Apr 302011
 
May Day march Birmingham

May Day march in Birmingham

Today there was a demonstration called by Birmingham Trades Union Council to celebrate May Day— International Workers Day.

May Day celebrates International Workers Day and is marked traditionally when the Trade Union Movement gathers with the community to celebrate our achievements and to commit ourselves to achieving economic and social justice for all.

Birmingham TUC worked together with Birmingham Against the Cuts and invited trades unionists, students and the public to join this demonstration to stop the cuts and fight for an alternative based on our needs, not bankers greed!

DPAC was there with our stall and banner at the start at St Philips Cathedral – we were to march through part of the city centre to Victoria Sq where there were speeches. I joined Matt, Linda and Paul there to hand out leaflets and chat to the people there. It was a lively crowd and people seemed genuinely interested to stop and chat and to take up handouts. There was a UKuncut group dressed up in white body suits with black tipped markings – they said the body stockings were what the UKuncut people (Fortnum and Mason Solidarity Bloc) had to wear after the Fortnum and Mason event in London, 26th march. Next to our stall was the Confronting Anti Muslim Hatred stall. There was also an anti war stall.

Soon after 12 noon we set out on the rally – it was a rather good natured crowd and we hardly saw any police. A bit of noise but not much chanting with a few kids. All in all, there was a rough estimate of 200 perhaps. The UKuncut group stopped outside Primark to protest about non payment of taxes I think. I wound my way through the marchers with Linda and Paul holding the banner taking photos and handing out leaflets about DPAC. Linda told me later that someone asked her if she was taking care of me and if I had enough battery in my chair to last out the march! I had an older gentleman tell me he was buying me an ice cream but it never materialise!

Some of the people there were from the general public and quite a few of the older people there spoke of their own fears to me. I would have liked to be able to chat more except I had to keep up with the crowd.  They were quite a few open to chatting – it might be due to the weather!

We had the speeches about the cuts in Birmingham and how it affects the workers and service users in Birmingham and the recent legal case won against the council. I also read out the DPAC speech prepared for the day.

We did some networking and packed up at about 3 pm. I was not aware till later that the UKuncut group took some rough treatment at the Bull Ring shopping centre where they demonstrated against the non payment of taxes against Phil Green. (Fortnum and Mason Solidarity Bloc off Birmingham Mayday demo organised by Birmingham against the cuts  after the demo the bloc went to topshop in the bullring to raise awareness about the £300 million pound tax dodge by Philip Green) Photos of this event is at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/04/478508.html

May Day Photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabledpeopleprotest/sets/72157626615066674/

—Eleanor Lisney

Eleanor Lisney speaking

Eleanor Lisney

Speech at the rally

Disabled people continue to face a multitude of attacks against their ability to live independently in the community and to take a full and active part in society along with their non-disabled peers.

These cuts include the abolition of Disability Living Allowance, a benefit awarded to meet the extra costs of being disabled, where even before further  testing of disabled people starts the Coalition government have said they will remove  20% of disabled people from entitlement to it and that we are financially unsustainable. This benefit in  particular allows many disabled people to work and therefore pay taxes.

1 million disabled people – not fraudsters as many newspapers would have people believe, are also being thrown off Incapacity Benefit and forced to seek non-existent jobs. But rather than removing the barriers to work for disabled people the coalition government have put even more obstacles to employment in place and with changes to Access to Work funding, a reduction to the Health and Safety Executive and the massive reduction of public sector jobs which provides employment for far more disabled people then the private sector.

Planned changes to social housing tenure and changes to housing benefits will also affect disabled people very badly and are likely to lead to an increasing number of homeless disabled people as well as pushing many into further poverty.

At a local level disabled people are already losing funding for care and support and together with the closure of day centres many are becoming isolated in their own homes. Social care is not free for the majority of disabled people either and locally in parts of the West Midlands people living on already meagre incomes are being expected to pay up to £50-£60 a week towards their care.

Mental Health services are also being drastically reduced in many areas due to cuts in NHS jobs and funding.

While many of you here today may think that what happens to disabled people is of little interest to you it’s important for everyone to realise that most disabled people have acquired an impairment  due to illness, accident, or old age., so helping us to fight for our rights and not be reliant on charity could help you or someone you care about in the future.

What I believe we all share in common however is that we are all being attacked by this millionaire government and that we have to fight for our futures together.

So what have DPAC done over the last 6 months?

All around the country together with others we’ve made it impossible for Condem politicians to leave the safety of Westminster and go out to visit places. Here in Birmingham MPs either were forced to use the back door on several occaisons or didn’t turn up. In London Boris Johnson was seen to cycle away from a group of protesters. We need to keep this up and make sure when they venture out into the community they can’t use the front door anywhere.

Secondly in Birmingham the council have been stopped from removing 11.000 disabled people  from receiving care by changing the eligibility criteria, This has been partly through pressure and partly through some disabled people winning a recent legal case. Other disabled supporters of DPAC  also have a Judicial Review pending against the heavily criticised Work capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance. A further case about Housing Benefit case is going to the Court of Appeal also.

We also now have several local DPAC groups around the country as well  and our campaigns against ATOS the private firm raking in millions of pounds for testing disabled people’s fitness to work are supported by politicians, union branches, and over 55 local claimant and anti-cuts groups. This campaign has so far involved three national days of action which resulted in ATOS offices all over the country, from Dundee to Truro, being closed down for the day.

We have been involved in organising an International week of protest against ATOS starting on May 9th again aimed to close down their offices all around the country. We have also and will continue to picket their recruitment fares when they try to recruit vaguely medical staff to carry out their tick box computer assessments. Of those tested by ATOS and found fit for work 70% who have representation and 40 % without any representation have the decision overturned on appeal, although it can take up to 12 months to reach a tribunal hearing because there are so many cases wrongly assessed.

We have also protested against the scandalous lies printed in the Daily Mail and are now involved in further campaigning against them. Its only in unity that we can achieve some success so we salute solidarity! in working together in the future.

Apr 292011
 


This demonstration has been called by Birmingham Trades Union Council to celebrate May Day— International Workers Day.

May Day celebrates International Workers Day and is marked traditionally when the Trade Union Movement gathers with the community to celebrate our achievements and to commit ourselves to achieving economic and social justice for all.

Birmingham TUC works together with Birmingham Against the Cuts and we invite all trades unionists, students and the public to join us on this demonstration to stop the cuts and fight for an alternative based on our needs, not bankers greed!

There are now colour posters and flyers available for you to download and print on our resources page.  Printed flyers will be available towards the end of the week, so email BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com if you would like some to distribute.
http://birminghamagainstthecuts.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/sat-april-30th-mayday-demonstration/

Apr 282011
 

A practical guide for campaigners – disabled people, families, carers and local groups –

This paper is intended to help campaigners – including disabled people and those supporting them – understand how the law can be used to help fight cuts to valued services for disabled and other vulnerable people in their area. The paper is intended to be read by those who do not have a legal background. However, any individual or local group who is considering legal action in relation to actual or proposed cuts to services should not rely only on this paper but should seek specialist advice, including legal advice.

This paper has been written by Steve Broach and Kate Whittaker. Steve is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, and Kate is a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors in Sheffield. Both of them specialise in cases involving disabled adults and children and others who need care and support from public bodies.

This resource (Word document)  can be downloaded at http://disabilitylib.org.uk/images/stories/Using_Law_to_Fight_Cuts.doc

Apr 272011
 
Crippen’s ‘eat cake’ cartoon

Crippen’s ‘eat cake’ cartoon

On the auspicious day of the royal wedding many disabled people will be eating a few crumbs of cake if they can find them. As many of us cannot afford television sets we may try and view this great occasion by trying to look through someone else’s window. This is quite dangerous as we can be arrested but as many of us lost our homes it’s our only hope–and it’s worth it-disabled people love these national events, although we cannot help noticing that such events often seem to occur when our glorious country is in the grip of protests, riots, the destruction of what we used to call the welfare state and cuts to public spending. In fact, the ‘cuts’ to public services total 81 billion pounds with an additional 18 billion pounds taken from disabled peoples support.

