We believe that the social security system has been one of the greatest achievements of the post-war welfare state but reforms by Labour and the coalition have led only to poverty and despair – as seen by the rising use of food banks, homelessness and suicides.
The narrative used by the government divides people into ‘deserving and undeserving’ categories but less than 1 per cent of benefit claims are fraudulent whilst zero hours contracts, low wages and lack of affordable childcare drive 64% of families to claim at least one social security benefit. At the same time these reforms provide a massive taxpayer subsidy to low paying employers and landlords through Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.
We oppose the use of private companies to harass and bully claimants. We expect a social security system to guarantee a minimum living standard and to empower people to make an active contribution to society and the economy according to their abilities, which is adequately rewarded.
In the longer term we will review pensions and other areas but overall we hold to a basic principle that social protection must be publicly funded and administered. Social security should be promoted positively, as a crucial safety net.
Our immediate tasks would include abolishing all sanctions, scrapping Universal Credit, reinstating Council Tax Benefit, scrapping the Bedroom Tax and the ‘benefit cap’ that discriminates against larger families, and reinstating benefit increases based on the RPI measure of inflation.
We will abolish all forced labour on welfare to work schemes (‘workfare’) and institute meaningful training courses for future jobs.
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