Theresa May’s dementia tax

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The fiasco over the so-called dementia tax announced in the Tory party manifesto expressed not just May’s incompetence but also a real problem facing the ruling class: that the depth of the crisis is now such that it has to attack sections of the middle class who are traditional Tory supporters.

The proposal, that pensioners would have to pay for their social care until their assets were reduced to £100,000, would replace the current system under which £23,000 of personal assets are protected. However, the manifesto proposals would include the value of the pensioner’s home in the asset calculation, when currently it is not. The measure would have hit those who require lengthy periods of social rather than hospital care, in particular those suffering from mobility problems including those with dementia – hence the name.

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The fight for decent housing in Manchester

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FRFI comrades in Manchester and Salford have been organising under the banner of ‘Manchester Fight for Housing!’ to encourage people to get active in the face of the ever worsening housing situation.

We launched a ‘YES TO DSS’ campaign in South Manchester, with bi-weekly pickets of letting agents identified as promoting the discriminatory practice of barring welfare recipients from rental properties. This comes on the back of a series of public meetings and regular street stalls in Chorlton, Hulme, Moss Side and Salford highlighting the issue.

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Benefit Cap ruling: ‘Real misery is caused to no good purpose’

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On 20 June, High Court judge Mr Justice Collins ruled that the reduced Overall Benefit Cap (OBC) is discriminatory against single parents with children under two years of age, stating that as a result of the reduction, ‘real misery is caused to no good purpose’. The reduction, from £26,000 to £23,000 a year for families living in London and to £20,000 a year for those outside, which came into effect from November 2016, has hit 68,000 families, including 200,000 children. They are among the poorest working class families in Britain, and they will face homelessness in the coming months because the resultant cut in housing benefit – on average £58 per week – will leave them unable to pay their rent. Already 11 families in Edinburgh have been evicted as a direct result of the measure; there will be many more such cases which have not yet been reported.

Over three-quarters of families now hit by the benefit cap are single-parent; although the government said it could not provide current figures for the proportion of single-parent families with children under the age of two, it was 16% under the initial £26,000 benefit cap. Under Department for Work and Pensions rules, parents with children under two are not obliged to show that they are actively seeking work. It was this that formed one of the bases of appeal against the benefit cap, as single parents would be exempt from the cap if they were working more than 16 hours a week.

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Revolutionary Communist Group statement on Grenfell Tower

justice for Grenfell

Justice for Grenfell! Safe and secure housing for all!

(updated 19:06, 17/06/17)

The Revolutionary Communist Group stands in solidarity with the residents of Grenfell Tower following the devastating fire that destroyed so many lives, loved ones, homes and possessions. The ‘official’ death toll is so far confirmed at over 50, but it is clear that the real figure could be anything up to 200. There are no words to express our sympathy and horror at what has happened.

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State of the working class

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This year’s Sunday Times Rich List revealed that there are now 134 billionaires in Britain. Fifteen years ago, there were only 21. At the same time – as capitalism sinks into its deepest crisis in a century – the mass of the working class is being forced into insecure, low-paid employment in the sixth richest country in the world.

Work

● In-work poverty has reached a record high at 7.4 million workers, a million more than in 2010.

● 905,000 people were on zero-hours contracts in December 2016, a 13% year-on-year rise.

● 4.8 million people are now considered self-employed and the majority of them are in precarious work.

● 1.56 million people are unemployed.

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