full.

Tragically, all the government is offering to the swelling ranks for the unemployed is a slight uplift to Universal Credit, which for a single claimant aged under 25 is £251.77 per month which is £3,021 a year. Thus our ever-beneficent government is “increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year.” This means that a single claimant under 25 will now (potentially) get £335 a month, which is still a starvation income of £77 a week! But let’s not forget that our not so generous government will also be giving a slight uplift to housing benefit, and as they put it “so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.” Go figure how people who have just been laid off from their jobs will be able to make ends meet when only 30% of their rent may be paid by the government?

Heaping further problems on the governments alleged generosity is the fact that the Tories latest promise does not really help self-employed workers, who, as the Chancellor boasts, “can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.” This is clearly not enough, as Statutory Sick Pay works out to be a paltry £94 a week! Why can’t self-employed workers be paid at least 80% of their salary too? How are people meant to survive when so many people will not have an income that can cover their rent and bills?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is evidently living in cloud cuckoo land when he says “Getting through this will require a collective national effort, with a role for everyone to play. It’s on all of us.” Certainly, we all are expected to suffer while his life of luxury rolls on as normal, helped along by the fact that the wife of the Chancellor (who himself is a former investment banker) is the daughter of a billionaire! A truly collective effort would see the corporate elites like Chancellor Rishi Sunak pay the same amount of tax as the rest of us, and would necessarily entail the nationalisation of all major British corporations so that their immense resources can be deployed to help minimise the rising death toll that will come through this ongoing pandemic.

Let’s rid ourselves of our deadly Tory blight, and join Socialist Alternative in fighting for a democratic future where workers needs are placed before private greed. Join here https://www.socialistalternative.net/get-involved

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