Opinion Former Article

PCS: The welfare state should be 'celebrated not destroyed'

The welfare state is one of our nation's greatest achievements and should be "celebrated not destroyed" by the government's ideological ambitions, the Public and Commercial Services union says.

Speaking ahead of the launch of a new pamphlet published by the union that sets out a decisive defence of welfare and the entitlement to universal support, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the coalition has used the economic crisis to try to unravel years of progress in protecting some of the most vulnerable in society.

The pamphlet, 'Welfare: an alternative vision', includes sections on unemployment; low income; disability; children; housing; pensions; and the delivery of welfare services. It calls for:

- A welfare state that ensures everyone has a decent standard of living free from poverty
- A government that commits to full employment
- A welfare system based on need, not moral judgements
- A government that acknowledges and respects the work of dedicated Department for Work and Pensions staff
- And end to end low pay that leaves people dependent on means-tested benefits.

Mark Serwotka, who started his working life in the then Department for Health and Social Security, said: "Our welfare state is one of our nation's greatest achievements and should be celebrated not destroyed.

"It is the mark of a civilised society that we support people when they are in need, whether they are ill, disabled or unemployed. Welfare is there to provide a decent existence. "The constant denigration by ministers of those who receive welfare support is utterly shameful and seeks to blame those most affected by a crisis caused by greed and recklessness in the financial sector."

ENDS

Notes

- For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union

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