The End of the British Welfare State

UK: Gap in life expectancy between rich and poor widens for first time since 1870

By Trevor Johnson, 18 May 2016

The growing discrepancy in life expectancy between the rich and poor is the result of decades of attacks on jobs, wages and living standards.

Notes on the London housing crisis

One third of London renters sinking into debt

By Allison Smith, 18 May 2016

Last year, one in five families was forced to move home in the capital. Rent has soared 20 percent over the past five years, while average pay has increased only 2 percent.

UK prisoners “potential assets to be harnessed” for profit

By John Newham, 11 May 2016

Deplorable conditions are being used to justify the further privatisation of the prison service.

Poverty grows, health declines among UK children

By Margot Miller, 4 May 2016

Successive Labour and Conservative governments have reduced spending on children and young people by 71 percent.

More than 50,000 junior doctors begin two-day strike in UK

By Robert Stevens, 26 April 2016

Junior doctors have refused to back down in the face of government threats, but the danger is their isolation at the hands of the health unions and the Labour Party.

UK: Millions of low income families will be poorer under welfare reforms

By Thomas Scripps, 25 April 2016

Many working families will lose up to £200 a month as a result of the Universal Credit welfare reform introduced by the Conservative government.

UK White Paper paves way for the destruction of public education

By Tania Kent, 11 April 2016

The Conservative Cameron government is demanding that all schools are converted into academies, which are state funded but privately run, by 2022.

UK Junior doctors dispute at a crossroads

Statement by NHS Fightback

29 March 2016

The imposition of a draconian contract on 55,000 junior doctors is a test case for restructuring employment conditions for the entire workforce of the National Health Service.

Resignation of UK work and pensions secretary divides Conservative government

By Robert Stevens, 22 March 2016

Under conditions of escalating economic crisis, the rifts in the Tory party are an expression of political realignments underway within bourgeois politics internationally.

UK super-rich seize 26 percent of all new wealth since 2000

By Barry Mason, 22 March 2016

According to a new report by Oxfam, just seven percent of the increase in wealth over the past 15 years went to the poorest 50 percent, or 30 million people.

UK Budget: Austerity for workers pays for tax breaks for corporations and the rich

By Robert Stevens, 17 March 2016

Conservative Chancellor George Osborne’s budget, announced Wednesday, dramatically slashes the tax rate on corporate profits and capital gains.

Shadow Chancellor McDonnell pledges UK Labour Party to austerity

By Robert Stevens, 15 March 2016

McDonnell said ensuring Labour’s credibility on the economy to big business was “the struggle of a generation.”

Housing legislation to escalate “social cleansing” of UK cities

By Barry Mason, 15 February 2016

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government has announced plans to impose market-level rents on council tenants deemed to be high earning.

Government to impose contract on junior doctors after second England-wide strike

By Robert Stevens, 12 February 2016

The government’s unprecedented and authoritarian move signifies a new stage in the efforts of the ruling elite to dismantle the National Health Service.

British junior doctors speak from the picket lines

By our reporters, 12 February 2016

Striking junior doctors and their supporters say that the government’s attacks on them are part of a broader assault on the National Health Service.

UK Government announces demolition of council housing

By Simon Whelan, 19 January 2016

Cameron’s plans spell the death knell for inner-city public housing, especially in London.

UK: Junior doctors strike against new contracts

By Tony Robson, 12 January 2016

It has been more than four decades since the last national strike by junior doctors over pay and conditions

UK: Oppose introduction of student nurse tuition fees and scrapping of bursaries

By Ajanta Silva, 9 January 2016

A student nurse graduating in 2020 could leave with debts over £50,000.

UK public parks face perilous future

By Dennis Moore, 9 January 2016

Parks are not a statutory service and local authorities have no legal obligation to fund them.

OECD finds UK pensions amongst lowest in world

By Margot Miller, 9 December 2015

Pensions have come under sustained attack by the previous Labour, Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition and present Conservative governments.

British Medical Association calls off UK junior doctors strikes

By Robert Stevens, 2 December 2015

The BMA’s betrayal allows the government further time to come up with a repackaged deal, in order to carry out effectively the same attacks on doctors’ employment conditions and pay.

Victory to the junior doctors! Defend the NHS!

Statement by NHS Fightback

30 November 2015

The defence of health care and every other basic social right can only be taken forward through a break from the trade unions and the Labour Party.

UK government outlines unprecedented public spending cuts

By Julie Hyland, 26 November 2015

In just 10 years, from 2010 through 2020, government spending as a percentage of GDP is projected to fall by 10 percent, with disastrous consequences for millions of people.

UK: What is the “Northern Powerhouse”?

By Margot Miller, 26 November 2015

Under the control of the Labourites, each city and region within the Northern Powerhouse is involved in a cutthroat struggle for investment and the slashing of wages.

UK Chancellor “negotiates” decimation of public services ahead of spending review

By Simon Whelan, 23 November 2015

Chancellor George Osborne is demanding that governmental departments slash their expenditures by up to 40 percent.

More cuts to come as UK economy heads towards deeper crisis

By Robert Stevens, 23 November 2015

New data shows that the UK economy is fragile and teetering on the edge of a major crisis.

Junior doctors oppose latest government efforts to extend services

By Barry Mason, 9 November 2015

Staff fear the extension of services at a weekend, without additional resources, would put yet more patients’ care in jeopardy.

UK’s National Health Service to be “squeezed as never before”

By Ajanta Silva, 9 November 2015

The NHS’s financial crisis is the product of funding cuts and the drive to privatisation.

Notes on London’s housing crisis

By Thomas Scripps, 7 November 2015

London is the third most expensive city in the world. Working people and students face soaring costs for housing and increasing evictions.

UK: Addenbrooke’s Hospital placed in “special measures” over quality concerns

By Tom Pearce, 31 October 2015

Addenbrooke’s dire situation is symptomatic of a financial crisis across the NHS, with two-thirds of trusts predicting a deficit this year.

London: Evictions at Sweets Way estate

By Allison Smith, 19 October 2015

The final eviction at Sweets Way estate took place after a six-month standoff.

Social cleansing escalates in Inner London boroughs

By Tom Scripps, 29 September 2015

Since 2011, 50,000 London families have been forcibly relocated outside of their boroughs.

UK: Thousands of sick and disabled people die after being forced into employment

By Margot Miller, 10 September 2015

The British government aims to get a million more disabled and ill people off the welfare rolls and into employment.

UK teachers leave profession in record numbers

By Tania Kent, 7 August 2015

Applications for teaching jobs have declined by 27,000 in the last 12 months.

UK: Green Party presides over homeless crisis in Bristol

By Mark Blackwood and Paul Mitchell, 28 July 2015

There are around 15,000 people on the council waiting list for affordable homes in Bristol, the most expensive city for housing after London.

UK: Labour capitulates on Conservative welfare cuts bill

By Paul Mitchell, 22 July 2015

The bill’s measures will plunge millions of workers and youth further into economic insecurity and poverty.

As party leadership contest unfolds

British Labour backs Conservatives’ welfare cuts

By Julie Hyland, 15 July 2015

The leadership contest is the outcome of the massive losses sustained by Labour in the May 7 General Election.

Manchester protesters face eviction as UK rough sleeping rises

By Dennis Moore, 13 July 2015

A group of homeless protesters who have been camped out on the streets of central Manchester for the last few months could face jail if an injunction goes ahead.

UK Conservative budget heralds ever deeper austerity

By Julie Hyland, 9 July 2015

Chancellor George Osborne delivered a budget that seeks to replicate the situation in Greece.

UK: Rabina Khan is no alternative in Tower Hamlets mayoral contest

By Paul Mitchell, 10 June 2015

The same praise previously heaped on former mayor Lutfur Rahman by the pseudo-left groups is now being lavished on Khan.

Cost of living unbearable for millions of Londoners

By Allison Smith, 1 June 2015

Just over one third of Londoners do not have enough money for a minimum standard of living.

