Welfare Reform Bill — no going back to Dickensian days
Next Vigil & Lobby: 1pm-3pm, Tuesday 17 January
Defend Disability Living Allowance * Defend Child Benefit * Stop aggressive bailiffs and Jobcentre sanctions
called by Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, WinVisible, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
Meet opposite Parliament – Lords’ entrance
Abingdon St SW1 – Westminster tube
We had a fantastic turnout and a big impact at our 11 January vigil – watch it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/jan/11/welfare-protest-lords-video
See links to other media (below). The government was defeated on several proposals (below). We must keep up the pressure. We’ll be there each time the Bill is debated:
® Tuesday 17 January when the abolition of low-rate Disability Living Allowance is discussed, a 20% cut which would deprive an estimated 700,000 disabled people of the money they need to live independently and go to waged work.
® Monday 23 January, when the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds plans to raise his amendment to keep Child Benefit out of the benefit cap.
® Wednesday 25 January if the debate gets extended.
Please join us again, and publicise it on Facebook, Twitter and email lists. If you can’t come, you can ring and write to the Lords (0207 219 3000, fax 020 7219 5979). More info and email addresses are here: http://globalwomenstrike.net/content/briefing-welfare-reform-bill-2011-%E2%80%93-report-stage.
The 11 January vigil was visited by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, and John McDonnell MP. See both their speeches in the Guardian video. Inside Parliament, a baroness thanked us and said that the Lords are being overwhelmed with emails! As a result of everyone’s efforts and protests up to now, three votes against the government were won:
to keep benefit entitlement for young people who are severely disabled, so they have financial independence coming into adulthood;
increasing to two years the one-year time limit on National Insurance-based sickness benefit for people who are recovering;
entitlement for terminally-ill people – the government wanted to force people who have longer than six months to live, to attend work-focussed interviews to get benefit.
Guardian blog http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jan/11/disability-welfare?intcmp=239#block-9
BBC interview with Baroness Meacher explaining the three votes http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16522485
More photos http://www.demotix.com/news/999151/welfare-rights-vigil-opposite-houses-parliament-london
The Commissioner for Children says the Bill contravenes the UN Convention
The Londonist report http://londonist.com/2012/01/welfare-reform-bill-protest.php
FYI: On bailiff powers:
“Debts and the use of bailiffs against the poorest households are being increased by the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions capping housing and council tax benefits while the prices of fuel, food, clothing and transport escalate. It will result in families choosing between paying their rent or council tax, or paying to eat and then falling into the clutches of the local authorities who add the court and unregulated bailiffs costs to council tax arrears; and whose bailiffs the Ministry of Justice refuses to properly regulate. Legal and illegal door to door lenders will thrive on extortionate interest rates as the banks refuse to led to the poorest citizens. The consequence is an inescapable misery of debt, even mental illness which costs billions in the Health Service.
It is vital that bailiff regulation is introduced with proper safeguards for vulnerable debtors before the Universal Credit hits impoverished households from 2013 when the DWP will be paying housing benefit direct into the claimants bank accounts with council tax benefit paid by the local authorities, all with caps. The DWP and the Treasury are creating a flood of unmanageable debts for the bailiffs to enforce.” www.Z2k.org
email@example.com 0207 482 2496 PaulNicolson@z2k.org 07961177889