Now originally, the welfare state was set up to support: the sick, the elderly, ‘the disabled’, children, families on low incomes and those who cannot find jobs because of spending cuts and job decimation (who are also having their support and resources taken away) but what does that matter when we have: a wedding!

New directions for the Welfare State

The welfare state came from another big event that was called the Second World War. Yes, our ancestors gave their lives, were injured and often disabled for their country, for justice and freedom for all. The Labour government of the day (Labour were quite good then) said “let’s have something that supports people: from the cradle to the grave’’. The ordinary people are worth it. We all paid a thing called national insurance, which we still pay but now it’s used to support our bankers. We built new roads, new schools, new hospitals, better housing and the life expectancy of ordinary people increased.  At that time the relative deficit for England was much higher than it is today. Yet where there is a will there is a way, and speaking of Will or William to give him his nearly full title let’s move onto the subject of the royal nuptials and what exactly the welfare state pays for today.

Today in the advanced 21st century, the kind of arrangement that the welfare state provided for ordinary poor people is maintained for our royal family –all of the royals can expect to be supported by the tax payer from the ‘cradle to the grave’ which is truly wonderful. The notion of helping the poorest in society has moved dramatically to the notion of helping the wealthiest, this scenario also includes the bankers and city types, those who give large donations to the Tory party (of whom 22 are multi-millionaires) donator’s can also expect some form of helpful support, multi-million pound contracts or other stuff connected with undermining democracy and the so-called free market-they can also find ways to avoid paying their taxes.

The queen of England – isn’t she wonderful by the way- has an estimated fortune of £349 million. The royal cleaners are generously paid £6.45 an hour which is below the recommended wage for working in London, but they are lucky to be working for our queen aren’t they so what does it matter? The queen’s fortune consists of jewels and sparkle type things, a number of properties in England and Scotland, and a very fine stamp collection, apparently.

However, someone once told me that we: the nation, actually own all these things- that can’t be right can it? If it is, it is puzzling to me why we as a nation in the grip of deficit, facing cut backs and unable to support the sick, the elderly, ‘the disabled’, children, families on low incomes, and those who cannot find jobs because of spending cuts and job decimation: surely we just need to sell a few sparkle type things and all will be fine.  I also heard that our politicians say we have actually maxed out on our combined national credit card (?)- I don’t remember this, so it must have been a good time. Anyway this is the reason that we can’t pay for that thing the welfare state for poor people anymore.

This makes it all the more puzzling that it is us not the royal queen, who is in the international richest person’s list but whose sparkle type things and wealth we all own are paying for the royal wedding through our taxes despite having maxed out our credit card. So what will this glorious occasion –the wedding-cost?

Cost of Royal Wedding

An estimated breakdown from money saving blog breaks down the cost as follows:

Security- an estimated 20 million

Venue-cost of a prestige venue is anyone’s guess  with Charles and Camilla’s wedding bash costing 5 million and being a low key affair , we can safely say that this one will cost rather more.

Reception-estimated at 10 million

Dress- an estimated 25 million

Apparently Walmart/ ASDA have produced a helpful guide for non-royals which breaks down wedding costs to just £696.77 but with Walmart/ASDA rings at £64 as opposed to an estimated 32 million for those royal ones-guess we just got another credit card or something as this totals 87 million! It may be that this new form of welfare is more expensive than the ‘old’ type. Maybe we should tell someone, nobody seems to have noticed.

Cake Crumbs and Caviar

Disabled people hope to be feasting on cake crumbs on this glorious day. That is those of us that can survive long term without food and housing because due to this deficit/maxing out on the national credit card no one will get any help from the ‘welfare state for poor people’ anymore for such extravagant items.

Finally, let me say it is very difficult to become a royal if you are not born royal, but one way is to marry a royal and benefit from the welfare from the cradle to the grave.

