Social security is a fundamental right – PCS

12 Sep 2018

PCS president Janice Godrich moved the unanimously passed motion at the TUC Congress in Manchester, which calls on the general council to work with the union to influence the next Labour manifesto on social security.

Janice criticised the government and the culture demonising the unemployed and disabled while at the same time defending PCS members in DWP who work tirelessly to assist claimants.

She told Congress: “Demonising benefit claimants has been one of the most effective tools utilised in cultivating public support for massive benefit cuts. These cuts since 2010 alone have totalled £34 billion, with £12 billion more expected by 2022.

“Attitudes on welfare have become so toxic that those who are barely keeping themselves financially afloat, or are in the midst of an economic crisis, have become the subject of primetime viewing entertainment.

“51,000 of our members work in the DWP and they work tirelessly hard and support the benefit claims of some of the most vulnerable people in society. This is despite the fact that they are overworked and underpaid; 40% of our members are so poorly paid that they are entitled to universal credit themselves. I commend their hard work and dedication.

As it currently stands, the welfare state is failing people.

In the past year 1.3 million emergency foodbank parcels were given out and 700,000 children are currently living in poverty. Two thirds of children are living in poverty and come from a household with at least one working parent or guardian. And suicide attempts made by disability benefit claimants have doubled.

Janice added: “Now is the time for a radical transformation of the social security system. We welcomed the commitments put forward in Labour’s election manifesto last year, but we are calling on Labour to be bold and go further. I encourage trade unions, charities, think-tanks and others to join us in the fight to radically transform the social security system into one we can be proud of.”

 

 

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