Joint Statement and Petition by DPAC and Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights on the Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax

Unbelievably, the UK Labour Party, currently in opposition, has launched a campaign against the government Bedroom Tax welfare, but bizarrely, this contains an equally  draconian welfare reform.
In the campaign script (page 4) of the document, ‘Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax’, issued by the Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, Liam Byrne, we are told:

*“The best way to bring down the benefits bill is to get people into jobs. That’s why Labour is calling for a tough but fair compulsory jobs guarantee. We would offer anyone who has been out of work for more than two years a real job – one that they would be required to take, no ifs and no buts…”

“Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works….”

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED,

Urge all disabled and non-disabled activists campaigning against Tory welfare reform and in particular, the Bedroom Tax, to call on Labour members, constituency parties, plus affiliated and non-affiliated unions and political groups, to:

Challenge the parliamentary Labour Party in the strongest terms, on why it considers compulsory labour necessary to combat the Bedroom Tax.

To start with, they should be told:

1. To use the current protests against the bedroom tax by disabled activists and others as a Trojan horse from which to promote a policy of benefits that is conditional on compulsory work is utterly beyond the pale.

This means that those unemployed and disabled men and women, who campaign against the Bedroom Tax within the Labour Party will, in effect, be campaigning for their own forced labour under a future Labour government.

2. We have to be absolutely clear: There is no such thing as a civilized society that treats people in inhumane and degrading ways.

A welfare ‘safety net’ conditional on exchanging labour for an uncertain standard of material life is a contradiction in terms.

3. No real job is compulsory – does the Labour Party understand the economic meaning of free labour? If not, how can it run any kind of economy, let alone a socially just economy?

A Labour Party welfare policy should support those whose lack of social power has reduced their circumstances, not compete with a Tory-led government to smear them as feckless and undeserving of a living wage.

4. Liam Byrne should immediately strike out all references to work conditionality or compulsory work, attached to the Labour Party Campaign Against the Bedroom Tax.

NO FORCED LABOUR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND NO SANCTIONS FOR ANY REASON

To add your name to this statement, please use the comment boxes (‘Leave a reply’) below.

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Norwich: Axe the tax Say No to Bedroom Tax

From DPAC Norfolknorfolkdpac

Norwich Axe the Tax Say no to Bedroom Tax

Norwich Axe the Tax Say no to Bedroom Tax

Join the Norwich Campaign : Norwich Axe the Tax

Say no to Bedroom Tax

Saturday 30th March @City Hall 1pm

Saturday 30th April @Haymarket 12pm

 

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March 27th Actions nationally to Save Manned Stations and Disabled Access

Campaign from Action for Rail

The 27 March marks the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report which led to the closure of almost half the rail lines in this country. It was a black day for the railways. We are now facing another major new threat to our railways.
The government, Network Rail and the train operating companies are looking to shed thousands of rail staff that help you with your journey and make your railway safe.
Implementing the recommendations in the McNulty Review, they want to:
* close over half the staffed ticket offices in the country
* remove all non-driver staff from trains
* reduce platform, station and signalling staff
* make big cuts to the number of workers who maintain and upgrade the tracks
We want to put a stop to these plans. We know that the extravagant costs of our fragmented and dysfunctional privatised rail industry need to be cut. But cutting staff that provide a service to passengers is not the way. Surveys show the same thing time and again: passengers want to see staff on their railways. They want help with their journey, with getting the best value ticket, with boarding trains and to feel safe and secure at stations and on trains, particularly at night.
So we’re asking you to email your MP and join us on our day of action on the 27th March, the anniversary of Beeching, to let the government and train operators know that passengers want staff on their trains, at their stations, in their ticket offices and on their tracks.
Ask your MP to tell the government that us passengers want staff on our railways
Find out where we will be out leafleting at stations in your area of the country on Wednesday 27th March

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What next on the bedroom tax?

Reposted with permission from Andrew Fisher first posted on the LRC website.

Saturday’s protests against the bedroom tax were pretty impressive. Nearly 60 demonstrations held across the UK – with sizeable marches in some cities (like Manchester and Liverpool). In Croydon about 60 people turned up to a lively demo – with support from the Leader of the Labour group on the council, the local trades council, local DPAC group and other activists.

The government is on the back foot on this issue – surprised by the public backlash. This has enabled the Labour frontbench – less than confidently at times – to oppose it too. The public campaigning pressure has helped.

While some concessions have already been won, these affect only a few thousand of the 660,000 households hit.

So what can we do in the next two weeks before the Bedroom Tax comes in on 1 April?

1) Keep badgering MPs – especially if you have a Tory or Lib Dem MP. Write them a letter, email and tweet them and encourage others too. They need to feel bombarded – write to the local press too.

2) Badger your local council and councillors. Thanks to this question asked by Labour MP Chi Onwurah, we know that it’s up to councils to decide whether there’s a spare room or not. Councils and housing associations can simply reclassify the property. And don’t let them tell you it can’t be done, Knowsley Housing Trust has done it. If not then get them to make the same commitment that Brighton & Hove Council has made.