This will support Kate if she gets sick, elderly, disabled, and will support her children to have the best private education, Kate does not even need to go and look for a job in the era of rising unemployment because her job will be wandering around exotic countries representing us: the nation. So we want to say well done Kate you’re supported for life as long as one of those great private companies doesn’t reinvent the guillotine that is. But why on earth would we want a revolution?

—–Debbie Jolly

Debbie Jolly

Debbie Jolly

Apr 262011
 

Right to Work Fight the cutsDPAC logo

Millions are set to be affected by savage cuts to housing, disability, sickness and welfare benefits. Disabled people, those with long term illness, the unemployed, single parents, carers the low waged, part time students, volunteers, homeless people and college students are all likely to see a devastating drop in disposable income with many slipping even further below the poverty line.

Thursday 12th May, 7pm

Speakers: the solicitor from Irwin Mitchell who has just won a case preventing Birmingham City Council changing eligibility criteria for care funding, Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts; Michael Bradley, Right to Work

Unison offices, 19th floor McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway. B4 7NN

Friday  13th, May, 12 noon

Outside Waterstones bookshop opposite bull statue in Bullring centre join us for leafleting and street theatre ‘ The Computer Says NO’ an adaptation of a Brighton Benefit Campaign play.

Demo at the Daily Mail 14th April

Demo at the Daily Mail 14th April

Apr 262011
 

From Rowenna Davis (rowenna.davis@guardian.co.uk)

….we will be holding a day devoted to the changes in mental health services. I have posted the line up below, and we’d love you to participate.
If you’re getting this email, it’s because you are known to have some experience of mental health services, either as a patient, a practioner, carer or campaigner. We want to give you the space to have your voice heard.
You can get involved either by commenting on the site during one of our live Q&As, or by emailing your thoughts directly to me or my colleague Randeep.ramesh@guardian.co.uk. We would be happy to publish your experiences of NHS mental services and your hopes and fears about the reforms on our blog. We can keep your comments completely anonymous if you would prefer.
This is the live blog mentioned –  NHS reform live blog – mental health special

Apr 252011
 

A new resource for citizens to exercise their rights and voice their opinions, fears, gripes and ask questions is Digital Democracy: Digital Democracy enables you and your community to discuss and prioritise issues, then challenges your MP to respond.

To find out more about them (no about page), read their press reports posted on their website – click on them to go to the original article.

Basically, its –

a new website promising to help communities coordinate campaigns targeting their local MPs has high hopes among its supporters in Westminster.

The political networking website digitaldemocracy.org.uk aims to foster online debate by letting MPs’ constituents band together to vote on issues.

Users submit proposals or ideas which are then voted on by other users. Once a month the most popular idea from every parliamentary constituency is sent to the local MP for them to act on. MPs are then allowed to explain what they are doing in response.

“I started Digital Democracy because I was fed up with how little say our communities have over the decisions that affect our everyday lives,” site creator Jonathan Elmer said.

“Facebook and Twitter are great for sharing pictures and gossip, but it’s about time we had a social network designed to be part of our political system.”

The site has all the social networking capabilities of similar sites, enabling members to send messages, make friends and create groups.

It also allows users to assess their political compatibility with other users. This, its promoters, say, is “invaluable if you are new in town”.

–from Alex Stevenson at politics.co.uk

We would like to hear from DPAC supporters if they have used it or find it a useful resource – or not.

Apr 232011
 

DWP - headless woman interpreted as having a headache

cartoon by Crippen

Incapacity Benefit was introduced in 1995 to replace Invalidity Benefit – both come under the earnings replacement benefit heading. It is important to understand that earnings replacement benefits have a chequered history. Prior to 1971, those unable to work due to sickness or disability were generally not distinguished from other non-workers, and simply received means-tested assistance, if they were poor enough.

