Assemble at Bruce Castle Park,
Lordship Lane N17 8NU
Move off 11.30 – march down Tottenham High Road to Tottenham Green East, N15 4UR for a PUBLIC SPEAK-OUT
Follow up meeting: Haringey benefit claimants and supporters
11 am – 1 pm Saturday 12th April
North London Community House, 22 Moorefields Rd, N17 6PY
MOTHERS OF LONDON SAY
MARCH TO DEMAND living incomes and decent, affordable homes to rent or buy for waged & unwaged
MARCH TO REJECT bedroom tax, housing benefit caps, unfair taxes, hunger and cold homes – austerity hurts vulnerable people, the rich get richer
The £500 overall benefit cap forcing families to pay rent out of the income they need for food, utilities, clothes and transport or be evicted and deported away from their extended families and vital support to anywhere in England or Wales; cap rents not benefits.
The bedroom tax hits disabled people who have one or two spare bedrooms. It also hits 50 to 60 year old adults who become unemployed and are expected to survive on £71.70 a week minus £24 pw bedroom tax and £5 pw council tax. People evicted are forced out of London – this is social and ethnic cleansing.
20% of the council tax has added to the misery of residents. Last year Haringey Council started court proceedings against 23,000 households adding £125 court costs and in over 9000 cases bailiffs’ fees, which have already been increased by 42% this year.
Sanctions imposed by jobcentres punish people for little or no reason leaving them penniless for up to three months.
Freezing increases in benefits at 1% a year while prices escalate inflict hunger and cold on thousands of households.
Food banks as an alternative to social security; the three days food does not end hunger for adults or children. Supply food by right, not by charity.
The activities of ATOS inflict poverty on disabled people with inappropriate fitness for work tests carelessly administered.
All African Women’s Group, Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Day-Mer Turkish & Kurdish Community Organisation, UCU at CONEL, Global Women’s Strike, Haringey Alliance for Public Services,
Haringey Defend Council Housing, Haringey Federation of Residents Associations, Haringey Green Party, Haringey Housing Action Group, Haringey Solidarity Group, Haringey Trades Council, Haringey UNISON, Holy Cross United Reformed Church,
Unite the Union/Community, London Region National Pensioners Convention,
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Socialist Women’s Union, Socialist Workers Party,
Somerford Grove Community Centre, St. Paul’s C-of-E Tottenham,
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities),
Sign the petition to Scrap the Cap NOW, get your organisation to endorse it, like it to you friends on Facebook and Twitter – we need as many signatures as possible. Endorsers include the Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, John McDonnell MP, WinVisible.
Women Against Rape was among the groups demonstrating at the High Court in October. We heard in court what the mothers and children have gone through, including living for years in rundown housing. They are represented by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine, who describes the Cap as catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary:
“Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners, and they now face a stark choice between descending further into poverty and risking losing their homes, or returning to their abusers in order to escape the imposition of the cap.”
Even Child Benefit, and many refuges and hostels for vulnerable women are not exempted from the Cap. Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape says:
“We call on the government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the Benefit
Cap so no one is trapped in a violent a relationship where they risk injury, trauma and even death.”
Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 January
Appeal vs the total Benefit Cap
In defence of families affected & impoverished by it. The Cap is even more drastic than the bedroom tax and is trapping women and children in violent relationships.
9.30am Join the protest outside the court
called by Women Against Rape
Royal Courts of Justice, Strand (off Kingsway), London WC2A 2LL
An action organised by Fuel Poverty Action, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Greater London Pensioners’ Association. Other organisations taking part include Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Southwark Pensioners’ Action Group and WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities).
Meet Thursday 29th November at 11am outside the main entrance to the Treasury on Horse Guards Road, SW1A 2HQ, opposite St James’s Park (nearest accessible tube station, Westminster).
Speak out against cold homes, mammoth fuel bills and winter deaths! Demand that George Osborne lets us into The Toasty Treasury to keep warm!
Bring placards, banners, blankets, flasks and hot water bottles!
