The Government's agenda on unions and tax credits makes us all more vulnerable
Less than six months ago, when David Cameron was launching the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto, he promised voters 'security at every stage of... life', where people who do the ‘right thing’ could have a job, a home, tax cuts and a secure retirement.
People desperately want and need security. For most people who have a job, our economic well-being is something fragile. We might be able to get by week-to-week but we are never very secure financially. Any sort of shock can have a ruinous effect on our households, whether it’s the loss of a job, ill heath, the breakdown of a relationship or a pay cut.
It doesn’t take much for any of us to be in financial trouble and that’s why we all need protections: the protection of a welfare state to support us when we need it, and the protection of employment rights and trade union organisation to help us keep our jobs and protect our incomes.
Last week Parliament voted to slash the value of tax credits from next April and to progress the Trade Union Bill to committee stage.
Despite Cameron’s pre-election warm words, the Government’s actions can only undermine our security: our security of income, our security of knowing there is a social safety net if we need it, and our security from knowing we have the capacity to stand up to a bad employer.
The Government is pursuing a twin-track strategy of worsening our living standards and trying to weaken our collective power to stop them. Both the welfare state and effective trade unionism are pillars of households’ income security. We will need to fight a broad-based and inclusive campaign in the coming months and years if we are to prevent the roof falling in.
On Sunday 4 October, we will be part of the TUC national demonstration ‘No to Austerity, Yes to Workers’ Rights’. We will be marching in Manchester as the Conservatives meet for their annual conference. It will be an important opportunity to give voice to the overwhelming opposition to the Government’s agenda. I hope to see you there.