Cut housing benefit for the u25s? Typical Tory Codswallop

So, the Conference season has come to a close for the three main political parties. As a Union it’s clear that we have some issues in terms of theprivatisation of Royal Mailand the course of action that Labour is taking, or, rather, the course of action they’re refusing to take should they get into Government in 2015.

However, as a section that seeks to be a voice for the younger end of the workforce, the suggestion by David Cameron that benefits for people aged under 25 are a future target for the Tories is a great concern. His words were that he would nag and push and guide’ young people away from a life on the dole. It’s interesting that guide’ was the third word. Indeed, I suspect it will be a case of nagging and pushing.

The thinking by the Tories is that, by removing benefits for people aged 16 to 25 then they won’t move from education into a life on the dole’. This is typical Tory codswallop that assumes that everyone on benefits is work shy and that they have chosen a life in the system.

Imagine for a minute that you’re 16 or 17 years old, your parents tell you that you can’t live with them any more as you’re an “adult now”. Then you lose the part time job you have. So, you’re now living, more than likely in private rented accommodation that has a fixed lease term with no means to pay that. The state turns its back on you.

Imagine for a minute that you’re a 24 year old who has worked since leaving school and that you’ve paid into the system during that time. And then you’re made redundant. What then, will the Government turn its back on you? Will they say, oh you need to try harder?’.

It’s a disgrace that the Tories think that the best way to support younger people is to remove benefits that, in many case, help those people through a difficult period in their life as they move into the world of work. And, what’s stopping them from deciding that this isn’t enough? What’s stopping them from deciding that the age should be increased? We should stop them.

It’s important that, as we move towards the General Election, we let people know exactly what another Tory government would mean. Whether you think that Labour should form the next Government or not, it’s clear that a Tory one would be a disaster for young people…the people that CWU Youth represent.

Another policy that the Tories announced (if you could stay awake during the drawl of George Osborne) was that people who had been out of work for two years would be forced to attend the jobcentre every week day or do unpaid work for their benefits. So, someone who is on job seekers where I live would need to spend £4.20 a day on the bus to get to the jobcentre. That’s £21 a week, or about 30% of the weekly benefits.

Now, the issue of doing unpaid work for benefits, worryingly, seems to have gone down quite well with some people (people who I always thought were left leaning trade unionists). What annoys me about this policy, and this is what we need to be making clear to people, is that it’s a blatant race to the bottom. The jobs that George Osborne listed (road cleaner, etc) are jobs that people were made redundant from as part of the austerity measures. So, the conversation would go something like this I think:

Jobseeker: “I’ve been unemployed for two years”

Jobcentre: “Here’s a job as a road cleaner, but you won’t get paid. You’ll just get your job seekers”

Jobseeker: “But I was a road cleaner before I got made redundant earning more money that this”

Jobcentre: “Yes I know. But, that’s just how it is now. Same job, no pay. Have a great day”

Sounds wrongdoesn’t it? And, that’s because it is. Penalising people because they are on benefits is not the way forward. They shouldn’t be abused in the way that the Tories want to. They want to create a system where the state can use the people on benefits as slaves of the state. Well, not in my name.

The Government should be creating jobs that give fair pay for fair work. We should start a mass house building scheme, offering work to young people as they finish education so that they can build skills for the future. We should be investing in our public services and making sure that those jobs give fair pay for the millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed.

The CWU, and CWU Youth, have a long and strong history of being the voice for those who feel unable to speak up for themselves. Well, we shouldn’t just be speaking up for people now. We should be shouting. We should be screaming. Enough is enough. Not in our name. Let’s get out there and let people know exactly what the Tories are all about.