This week, the government will publish its controversial Energy Bill. What it’s hoping we won’t notice is that, on Thursday November 29th – the likely date of the Bill’s first reading – the human cost of its destructive energy policies will be revealed as figures on last year’s winter deaths are announced. Disabled people, as well as pensioners, mothers, children and others in low-income households will be among the worst affected.
Fuel poverty disproportionately affects disabled people, who are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people. Disabled people need to spend more on energy as they are more likely to spend time indoors with fewer opportunities to go out and access community facilities to keep warm. Some impairments are aggravated by cold, requiring homes to be heated at higher temperatures to avoid illness and hospital admissions.
Join Fuel Poverty Action, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association, Disabled People Against Cuts and others in fighting back. Over the past week, we’ve asked people across the country which Cold Homes Killer they want to target. The votes are now in and we can reveal that the target of our winter deaths action will be…THE TREASURY, home to George Osborne. We can’t afford to heat our homes, so we’ll be demanding that George Osborne lets us into The Toasty Treasury to keep warm.
We’re targeting George Osborne and The Treasury because they are directly responsible for deaths from cold homes. This is due, firstly, to their cuts to crucial lifelines like benefits, council housing and the Winter Fuel Allowance.
George Osborne and The Treasury are also responsible for winter deaths because of their role in secret Tory plots to lock us into decades of dependence on dirty and expensive gas power. While the Tories and media blame green energy, in fact, two-thirds of last year’s energy bill increases were due to the rising cost of gas. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable energy is quickly coming down.
We need to invest rapidly in renewable energy to bring down bills and avert the dangers of climate change, which is also a killer.Why is the government allowing the Big Six energy companies – British Gas (Centrica), EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE – to push the cost of investment in new energy onto our energy bills, while their profits soar to record highs? The answer: the government are in bed with the energy companies and are prioritising their profits over our lives.
Join us in demanding no more cuts, no more dirty and expensive gas, no more mammoth fuel bills and no more winter deaths. Our alternative: let’s reclaim power through community-controlled renewable energy, distributed on the basis of need not private profit.
We are attempting to secure funds to subsidise people’s travel to the event. If you are in need of subsidised travel, please let us know in advance via the contact details below and we will try our best to help you.
If your group would like to publically support this event, please let us know.
We send our heartfelt support to you for your strike days against the closure of Remploy factories. Every one of us who is disabled has a right not to have our disability used against us, and that includes the right to a decent job with a living wage. Remploy factories shouldn’t close, and wages should be higher. Workers organising themselves into unions at Remploy helped get better wages and working conditions. Closing the factories is an attempt to punish workers with disabilities for having the impudence to organise together. How dare a government of millionaires tell us our workplaces are too expensive while they give billions to bankers and corporations in subsidies, and bonuses to Remploy management with our tax money? We are determined to defend everything we’re entitled to and which we (and those who care for and about us) fought hard to get – benefits, decent wages and working conditions, high-quality services, accessible transport and more.
The government is criticising “segregated employment” in order to take away what gives us some equity — our hard-won disability concessions based on recognition of the added difficulties and discrimination we face in an inaccessible society. These include Remploy and the welfare state. They give huge contracts to companies like Atos to carry out “work capability assessments”in orderto justify cutting our benefits. They want us dead or begging on the street. Thousands of sick and disabled people found fit for work are having to fight to keep our benefits. Many of us, reliant on benefits, are refusing workfare – disabled people, mums (many are disabled or looking after disabled children), people of colour, people who have problems with reading and writing.
We condemn prominent disabled people who claim to represent our best interests, but who are prepared to leave us with no wages at all, as they provide cover for the brutality of the government policy of Remploy factory closures — like Liz Sayce (whose report recommended ending “segregated employment”) and Mike Smith of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (who said on Channel 4 News that closing the factories is in the best interests of disabled people). Some of these disability ‘leaders’ are happy to take government money for themselves and their own organisations while helping to throw the rest of us out of a job. Scabs!
We also condemn disability charities which do the government’s dirty work, running workfare programmes that get them cheap labour, and specialised schemes for sick and disabled people forced into “work-related activity” which is contributing to early deaths.
Despite the onslaught, we take courage from your strike and from any victory we are having: at least 40% of appeals against Atos are being won and there is increased support for our demands – the BMA recently voted to end the work capability assessment.
