Covid-19: public health, and workers' rights too!

Published on: Tue, 24/03/2020 - 21:27


1. Requisition (in other words, take into emergency public ownership):

• private hospitals, so that all their resources are directly available to the NHS
• the pharmaceutical and medical-supplies industries, so that production can be ramped up in a coordinated way to meet the crisis
• manufacturing facilities which can be adapted to produce ventilators and other medical equipment
• hotels and empty houses, to use them for the NHS, for the homeless, and for domestic violence victims
• transport and logistics, so that essential deliveries and travel can be coordinated and planned
• the big

Covid-19: the case for public spending and public ownership

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:58

Covid-19 is spreading. Spreading even faster, in the last week of February, was financial panic.

The Dow Jones share-price index in the USA went down 12% in the week ending 27 February, its biggest drop since 2008.

The first economic effects from a pandemic are in some ways the opposite of the usual beginning of a capitalist slump.

That usually begins with "overproduction" - when capitalists, vying each to outstrip the other in a boom, find they've increased capacity way beyond available market demand, and suddenly cut back on new investment.

With a pandemic there is instead a "supply shock",

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:28

Angela Driver, David Pendletone, Simon Nelson, Luke Hardy

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

Tories: prepare the fightback!

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:42


Boris Johnson has talked of ending austerity, bolstering public services and appealing to the working class, but on all the evidence so far that is a threadbare velvet glove on an iron hand.

NHS spending is set to increase, but by nothing anywhere near what is needed to fill the shortfall from its 2010-20 cuts. The tide of privatisation will continue to roll forward.

The NHS is probably the best protected part of the public sector. The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that by 2024, non-NHS spending will be 14% lower than in 2010.

The provisional local government funding settlement

Replacing Universal Credit

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:14

Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty.

“Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials...”

That was Philip Alston, the United Nation “Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights”, reporting on Britain a year ago.

He added: “Various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40% by 2022...

“Homelessness is up 60% since 2010, rough sleeping is up 134%.... Food bank use is up almost four-fold since 2012, and there are now about 2,000 food banks in the UK, up from just

Universal Credit debate 2018/19

Published on: Mon, 21/10/2019 - 17:23

Will Sefton, Luke Hardy

Below are the articles so far in a debate in Solidarity on Universal Credit between Luke Hardy and Will Sefton, in 2018/19. We are to discuss it in Workers' Liberty's annual conference in December 2019, and have some discussion documents in addition to those below. For the moment at least, these are internal.

Click the links below, in date order, to see the articles:

Labour plans Universal Credit change

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 12:43

Will Sefton

For articles in the debate in Solidarity and in Workers' Liberty on Universal Credit, see here.

On 27 September, just after Labour conference, the Labour Party announced that a Labour government will “scrap” Universal Credit and revise its current position of halting the roll-out.

The detail of the new policy is a series of important reforms.

“Reduce the five-week waiting period by introducing an interim payment after two weeks;
Scrap the two-child limit;
Scrap the benefit cap;
Immediately suspend sanctions and the claimant agreement;
Make split payments, payments direct to landlords, and

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Universal Credit action on 1 August

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2019 - 08:50

Will Sefton

A national day of action against Universal Credit on 1 August may be a chance to revive this campaigning and to put forward the kind of welfare system that is needed.

After apparently being held back since November 2017, a joint report by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC has shown the government has been well aware of the problems associated with the transition from tax credits to Universal Credit. More than 50% of the claimants surveyed were not prepared for the delay of six weeks till their first payment and of those who expected some delay almost half were unaware it was

Universal Credit workers to strike

Published on: Tue, 12/02/2019 - 18:13

Gerry Bates and Rosalind Robson

Universal Credit Service Centre workers in PCS at the Walsall and Wolverhampton offices are the first to ballot for strike action over staffing levels and capacity within the Universal Credit operations in DWP.

Members have long standing grievances with DWP bosses over a horrific lack of staff (their demand is for at least 5000 new staff to cope with the workload), a reduction in the amount of calls per day each worker is expected to handle and an end to the draconian target driven culture in offices.

While the employer has finally accepted that staffing levels are too low and announced extra

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