Benefit Cuts opposition grows as MPs and union leaders back
Union leaders and MPs are publicly backing tenants and campaigners against Benefit cuts which they say ‘must stop’.
The leaders of Britains largest trade unions are lining up in a joint call to action, with Defend Council Housing, Disabled People Against Cuts and others. They say debt, hunger and homelessness will get worse if ‘vicious’ cuts to Council tax, Disability and housing benefits including the Bedroom Tax go ahead. ‘People receiving benefits did not cause the banking and economic crisis and we do not accept them being scapegoated to pay for it.’ A joint letter published today, is signed by Len McCluskey leader of Britain’s biggest trade union Unite, and by Mark Serwotka of the PCS trade union representing Benefits workers and other civil servants.
Four MPs also back the call for a Benefits Summit on 9 March, bringing together campaigns and organisations to step up opposition. Today’s letter says:
Cuts in benefit are an unjust attack on the poor and they must stop.
People are already being driven into debt, hunger and homelessness. From April millions more will be hit by the Bedroom tax, cuts in council tax benefit, ending Disability Living Allowance and further vicious cuts.
In one of the richest countries in the world, the rise of food banks, destitution and poverty is not acceptable. People receiving benefits did not cause the banking and economic crisis and we do not accept them being scapegoated to pay for it.
The Campaign for Benefit Justice has called a summit event on 9 March in central London, bringing together tenants, disabled people, trade unions, the unpaid and the low paid as one national voice to end the war on the poor. All who support us should contact Benefit Justice via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Collecting unpaid corporate tax, capping private rents, insulating, repairing and greening homes and building 100,000 first-class council homes would be a sane and just way to raise funds, build for growth and cut bills and rents.
It is signed by:
Eileen Short Defend Council Housing
Linda Burnip Disabled People Against Cuts
Michael Bradley Right to Work Campaign
Len McCluskey General Secretary Unite the Union
Mark Serwotka General Secretary PCS union
Dave Anderson MP
John McDonnell MP
Austin Mitchell MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Jane Aitchison (PCS) Unite the Resistance joint Secretary
Richard Buckwell Chair Ashfield UNISON Branch & East Midlands member of UNISON’s national Housing Forum
Glyn Robbins (UNITE member)
Dot Gibson National Pensioners Convention general secretary
Claire Glasman WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
Kim Sparrow Single Mothers Self-Defence
John Davies Leeds Hands off our Homes
Dr Stuart Hodkinson Lecturer School of Geography University of Leeds
Shirley Frost Sheffield Defend Council Housing, Campaign for Benefits Justice, and UNITE Community Members branch Sheffield
Imelda Messenger Hackney tenant, Street Properties
Further information from DCH chair, Eileen Short (07432 098440)
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For background information on the demand for investment in council housing and who supports the campaign see www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk