As this article on the TUC blog mentions, there is talk from the government of freezing benefits – at a time when inflation is running in excess of 5%. Already, social security benefits do not meet the minimum income standards that are needed for people to have a minimum acceptable standard of living – so cutting them in real terms is a blow to some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in the country.
It is an economic crisis not of their making which has thrown many people out of work, including many of our former colleagues. A sensible and compassionate welfare state should therefore aim to support them and ensure that they have an acceptable standard of living. It is important, as Richard Excell says, that we as trade unionists show solidarity with people in that situation, not join the bullying chorus of the tabloid press and government ministers – who seem to want to pick on the poorest and most disadvantaged people and families in society.
The interests of those of us who are in work are not opposed to those who are currently out of work. We must stand together in solidarity.