Yesterday, the Government set out its new plans for 'welfare reform'. The plans reform both Jobseeker's Allowance and Incapacity Benefit (soon to become Employment Support Allowance).
The proposals include compulsory community service for those on unemployment benefits (equating benefit entitlement with criminality), and a range of punitive measures for people on incapacity benefit.
At a time of increasing unemployment such draconian measures will not only prove counter-productive, but the requirement for forced labour and the greater harassment of disabled people is a moral disgrace.
Allowing the private sector to make money out of the unemployed and those on incapacity benefit is a step further than even the Governments of Thatcher or Major went.
The Government has sacked 30,000 staff in DWP since 2004 and now it is proposiing to give more of their jobs to the private sector through letting private companies deliver welfare programmes.
I will be standing in solidarity with the unemployed and the disabled, as well as PCS members working for Jobcentre Plus, to defend public services and welfare rights.