All of us are workers, waged and unwaged, campaigning together to defend our rights. As part of the movement against the cuts, we are determined to support each other so we can all win.
Keep Remploy! Keep our benefits!
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
It’s been a busy week for us all with a visit to London on Tuesday to go to the vigil about DLA reform outside the House of Lords called by Winvisible, Single Mothers Self defence and the Zaccharius Trust. This was a very cold day and when I left home there was thick frost on the ground, however it was very marginally warmer in London and good to see other disabled people we know at the vigil. Sadly as I’m sure you all know one-third of Labour Lords didn’t bother to turn up to vote on this vital part of the Welfare Reform Bill and scrapping DLA was passed by 16 votes.
The Welfare Reform Bill will shortly be leaving the Lords and going back to the Commons where amendments can still be made so next week and it still has to be voted through so please next week email your MP and ask them not to support this bill. Tell them how important things like DLA are for you and your lives. Explain how difficult it would be for you to move from your current home to one in a cheaper area as this bill also seeks to limit the total amount of benefit disabled people can get for living and housing costs to £250 a week if you’re single and to £500 a week for families.
Today we had the first protest of Leamington and Warwickshire DPAC outside the offices of Tory MP Chris White. In spite of continuous rain there were between 30-35 people there which is much higher than I’d hoped for. We couldn’t get to see Chris White and shortly before the protest began staff came out of the office and went away. We did however leave a letter for him and he has agreed to see me and some of his constituents at another time now.
Today saw another demonstration by disability activists against Atos Origin.
The company won a £300 million contract to re asses people on benefits which activists say is no more than cuts and are forcing many hundreds of thousands of genuinely sick and disabled people off benefits altogether.
As one activist commented: Atos is a ‘professional healthcare’ company. It’s motives are profit driven and they are more concerned with the health of their bank balance than that of the claimants. The testing is a tick box system and you don’t need any medical knowledge to tick a box. The use of such a private so-called ‘healthcare’ company is being used by the Coalition to give them some sort of unwarranted credibility to justify their despicable policies of attacking those who can least defend themselves.
At one point tensions were raised when the police removed demonstrators from the entrance to the building.
“I want to speak about the cuts we face — because they are violence, and because they make us vulnerable to violence. The poorer we are, the more we are expected to be at the disposal of violent men, and the less we can escape.
As disabled people, as children, we are vulnerable to violence from people we know, in the family and in institutions. We are not supposed to have a sex life, but we are often sexually exploited by the men around us. Did we provoke it? Did we dress like sluts?
We’ve all heard about children and older women being raped or starved to death by care workers. They thought they would get away with it because we’re supposed to die, and because the authorities would believe them not us. And — because they are paid NOT to care, but to make profits for the care home owners. Castlebeck, which runs the private hospital where Simone aged 18 and other people with learning disabilities were tortured, charges £3,500 per person per week. What did she do wrong, to be locked up?
As women with disabilities, as single mothers, we have fought to have an independent income – so that we are not at the mercy of partners and family for our survival.
That is being taken away from us. We are being driven back into dependence by the cuts in benefits, housing and services.
Single mothers and other carers used to get Income Support because caring is vital work. Not any more. What is to happen to the children and the adults who need care? Who will be there for us when our carers are out looking for a job that doesn’t pay enough to support everyone, or doesn’t exist?
Even women fleeing domestic violence are losing their benefits. Only three months for mother and children to recover from trauma and get housing. Then out onto the job market – sink or swim. Many will sink — never leave their violent partners or quickly go back. More will be killed. Who is to blame? The government who deprived us of the money to escape. And the police who were too late to save us from being murdered!
Women with terminal cancer, mental distress, survivors of genocide and war, are being denied disability benefits by Atos, the private company carrying out assessments. Some have committed suicide. Who is to blame? Atos and their friends in government.
Without benefits and a roof over our head, we’ll be back to begging, shoplifting and prison, mental breakdown, being sectioned in hospital, where women still don’t have women-only wards because the staff are men, even where the patients are all women.
Cameron has attacked multi-culturalism. And now he is putting it into practice by cutting Housing Benefit. He wants to drive people of colour and other ‘undesirables’ out of city centres and have rich, white-only areas.