Further welfare cuts being considered by UK Conservatives

By Robert Stevens, 30 March 2015

All three major parties in Britain are committed to huge cuts in welfare spending.

UK: Private sector given largest ever National Health Service contract

By Ajanta Silva, 23 March 2015

The deal, worth £780 million over four years, is the latest in the ongoing privatisation process of the publicly run health service.

Sell-off: The abolition of your NHS

A revealing exposure of the destruction of health care in the UK

By Joan Smith, 28 February 2015

The documentary exposes the extent to which Britain’s National Health Service has been privatised.

British unions recommend health service workers accept another pay cut

By Ajanta Silva, 14 February 2015

Health care workers have already suffered from four years of pay freezes, cuts, worsening job conditions and an increase in pension contributions.

Further evidence of deaths due to UK welfare benefits sanctions

By Dennis Moore, 5 February 2015

Those sanctioned are often the most poor and vulnerable, who will face having to live on little or no money.

UK’s first privatised hospital fails

By Ajanta Silva, 31 January 2015

The NHS now has to step in and clear up the financial and patient care disaster created by the private health care operator at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Millions in Britain cannot afford to eat properly

By Dennis Moore, 12 January 2015

The figures from a government report are corroborated by the increase in the numbers of people using food banks.

Thousands of UK apprentices paid below minimum wage

By Joe Mount, 9 January 2015

A significant number of young apprentices receive below the minimum wage, work unpaid overtime and have no written contract of employment.

UK: Oppose rationing of vital health services!

By Ajanta Silva, 7 January 2015

What is happening to public health provision in Devon is a warning to the entire working class.

UK: Thousands of City Link delivery workers sacked on New Year’s Eve

By Julie Hyland, 3 January 2015

City Link is the latest in a number of private equity-backed companies that have gone bankrupt over the last few years.

UK mental health services in crisis

By Dennis Moore, 27 December 2014

Cuts to mental health services have led to enormous demand with little capacity to meet it.

UK faces a return to 1930s levels of poverty

By Robert Stevens, 15 December 2014

The ruling elite in Britain intend to carry out an offensive against the working class equal to that in Greece.

London’s New Era housing estate residents take protest to Downing Street

By Allison Smith, 5 December 2014

The housing residents are demanding a halt to rent increases and the threat of eviction.

Housing rights campaigners speak out on UK government’s social cleansing

By our reporters, 29 November 2014

WSWS reporters spoke to Isabel Counihan-Sanchez and her daughter Sarah about their experiences with eviction and their involvement in the Housing 4 All campaign.

European Court rules governments can refuse migrants social welfare

By Martin Kreikenbaum, 15 November 2014

The German ruling class welcomes workers from poorer EU states as a source of cheap labour, but they are effectively second class citizens with no democratic or social rights.

UK government assumes control of Tower Hamlets local authority

By Jordan Shilton, 15 November 2014

The fact that only minor examples of wrongdoing were identified in a nearly 200-page report points to the political character of the decision to send in commissioners.

Popular opposition grows to London Newham council’s social cleansing policies

By our reporters, 3 November 2014

An occupation by 29 young mothers of an empty block of former social housing flats in London has highlighted the social cleansing policies of Labour Party-controlled Newham council.

Britain: NHS at “breaking point,” say top health professionals

By Ajanta Silva, 13 October 2014

An open letter from the heads of a number of health professional bodies speaks of “signs of a system buckling under the twin crises of rising demand and flat lining budgets.”

Dire shortage of affordable housing in the UK

By Dennis Moore, 8 October 2014

The shortage of affordable housing is a consequence of years of not building the houses required to meet demand.

Report exposes impact of tax hikes on London poor

By James Hatton and Paul Bond, 8 September 2014

Last year’s elimination of the council tax benefit has raised local taxes for over 300,000 poor residents of London.

British university system faces collapse

By Joe Mount, 29 July 2014

Britain’s universities increasingly rely on private philanthropists for their funding.

Britain’s “Healthier Together” sets agenda for health cuts in Manchester

By Tony Robson, 28 July 2014

The Conservative Liberal Democrat government has taken major steps towards dismantling Britain’s National Health Service.

Northampton sale of Egyptian statue: Major assault on art and cultural provision in the UK

By Paul Bond, 25 July 2014

Northampton, like other Conservative councils, is enthusiastic about selling off the contents of its public museums and art galleries. Labour accepts the argument that artefacts can and should be sold to make up funding shortfalls.

British unions open door to charges for doctor visits

By Ajanta Silva, 25 July 2014

Advocates of charging for doctors’ services argue that a system of free health care for all is no longer sustainable due to the economic crisis.

UK public sector workers explain their decision to strike

By our reporters, 14 July 2014

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to workers in a number of town and cities in England who participated in last Thursday’s national public sector strike and protests.

New disability payments system responsible for deaths in Britain

By Dennis Moore, 10 July 2014

Under the new eligibility system, thousands have died after being deemed fit for work, with thousands more denied benefit payments.

Britain’s National Health Service “fraying at the edges”

By Paul Mitchell, 9 July 2014

The government’s slashing of National Health Service funding is the cause of the crisis.

British care home scandal deepens

By Mark Blackwood and Ajanta Silva, 7 June 2014

Despite the widespread abuse of the severely disabled people in their care, none of Winterbourne View’s executives were ever questioned, let alone charged or jailed.

SEP (UK) candidate: Oppose attacks on National Health Service workers’ pay

Ajitha Gunaratne—candidate of the SEP (UK) for the European elections, 6 May 2014

The following statement has been issued by Ajitha Gunaratne, candidate of the Socialist Equality Party for the North West England constituency in the upcoming European elections.

UK government to sell personal data

By Mary Smith, 5 May 2014

Last week’s announcement that Revenue and Customs is considering making taxpayers’ personal data commercially available to private companies has further demonstrated the UK government’s determination to turn a profit from private information.

UK poor hit by double tax whammy

By Barry Mason, 21 April 2014

A joint investigation by the Guardian newspaper and the campaigning organisation False Economy has revealed that 670,000 of the poorest households throughout England will face an average £120 council tax increase.

UK benefits claimants victimised and driven into destitution

By Barry Mason, 31 March 2014

Thousands of people have had their benefits withdrawn, as sanctions on the unemployed increase.

UK parliament approves assault on National Health Service

By Robert Stevens, 25 March 2014

Under Clause 119 of the Care Bill passed in parliament last week, the health secretary will be able to close hospitals and cut services.

Number of British hospitals in debt doubles in one year

By Ajanta Silva, 12 March 2014

Foundation trusts have delivered “efficiency savings” of £867 million so far this year, but this is 18 percent behind what the government has demanded.

Record youth homelessness in UK

By Joe Mount, 12 February 2014

There is minimal provision for homeless youth, who bear the brunt of the dismantling of the welfare state.

UK “bedroom tax” leads to record requests for emergency assistance

By Mark Blackwood and Paul Mitchell, 5 February 2014

As a result of the coalition government’s tax on unoccupied bedrooms, many are faced with eviction, forced to downsize or seek emergency assistance.

UK Labour pledges itself to legally binding savage cuts

By Julie Hyland, 30 January 2014

The British Labour Party has announced it will impose legally binding massive spending cuts, such as those being carried out in Greece by the European Union.

Charges for migrants and visitors set precedent for wider assault on Britain’s NHS

By Tony Robson, 23 January 2014

Behind the charging of migrants to use the National Health Service is the objective of ending universal health care in favour of a means-tested approach.

UK housing benefit changes threaten mass evictions

By Eileen Rose, 22 January 2014

The New Year saw one of the largest landlords in Kent, Fergus Wilson, announce he will no longer rent his houses to benefit recipients and plans to evict 200 tenants.

Care workers strike against Glasgow, Scotland City Council

By Stephen Alexander, 22 January 2014

The council’s introduction of a new 12.5-hour shift pattern will result in a pay cut of around 7 percent for 182 workers.

