(en) Labour Govt votes to cut benefits

Martin Howard (Martin.howard@qnet.org.uk)
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 18:57:32 -0800


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In the spirit of commenting on major events in our countries, I submit the following.

Labour Government votes for benefit cuts

Wednesday this week (10/12) Tony Blairís Labour government pushed through a series of cuts to benefits for lone parents, despite a larger than expected rebellion by backbench Labour MPs . The only major Party to oppose these cuts was the supposedly centrist Liberal Democrats. The cuts, under the guise of helping lone parents (nearly always mothers) back into work, amount to five pounds a week for all new claimants of lone aprent benefit. This means a drop from about 93 a week to 88, although it varies for individual cases. Labour put a three line whip on all its MPS to make sure they toed the line, and the size of the rebellion (47 Labour MPS) surprised most commentators (it certainly surprised me that so many of them had any backbone). It is very hard to find anyone outside Parliament who supports these cuts, and it was pointed out that the offshore tax loophole used by millionaire cabinet member Geoffrey Robinson was closed, twice the amount of money saved by this cut would be generated.

The significance of this to me as ana anarchist, and I must admit it came quicker than I hought it would, is that it represents Labourís commitment to the end of the welfare state. Labour is identified as the ďmotherĒ of the welfare state and is thereofre in a better position to kill it off. Itís no wonder people like Rupert Murdoch were so keen on Blairís new Labour. New Labour is committed to the defence of inequality in our society. Many on the left have long argued in this country that we should vote Labour without illusions. Most anarchists have always responded that Labourís agenda had nothing to offer us; these sordid cuts merely reinforce that.

Martin

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