Speak-out 2pm: Room G2, SOAS, London School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh St, WC1H OXG
Invest in caring not killing
For Everyone’s SURVIVAL & WELFARE
End Cuts, Poverty & Discrimination
WOMEN, MEN, YOUNG, OLD BRING YOUR DEMANDS!
Why a Mothers March? Because:
Mothers produce and care for the world’s people, while brutal market forces destroy us and our planet.
Mothers’ basic contribution to survival and welfare is unrecognised and unpaid.
· Governments invest in weapons of war, banks and corporations. Feeding, housing, health, support, education, the environment – they couldn’t care less.
Our young people are victimised for defending everyone’s right to education.
Everywhere people are risking their lives to bring change – from Palestine to Egypt, from Haiti to Colombia, from Kashmir to Congo and Nigeria …
Why march with us? Because:
Most women do caring work, whether we’re mothers or not.
We’re all being robbed of benefits and services our labour and taxes paid for.
We’re thrown out of jobs or made to work harder for less.
Mothers can help bring together all who stand for life, against war & exploitation.
Everyone’s contribution and struggle must be counted and supported.
Fathers, sons, brothers, partners . . . it’s time to show your support.
Mothers March in Guyana, Haiti, India, Peru, the US.
ASK ORGANISATIONS TO ENDORSE THE MARCH
The Global Women’s Strike is an international network for recognition & payment for all caring work, and for military spending to go back to the community starting with women the main carers.
Why I’ll be marching:
‘My daughter has a life threatening disability. Mothers like me get no respite. They are even pushing us to go out to work. We are heading for disaster.’
‘It’s frightening to raise children in a world where they are not valued.’
‘Asylum seekers were cut first. No recourse to public funds, food vouchers, destitution. That’s what they intend for everyone.’
‘We run a small health food shop. Times are hard. My oldest child is losing his EMA. I don’t know how we’ll manage.’
‘We use the library all the time, for revision, books and films for holidays.’
‘Women are not believed. I was raped, accused of lying and jailed.’
‘Legal aid enabled me to sue the police for assault and wrongful arrest. Without it only the rich can afford justice.’
‘Mums of young children are treated as “workless”. When I was on Income Support I could be available to my son.’
‘After a life of labour, pensioners are told living longer is an economic crisis.’
‘Grandparents are expected to step in. We’re also expected to retire later.’
‘After school clubs are closing. Children are “collateral damage” for the cuts.’
‘I was tortured and claimed asylum. My children weren’t allowed to join me. I worry about them terribly.’
‘My partner was violent. I reported him and social services took my children. Why punish us?’
‘We share our house with others to reduce costs. Cuts in housing benefit will make it impossible, especially in London.’
‘I went into sex work to support my kid and pay for my degree.’
‘People are told to blame “others” for the cuts. Racist attacks go up, bullying, against immigrants, disabled people, lesbians, gays, trans. It’s scary.’
‘Child Benefit should be universal. Kids should see they and their mums are valued. Means testing stigmatises; many kids hide they’re on school meals.’
‘Young people want to find their own way to activities. Without out-of-school clubs, sports, music . . . we are impoverished.’
‘Flooding, drought. Now they want to take our forests. They don’t respect anything.’
Global Women’s Strike international demands:
Payment for all caring work – in wages, pensions, land & other resources. What is more valuable than raising children & caring for others? Invest in life & welfare, not military budgets & prisons.
Pay equity for all, women & men, in the global market.
Food security for breastfeeding mothers, paid maternity leave and maternity breaks. Stop penalizing us for being women.
Don’t pay ‘Third World debt’. We owe nothing, they owe us.
Room G2 SOAS: Main entrance has ramp. Room G2 is on ground floor. Platform lift inside G2 down to floor of hall. Accessible loo on ground floor and other floors.
Parking near SOAS: We hope to arrange some parking on the university campus. Blue Badge holders get one hour free in Pay & Display bays if you pay something to start it off. The Blue Badge is not recognised in Camden’s Green Badge zone south of Euston Road. Parking restrictions are in force until 8.30pm.