Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has expressed its disgust at the proposals outlined today to force those unemployed for more than two years to work, train or attend their job centre every single day in order to qualify for any state benefits. “At a time of very high unemployment, this is yet another example of how out of touch the Tories are,” Rugby TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren claimed today. “Two and half million people are unemployed, nearly 8% of the work force. The vast majority want to work. The number of people working part time because they can’t get full time employment – 1.45 million – is at an all time high since records began in 1992. Youth unemployment stands at 21% - more than one in five 16 – 24 year olds are out of work. That is a scandal, and these Tory proposals fail to address any of this
“There simply are not enough jobs to go round. Latest figures show there are 460,000 job vacancies in the UK being chaced by the 2.5 million unemployed. Jobs to unemployment ratios are much worse in some areas – we were told by a worker from Gateshead at the TUC Demo in Manchester yesterday that when a new restaurant advertised 20 new jobs, there were 5,000 applications! An annual survey by the Associate of Graduate Recruiters recently showed that many leading UK employers are receiving an average of 85 applicants per job . In July, a company called High Flyers Research reported that up to 160 graduates were chasing every job . This is despite many of these job vacancies offering very low wages
“The real strategy of this Tory Government is to divide and rule. A divided working class makes it easier for them to win elections. Their aim is to set workers against each other, encouraging those on low wages to support this Conference policy and turn against those who can not find work and instead are forced to claim benefits. If the Tories force people to work for their benefits, not only will this cheapen labour further, it will also mean even fewer real jobs will be available. Those on low wages will feel their own jobs are under threat as unscrupulous employers look to save costs by taking on those on benefits they do not have to pay. It is low pay that is the problem, not welfare benefits.
“What the unemployed need and want is full time jobs that are permanent and pay a living wage, or adequate training that provides the skills society needs. Cutting public spending and privatising virtually everything that breathes is doing the opposite. And to make the unemployed pay yet again for a crisis they did not cause is criminal. Only last week, a Task Group of Rugby Council reported that, when Universal credit is introduced in Rugby in October, some claimants with children in childcare will be worse off under the scheme. At the same time, the charity Christians Against Poverty suggested Universal Credit will lead to increased hardship and debt. Research by the TUC goes further, showing that, taken with other benefit changes, Universal Credit will make a massive 62% of those on such benefits actually worse off, and just 8 % better off.
“The Tories are once again hitting those least able to defend themselves, whilst hoping their divide and rule tactics succeed. We will be doing everything possible in the months ahead to prevent that,” he concluded
• Rugby TUSC was set up in March 2011. It is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally - www.tusc.org.uk
• Rugby TUSC can be contacted on 07881 520626 or RugbyTUSC@gmail.com; PO Box 4123 Rugby CV21 9BJ
• Pete McLaren is a member of the TUSC National Steering Committee, and has recently been elected its Local Group Development Officer. He has recently been selected to contest the next General Election by Rugby TUSC