UK Early Day Motion in support of RISE and WORK bills

On 5 November, John McDonnell MP tabled an Early Day Motion (below) in the UK Parliament welcoming two extraordinary bills in the US Congress which aim to eliminate child poverty and support mothers’ caring work. Ten MPs from different parties have already signed it. For the first time since the US brought in draconian welfare reform in 1996, there are proposals that are not divisive or punitive. We need similar legislation to protect our rights in the UK.

Contact your MP. Urge them to sign this EDM now and get back to us. This is just the beginning of a much wider campaign. Join us now.

Early Day Motion 683
Session: 2012-13
Date tabled: 05.11.2012
Primary sponsor: McDonnell, John

That this House welcomes two bills presently in the US Congress, the Rise Out of Poverty Act (RISE Act) and the Women’s Option to Raise Kids Act (WORK Act), which make the elimination of child poverty the first priority of welfare policy and recognise the right of all mothers, including those on welfare, to choose to raise their own children; believes that the UK would benefit from a similar policy since four million UK children, one in three, are living in poverty; notes that raising children is hard work without which society and the economy could not function; deplores that the primary carers of children, usually mothers, are demeaned as workless unless they do waged work; rejects workfare that forces mothers and others to work for well below the minimum wage to keep their benefits, inviting employers to bypass both the minimum wage and pay equity; considers that contempt for mothers presumes contempt for the children they care for; rejects attempts to limit child benefits to the first two children while dismissing additional children as extra; and reaffirms humanity’s assumption that every child is precious not only to their parents but to all society, and that every primary carer is entitled to resources and support for their invaluable caring work.

Why we support EDM 683

This government of millionaires is blaming single mothers, people who are sick or have a disability, pensioners living ‘too long’ and immigrants for the lack of jobs, the unaffordable houses, the low pay. They are using the deficit as an excuse to take our jobs, lower our wages, cap and cut our benefits and services, and drive us out of our homes, while they get millions in bonuses and pay no tax.

In the last three years the richest 1,000 people (0.003% of the adult population) have increased their wealth by £155bn – enough to pay off the entire UK deficit with £30bn to spare. They can afford to pay for the deficit they have caused – why don’t they?

Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK. With the welfare reform brought in next April, thousands who are homeless or can no longer afford the rent are expected to be relocated out of our neighbourhood and city, away from our family, friends and support networks – single mothers and people of colour whose incomes are generally lower, will be disproportionately affected. One in five mothers already skips meals in order to feed her children.

Ending poverty is key to economic and social justice in every area: our right to have children or not; a living wage, pensions and disability benefits; pay equity; breastfeeding support; healthy food; free public health care; preventing our children being taken into care; protection from rape and domestic violence, and racist attacks, including on asylum seekers, LGBT people and others; stopping mothers and low income people being jailed; halting the rise in prostitution for survival and the criminalisation of sex workers . . .

Our planet is on the brink of destruction – every year more droughts, storms, heat waves, flooding . . . While the free market and its wars push us to the point of no return, they treat the melting ice caps as a new opportunity to dig for oil! Those of us who live in countries of the South are the first and the worst affected – but as flooding in the UK and Hurricane Sandy prove, no one is immune.

Demanding resources for mothers and other caregivers, and for those we care for is ecological and anti-war: it redirects economic and social policies towards caring for people and the planet.

If the UK government is going to copy the US, let them copy these bills. Invest in caring, not killing.

Issued by: Global Women’s Strike, Women of Colour in the GWS, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence and WinVisible

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