Bournemouth hospital review confirms warning by NHS FightBack campaign

By Ajanta Silva, 20 January 2014

The CQC findings prove that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition’s funding cuts and privatisation policies have created a significant shortage of staff, beds and resources.

Hampshire council in England closes more care homes

By Joan Smith and Ajanta Silva, 6 January 2014

Hampshire County Council in England plans to reduce demand for services, including social care of the elderly and disabled, which accounts for more than one-third of council’s budget.

Report reveals the new face of UK poverty

By Tom Pearse, 4 January 2014

Figures for 2011-2012 show 13 million people in the UK are in poverty.

Britain: Mental health services reach breaking point

By Mark Blackwood, 4 January 2014

The UK’s Mental Health Foundation reports that every two hours one death is recorded as a result of suicide.

Half a million in the UK deprived of social care over the last five years

By Robert Stevens, 27 December 2013

A new study shows that since 2008, nearly half a million elderly and disabled people have either lost support or are no longer eligible for care.

People in UK going blind due to lack of eye care

By Dennis Moore, 16 December 2013

Some 37 percent of eye clinic staff respondents to a Royal National Institute of the Blind survey said that their patients were losing their sight due to treatment being delayed.

Revised UK welfare sanctions mean more punishment for the poor

By Emily Wilson, 13 December 2013

Many of those hit by welfare sanctions are cutting back on food, heating, and travel.

Britain: Disabled widow commits suicide after benefits withdrawn

By Mark Blackwood and Paul Mitchell, 11 December 2013

Following an assessment that deemed her fit for work, 53-year-old Jacqueline Harris was stripped of her incapacity benefit of £99.15 per week.

Food bank use surges as hunger spreads across Britain

By Tom Pearse, 9 December 2013

One in five recipients of Trussell Trust food parcels were referred to its food banks as a direct result of government attacks on welfare benefits.

Britain’s poorest summonsed to court to pay council tax arrears

By Allison Smith, 2 December 2013

In scenes repeated across Britain, poor residents queue up outside court buildings waiting to appear before local magistrates for being in arrears on newly imposed council taxes.

Cuts to legal aid deny hundreds of thousands access to justice in the UK

By Dennis Moore, 20 November 2013

A statement by Tooks Chambers, a leading law firm forced into dissolution, said that government policies on legal aid “are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron proclaims austerity cuts to be “permanent”

By Robert Stevens, 13 November 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron used the annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet to declare that the devastating austerity being imposed by his government will be “permanent.”

UK’s Supreme Court legitimises compulsory workfare

By Julie Hyland, 5 November 2013

A UK Supreme Court ruling clears the way for an expansion of workfare, with 200,000 unemployed for two years set to be placed on a new scheme, with claimants having to do 30 hours’ unpaid “community work” for six months.

Top British educational advisor insists achievement is genetically determined

By Jo March, 31 October 2013

Pseudo-science is being promoted by the government to assert that working class children are genetically incapable of learning at a high level.

UK Labour seeks to outdo Conservatives with right-wing policies

By Jordan Shilton, 24 October 2013

Labour has pledged to embrace the so-called “free schools” introduced by the coalition and to clamp down even harder on welfare.

Waiting times at five-year high in British National Health Service

By Mark Blackwood and Ajanta Silva, 19 October 2013

Five thousand nursing posts have been eliminated along with thousands of other hospital posts over the last three years.

London rent rates to rise

By Marc Milton, 18 September 2013

Market-set rents are increasingly unaffordable for many of those in work, let alone people between jobs or the socially vulnerable.

Steep rise in UK workers on low pay

By Barry Mason, 17 September 2013

Recently published reports underscore the drive by the Conservative-led coalition government to establish low-paid, precarious employment as the “new normal.”

Britain: Children’s charity finds risk of “social apartheid”

By Barry Mason, 9 September 2013

A new survey of child poverty in the UK reveals that 3.5 million children grow up in poverty, compared with 2 million 40 years ago.