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From: The Socialist issue 1114, 16 December 2020: Unemployment and Covid rising - The crisis is not over - Fight for jobs and safety

Search site for keywords: Poverty - living wage - Socialism - Benefits - Child poverty - Universal Credit - Health

No surprise, poverty is rising

We want real benefits, living wage, rent control and socialism

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)

Sam Morden, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that 2.4 million, including half a million children, experienced "destitution" in 2019 - before coronavirus reached the UK. This is up 54% since 2017.

In a country where unemployment is on the rise because of the financial crisis, and more people are forced onto what little Universal Credit may give (draconian sanctions permitting), these numbers are set only to increase.

Of the destitute, a fifth are homeless or suffer from addiction. 54% have a chronic health problem or disability. 14% are in paid work. These are indictments of the capitalist system and its effect on our health.

Destitution has risen sharply in all regions. The worst affected are London, where wealth contrasts with grinding poverty, and the north of England.

A January 2020 report by the Child Poverty Action Group shows that my home constituency - Gateshead - has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the north east (42%) - equal to Middlesbrough, and second only to Newcastle Central (48%).

The Foundation's report calls for the 20-a-week rise in Universal Credit to be extended, which the Socialist Party supports. But, in one of the richest countries in the world, it should be much more.

Benefits should be similar to a real living wage. Rents should be capped and council homes built. Only when the economy is taken into democratic public ownership will we see the wealth created used to end poverty for good.

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Finance appeal

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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Article dated 16 December 2020

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Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers.  They are fighting against

Leicester picket on the 21st strike day (22nd Feb) of around 7,000 British Gas engineers. They are fighting against 'fire and rehire' - designed to worsen terms and conditions. Photo by Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

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