Jan 262013
 

An organising meeting called on Saturday 19th January by Defend Council Housing (DCH), Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Right to Work (RtW) attracted around 40 people representing 32 different campaign groups and union branches to build an umbrella campaign to oppose ConDem attacks on the poor and fight for benefit justice. The idea for the meeting came from a workshop on Welfare and Austerity hosted by DPAC and RtW at the Unite the Resistance conference in London in November.

Anger and desperation are mounting as benefit claimants brace themselves for changes due to come in this April at a time when many are already having to choose between heating and eating. The Bedroom Tax will mean tenants having to find around a £1000 a year to plug the cut in Housing Benefit, something that is simply unaffordable for people also facing a cut in Council Tax Support through what is fast becoming known as the new Poll Tax, and the benefit cap. Disability benefits are under attack on an unprecedented scale with cuts to DLA set to remove essential support from more than 600,000 claimants and the closure of the Independent Living Fund literally returning disabled people to the institutions. Unemployed workers are labelled as skivers and scroungers when the reality is there are no jobs and mandatory work placements are being used to drive down wages. Many low paid workers who will be expected to implement the changes will also be affected by them as research by union PCS has shown.

Campaign groups and actions are multiplying as people are left with no option but to fightback. In Liverpool last week 100 tenants attended a meeting called by Defend Your Homes Against the Bedroom Tax with plans for February to occupy a local housing association that is using housing benefit cuts to push tenants into unpaid work. Local Councils are being targeted with protests called at town halls such as those organised by Camden United for Benefit Justice. A facebook group called Anti Bedroom Tax has over 6000 members, many of whom have never been politically active before. Fuel Poverty Action is linking up with Greater London Pensioners Association and Disabled People Against Cuts on a weekend of action from 15th – 17th February and Boycott Workfare has a week of action planned from 18th – 23rd March.

The Campaign for Benefit Justice is about uniting the growing resistance, overcoming the divide and rule tactics the Government is using to get away with its assault on the 99% and bringing together disabled people, tenants, unemployed workers, trade unions, students, pensioner, single mothers and others to oppose benefit cuts.

We will be holding an event in London in early March with protests planned for budget day. More details to follow. For more information or to sign up to the statement below please contact info@defendcouncilhousing.org.uk.

Campaign for Benefit Justice – Statement

 Cuts in benefits are an unjust attack on the poor.  Cuts concentrated on Housing Benefit are already breaking up families, communities and support networks.  They will mean poverty, debt and evictions.
We oppose all cuts in benefits and tax credits. We did not cause the banking and economic crisis and will not be scapegoated to pay for it.

We reject false divisions and stigmatisation of people who are low-paid or unpaid.

We will join with local and national campaigns including disabled peoples, tenants, unemployed workers, trade unions, students, pensioner, single mothers and others to oppose benefit cuts

We will support and link up local campaigns.

We oppose all evictions and legal action against those hit by benefit cuts and support all actions taken in defence.

 

Signed:

Defend Council Housing

Disabled People Against Cuts

Right to Work

National Shop Stewards Network

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  24 Responses to “Campaign for Benefit Justice – sign up to our statement against Tory attacks on the poor”

  1. Going round in circles trying to sign petition and contact you for advice

  2. this tories guestapo should be trhown out of downing street as soon as possible

  3. Any action planned on this? we have nothing to lose at this rate. If we are under threat of being homeless, why not camp outside Ian Duncan Smiths house (or any of the tory scum for that matter). They are clueless about how many people in this country have to live so lets bring it home to them.

    The council (Enfield) has sent me a stack of BANK giro credits which I am meant to pay my council tax with (no doubt other councils dId the same) WHAT IF EVERY CLAIMANT IN THE COUNTRY POSTED THEM BACK TO PARLIAMENT WITH A NOTE SAYING ‘CANT PAY WONT PAY’? WORTH PASSING THIS IDEA ON IN SOCIAL MEDIA?

  4. Is there any chance of a campaign on the abolition of the Severe Disability Premium?

    Among so many other things being abolished, changed, “reformed” this one has got lost. It is never mentioned by campaign groups or the media.

    It means that those who qualify for the High or Middle Rate of Care of DLA and who live alone will lose about £58 a week from April. This is meant to help pay for extra care that might otherwise be provided as a normal part of every day living if someone else was living with you.

    It is grotesquely unfair that on top of having to cope with serious health conditions alone for most of the time, apart from a few hours from paid carers, that this amount of money can just be taken away with no comment or knowledge or protest.

    Just think, every little thing when ill that someone else can do for you that makes a difference; a cup of tea, taking out the rubbish, making a snack, putting on the washing, help in the night, even a shoulder to cry on is simply not there for the disabled who live alone. The money can never make up for not having another human being just to be there to help with the little things or a bit of moral support. But it can buy a few hours extra care for the daily tasks that HAVE to get done. Those who live with a disabled person can claim Carers Allowance. For those alone, this is the equivalent of getting Carers Allowance to pay for a stranger to help. Not as nice but still essential.

    Why does the government think it can abolish such a huge amount of money from disabled people living alone without a problem? Because no one is there to fight for us.

    On top of my “normal” conditions, I recently had an added injury – I could not have managed without the extra daily help of a friend but I needed money to help pay their travel, food costs and something for their time, to help them out too. Without SDP what would I have been able to do?

