On 1st April, cuts to benefits came into effect which will hit 9.5 million families across Britain and Northern Ireland, both working and unemployed. Some will see their real incomes fall by up to 9%, with the most vulnerable being hit hardest. Workers with children could see their incomes fall by up to £1,000 in 2015/16.
The politicians at Stormont have gone along with these Tory attacks. While some put up fake opposition, all the main parties allowed the Welfare Reform Bill to pass through the Assembly. While they’re slashing the incomes of ordinary people, they have just voted to increase their own salaries by another £5,000!
More attacks are around the corner. The hated ‘bedroom tax’ – which has come into effect in Britain – will see working-age social housing tenants lose up to 25% of their Housing Benefit if they are deemed to be ‘under-occupying’ their homes. The Westminster government is made up of millionaires with spare mansions, not spare rooms! It is aimed at undermining social housing, forcing people into the rip-off private rental market.
32,000 local families will be hit
In Northern Ireland, the bedroom tax wil hit 32,000 families. The politicians are nervous about implementing it – and so they should be! It has provoked an uproar in Britain, with significant demonstrations taking place. Under pressure, Dundee City Council has already said they will not evict people affected by the tax for one year. If a co-ordinated campaign is built, this tax can be defeated.
REJECT THE ASSEMBLY’S AUSTERITY
The bedroom tax and cuts to benefits are part of the over-all austerity agenda of the political establishment, aimed at making ordinary, working class people pay for the capitalist crisis created by the bankers and super-rich. This agenda must be challenged – the trade union movement must begin to build for a 24-hour general strike, a step towards building a united movement of resistance which can defeat austerity.
SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE NEEDED
All the main parties in the Assembly are signed up to the cuts agenda. They are wedded to the logic of the system that profits come before people’s needs. At the same time, they seek to divide us to whipping up sectarian tensions. We need a new party the fights to unite working class people against sectarianism and capitalism. If you agree, join the Socialist Party!