Tories announce new plans to cut housing benefit from under 25s


David Cameron plans to end housing benefit for claimants aged 16-24. The ‘proposal’ forms part of wider recommendations to begin being implemented next year as part of the new Welfare Act. Further plans being rolled out including linking regional play with regional benefits, breaking the link between benefits and inflation, and considering linking benefits to average earnings and cost of living amounting to a further attack on worker’s rights and conditions.

The Tories are just finishing where the Labour Party left off with these measures marking a more radical overhaul of the Welfare State since 1945 and form the basis of a savage neo-liberal agenda to restructure relations between labour and capital which includes attacks on the right to strike.  The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith announced plans last week to withdraw Working Tax Credit for workers who take strike action. Duncan Smith has been quoted as saying that "the right to strike is a choice, and in future benefit claimants will have to pay the price for that choice, as under universal credit, we no longer will."

The new Universal Credit model of benefit payments, part of a massive overhaul of the welfare state, is systematically attacking the living standards of the most vulnerable sections of the working class, includes plans to restrict payments to those who take industrial action.

All against the backdrop of the Beecroft report by multi-millionaire venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft to make it easy for greedy bosses to sack any worker at their whim. With hardly any notice, no consulting with the unions and next to no compensation 'troublemakers' such as union workplace reps can be got rid of .

Yesterday the Belfast Trades Council in conjunction with ICTU organised another  symbolic protest at the steps of Stormont against these latest welfare plans, standing shoulder to shoulder with MLA’s from our local sectarian parties that are actively imposing these savage cuts at the behest of their masters from Westminster.

What is needed is not token protests but a mass militant campaign which is opposed to all cuts and attacks on services, controlled by rank and file workers and independent of all opportunist political parties who are only interested in elections.

Solidarity and support for strike action needs to built across all workplaces unionised or not and in our communities where we are feeling the impact of these devastating cuts on our standard of living if we want to win. In the short-term we need to be organising for rolling strike action including go-slows and ultimately an indefinite general strike.