  5. I live in Wembley, London borough of Brent and my housing benefit has been cut from January without even being informed about it. I have received a letter from the councils benefit service finally this month but it only says that my benefit is going to be reduced from March. I have already asked council twice to explain under what criteria have they cut my benefit but so far no result. However. all the information that I can find on internet says that my total income is well bellow benefit cap and that I should be getting my rent and council tax paid same as I did before. I believe that Brent has jumped the gun and is cutting housing benefit, unlawfully, before legislation has even started.
    I live in one room with separate shower and WC which (private) landlord calls “studio” flat ( I call it rat hole, and, yes, there are rats and landlord fails again and again to address the issue) and housing benefit (was) paying £178.85 a week and due to mobility problems am mostly home bound.. I just had it inspected by environmental health and find it One bedroom flats in the area are going for considerably less. Should not government rather be looking into why lots of landlords are charging well over the odds for poor shoddy housing.

    The stupidity of this government is incredible. Do they think people are just going to starve to death without doing everything they can to survive? What sort of increase in crime are we to expect? After all, 3 meals a day, accommodation and no bills is beginning to look more and more attractive and it would cost the government over £40.000 per person.

    I would love to take them to court but do not know even where to start and have no assets apart from pension credit.
    If anybody out there plans taking legal action I would love to join You.
    Len – luke.sliminn@gmail.com

  6. Sign me up please.

    The inaugural meeting of the Manchester Anti-Bedroom Tax Group is tomorrow Tuesday the 26th of February
    (allied to DPAC and Coalition against the Cuts and Defend Council Housing and independent campaigners)
    all welcome Friend’s Meeting House, Mount Street 7pm.

  7. Please add Workplace Disability Adjustments to the list as well as Adam Lotun as an individual.

  8. We all have to fight these unjustified and unworkable reforms. Shame on these Ministers including the Lib Dems- this really is the nail in your coffin.

  9. Benefit claimants, disabled people who have saved money but have not declared it are being hunted down by the attack dogs at Jobcentre plus these people are no better than debt collectors “pure scum” they make their living from raping the claimants of their hard saved savings with the help of HMRC and UK Banks by data matching bank account data with benefit data. This group of claimants/victims are an easy target as they cannot cry out about this calculated and cynical attack by the DWP, JCP, HMRC, masterminded by George Osborne to pillage their savings, and take away their benefits as an extra sadistic twist of punishment.
    These people are branded as criminals by the media and Government.

  10. Sign me up please – United we may prevail

  11. I’m with you, together we must stop this unfair attack on the poor and disabled. We need a goverment that is for all people, not just the rich.
    They are like bully’s hitting people that can’t fight back.
    TOGETHER WE MUST STAND

  12. Count me in, but lack of income and reduced mobility means I can’t help on demos

  13. How do I sign up as being against all the cuts, bedroom tax, council tax new payments and any demo’s etc?

  14. The Resistance/Revolution begins with a single word..”Justice!”

  15. Count me in though phsically cant get to any demos. We will all keep up the work in getting this lot out of office.

  16. Enough of the Poor being Downtrodden and Oppressed

    No Council Tax upon the Poor Make the Rich Pay they have the Money After All

    Poverty is Degradation

  17. Poverty is the worst form of silent weapon, the worst form of social engineering by financial engineers, the worst form of social and domestic violence and the worst form of cruelty to inflict upon people, disabled or body abled, the lower classes deserve more than this. And why is it that debt puts smiles on the faces of the minority but a curse upon us the people? This Bedroom Tax, the slashing and cutting of benefits against people who ‘cannot’, contribute towards society in the way the Tories would like, dispossessing people and wounding us, to certainly disable us in the future. The financial slaughtering is disconnecting our options in life, our mobility and our liberty and it is why I am fighting this Bedroom Tax. It is nothing more than discriminating against the most vulnerable, the disabled are being judged and struck off by ATOS and the Tory agenda shows, and has no empathy, no understanding and no ability too either. I hope the ‘Campaign for Benefit Justice – against Tory attacks’ brings the nation together.

  18. We all know that household incomes are almost static for lower income groups, and of course that many benefit-dependent households will have their incomes cut, so there is little prospect of poorer people earning enough to get out of fuel poverty. Any help in this week’s Autumn Statement seems likely to be aimed at reducing car drivers’ rather than householders’ fuel costs.

  19. A great starting point with a relevant and emotive mission statement. Sign me up!

    My only concern is an agenda that centres on London. Living in Scotland with a mobility issue makes it difficult to get directly involved in a campaign based so far away. As Richard states above, this requires local campaigning at a grass roots level and motivating people that have never been politically active and already feel marginalised by society is very difficult. An emphasis on the importance and value of local involvement is essential and I hope this campaign can get that message across.

  20. Great! Finally. A national umbrella is very useful but this campaign is going to have to be built locally. One feature of the New Poor Law is the central role it gives to local councils – administering hardship funds, policing the changes. So local campaigns can make a difference.

    The key I think, as with the Poll Tax, as with cuts to disability benefits and services, is the active involvement of people affected. And aiming for a response that is angry, unapologetic and loud (not just advice and information). No evictions. No imprisonment. No food banks.

  21. Wow. This is powerful.

    (pl don’t call me pedantic, but shouldn’t ‘pensioner’ read ‘pensioners’ ?)

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