The Socialist

The Socialist 15 September 2021

Take the wealth off the super-rich to fund: NHS and social care, pay and benefit rises

The Socialist issue 1147

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Unite young and old to defend the pensions triple lock

  (Click to enlarge)

Terry Pearce, Bracknell Socialist Party and Thames Valley National Pensioners Convention

The UK State Pension is £179.60 a week, among the lowest in Europe. It leaves over 2 million pensioners in poverty.

Introduced by the coalition government in 2010, the triple lock was designed to bring pensions up to the level of leading European countries like France and Germany. Now the Tories are breaking a 2019 election promise by suspending it for a year, deleting average earnings from the equation.

The triple lock would have meant pensions rising 8% next year and the Tories don't want to pay up. Pensioners can now expect a lower pension rise based on the highest of either the cost of living index, or 2.5%. This will make the 2 million pensioners already living in poverty, even poorer.

This attack on pensioners is just part of the Tory onslaught on the poor and vulnerable. The cut to Universal Credit, public sector pay freeze, and the ending of furlough, will drive more working-class families, youth and pensioners into poverty.

The Tories are seeking to drive a wedge between young workers and pensioners. The truth is that both young and old are suffering - from low wages on the one hand, and a poverty pension on the other. We must build unity between young and old.

Many young workers on low pay are facing a future with the prospect of low pensions in retirement. We must fight in the trade unions for the idea that workers today are the pensioners of the future. We need to build links between trade unions and pensioners' groups such as the National Pensioners' Convention to stop Tory plans to scrap the triple lock.

Childcare in crisis

It's not just social care that's in crisis. The childcare system also needs a fundamental transformation. And they both have one thing in common - most of the care is in the private sector where profits come first. Government subsidies for childcare mostly don't cover the real cost and often childcare places just don't exist. In a recent survey of 200,000 working parents carried out by organisations like Mumsnet and the TUC:

  • 97% of parents said childcare was too expensive
  • One-third paid more for childcare than their rent or mortgage
  • In 94% of cases of parents changing their work patterns childcare costs were a factor

Increasing numbers of women are having to reduce their hours, change their job or give up work altogether because they can't get the childcare they need. At the same time, one in ten childcare workers (mostly women) are living in poverty. Childcare, like social care, is a fundamental necessity. The profit motive should be removed by taking it into the public sector, where it should be fully funded and free to all who need it, guaranteeing quality care and a decent living wage for all childcare workers.


In this issue


What we think

We need a new political party for workers and youth

What's behind the worker shortages, and what can be done about it?


News

Social care plans: A sticking plaster instead of surgery

Hands off the Universal Credit uplift

Unite young and old to defend the pensions triple lock


Climate change

Climate change, capitalism, and the struggle for socialism


Youth and students

We won't pay for capitalism's failings

Scrap tuition fees - end university marketisation

Returning to campus: Students need to fight

Campaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

Youth Fight for Jobs launches campaign in Brighton


Workplace news

NSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour council backs strike-breaking bullies

Save jobs and services - nationalise rail

Weetabix - workers have had enough

Carmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action


NHS

Take the wealth off the super-rich to fund: NHS and social care, pay and benefit rises

Deaths of despair: Health crisis - capitalism in the dock

On the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

Solidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin


Campaigns

Putting socialism on the map in Chichester

Reclaiming Pride as protest in Nottingham

Fighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme


Review

Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

TV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story


 

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15 September 2021