3) Support the national demonstrations against the bedroom tax in London on 30 March in London, Glasgow. If these demos are big, it builds momentum – and it could help develop a national network

4) Support those facing the bedroom tax. In terms of direct action – the groups that came together on 16 March should stay in touch ane be prepared to block bailiffs, picket councillors and coalition MPs until this tax is withdrawn.

5) Break the system. Mass appeals will clog up the system, delay the bedroom tax and may make politicians realise that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. See this excellent site for how people affected can block, delay and generally irritate those imposing the bedroom tax.

5) Get other people angry about the bedroom tax. Share this image on Facebook and Twitter. Over 25,000 people have already shared it on Facebook alone. Tell your friends, and share this blog.

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Videos from the Benefit Justice Summit

Benefits Justice Summit 9th March 2013, London

The start of Benefits Justice Summit


Benefit justice summit Winvisible


Benefit justice summit – Mental Health Network


Benefit Summit – Using the law to fight the cuts – Wendy Pettifer 1/2


Benefit Summit – Using the law to fight the cuts – Wendy Pettifer 2/2


Benefit Summit – Using the law to fight the cuts – Liz Davies 1/2


Benefit Summit – Using the law to fight the cuts – Liz Davies 2/2


Benefit Justice Summit – Closing session – Action plan part 1


Benefit justice summit – Building campaigns locally Part 1


Benefit justice summit – Building campaigns locally Part 2


Benefit summit – Tenants Federation


Benefit summit – Food & Allied Workers Union


Benefit summit – Pensioners Association


Benefit Summit – Single Mother’s Self-Defence

From the live streaming


Benefit Justice Campaign Summit 09/03/13


Benefit Justice Campaign Summit Part 2. 09/03/13

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What the Closure of ILF means to disabled people – Natassia and Petrell’s ’s story

Natassia and Petrell’s story

Natassia and Petrell’s Story

Natassia is a 21year old young woman who lives at home with her parents in South Norwood, Croydon. She wants to live an independent life with choice and control over what she does and who she does it with. Her support package from the local Council is £175 per week. This is not enough to cover the support she needs yet the Council are refusing to raise it, giving her mother the only alternative of sending her to live in residential care.

Natassia has Cerebral Palsy and requires assistance with washing, dressing,***** She wants to be active and to enjoy social networks and get of the house so she uses her budget to pay to go to a day centre of her choice in South Croydon three days a week. This costs £141 and leaves little left in the budget for meeting her needs for the rest of the week. The Council say if it is too expensive from her budget she should choose to go somewhere else but other day centres in the area are full of older people who Natassia doesn’t relate to and aren’t appropriate. The cost of getting out of the house three times a week then means that there isn’t enough money left in the budget to pay for personal assistants to support Natassia get up, washed and dressed and her parents have to rise at 4.30am to do this. They are happy to do this on the weekend but they find it too much every day of the week.

The Council says that if this is a problem, Natassia should be sent into residential care.

This is despite the fact that residential care would be more expensive than raising the level of the personal budget Natassia receives, costing £225 in rent before any costs for support and personal care.

The family home has been adapted so it is accessible and meets Natassia’s needs. It is where she wants to live.

Had the Independent Living Fund been open Natassia could have applied for support to meet her full range of needs, to receive personal assistance support that allowed her to live with her family while allowing them to live their own lives while still being able to maintain her social networks and to be part of the community.

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VIGIL to support the ONE BARNET legal challenge: 19 March 9.30am

VIGIL to support the ONE BARNET legal challenge

Tuesday 19th March, 9.30am

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2A 2ll.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice to show solidarity and support with disabled Barnet resident Maria Nash who is challenging Barnet Council’s decision to outsource a large group of public services without properly consulting Barnet residents.

Barnet Council is effectively selling off their public services to Capita, a private company in a single contract for a minimum of 10 years, putting the quality of services at risk as profit becomes the over-riding priority. Under the proposals customer services will for example be delivered from call centres in other parts of the UK that won’t have local knowledge or connections. There are many concerns about the impact on the local economy, about risks that the promised savings will not materialise leading to further cuts to services, about the ability of the council to accurately and properly monitor services once outsourced, and about the loss of democracy the entire procedure represents.

We are already seeing the failure of the One Barnet programme as staff working with disabled people through the ‘Your Choice Barnet’ trading company are having their terms and conditions slashed because the enterprise has not delivered the profits it was forecast to. This is what happens when profit is put before people yet Barnet Council is pressing ahead with its plans.

What is happening in Barnet is important to all of us because where Barnet leads in selling off our services other local authorities will follow.

For more information about what is happening in Barnet go to: http://barnetalliance.org/

For information about the vigil please contact: barnetalliance4publicservices@gmail.com 07534-407703

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