Tania Burchardt (1999) wrote:

The 1970s and 1980s were in general periods of expansion and improvement in the coverage of earnings-replacement benefits. However the tide did begin to turn. First in 1980 all long-term benefits, including IVB, were linked to prices rather than being up-rated with earnings as they had been previously.  Then through the 1980s short-term sickness benefits became flat-rate (losing their earnings-related element) and responsibility for them was gradually passed to employers. Finally, and decisively, Incapacity Benefit (IB) replaced IVB in 1995: taxable, unlike its predecessor, and with tougher eligibility criteria. For IVB, assessments of incapacity for work could take into account the  claimant’s age and qualifications, but for long-term IB the test (at least in theory) is whether there is any work the claimant could perform, regardless of the likelihood of him or her getting such a job or its suitability.

A number of issues arise from this period which still haunt us today and makes it extremely difficult to have a meaningful and rational discussion around the ‘benefits agenda’. Firstly, it is a widely held belief that Tory Government’s encouraged IVB claims rather than unemployment benefit in key regional areas in order to mask the true unemployment figures. Secondly, the State has always bound together ‘sickness and disability’ and as a result misrepresented and abused the lifestyles of people with chronic illness and/or impairment. Finally, it should be noted that three years after IB was introducted it became part of New Labour’s first shake up of the Welfare System under Alistair Darling. Labour were concerned by the fact that the ‘disability benefits’ element of the social security bill had between 1974 and 1998 risen from 16% to 27%.

This is the background to the rentless campaign that has unfolded since the end of the 1990s against people claiming ‘disability benefits’. DPAC has highlighted how both Labour and the Coalition have employed the rabid Tory press to witchhunt claimants. It is not our argument that there is no need for reform of the benefit system, nor would we foolishly refuse to acknowledge that some claimants might not need the benefits they are claiming; however, we assert that these issues should not detract us from questioning the real agenda behind the so called ‘reforms’ and the discriminatory and disablist manner in which the three major political parties and the mass media are targeting those on ‘disability benefits’.

The latest attack came on the 21st April 2011 when both the Daily Mail and the BBC using data collected by the DWP in August 2010 supported a speech made by David Cameron. In his speech Cameron said:

People on benefits due to drink and drug problems will be expected to work if they can

He promised “tough action” after government figures showed 80,000 people claimed incapacity benefits due to drink, drug or weight-related issues.

The Daily Mail carried an article by Daniel Martin which re-articulated a previous one written back in the Autumn – the theme of both being that drug addicts, drunks and people with minor ailments such as headaches were abusing IB. The BBC went one step further and produced a chart:

Most common ailments cited in benefit claims (top 10 and selected)

And this shows what exactly? That the world of work makes people ill, perhaps? Having a category such as “depression” or “obesity” masks the nature and degree of the condition, it fails to acknowledge the varied causes of the conditions held within the categories. Alcoholism is for example an extremely complex condition – however Cameron and the mass media are happy to make reckless generalised comments about people with a variety of medical conditions.

As a result of their actions the public are encouraged to pin “common sense stereotyped” labels on benefit claimants. The BBC’s chart, for example, are we clear as to what is covered by “drug abuse”? Are there 37,480 “junkies” on benefits or could it just be that this figure includes people who are ‘drug dependent’ due to the nature or treatment of their condition”? This approach tars everyone with specific impairments with the same brush – the social context of impairments are ignored in favour of crude discriminatory stereotyped descriptions. People are drug dependent for many reasons; people can have weight issues for many reasons too – but the Tories don’t want this to be considered.

Another question absent from Cameron’s lips and the media stories is: ‘Are these claims within the Social Security rules of entitlement?’ Why is the focus always on the claimants? When was the last time you read in the Daily Mail or heard via the BBC that senior officials at the DWP have been hauled over the coals?

Let’s cut the crap – the 21st April marked the latest attempt to instil in the minds of the public that there are two groups of claimants – “deserving” and “undeserving”. This Government has made “impairment” a political issue by asserting through a moral discourse there are acceptable and unacceptable impairments. How dare Cameron pretend to have morals when he has allowed the banking sector get away with immoral acts time and time again? How dare Cameron pretend to have morals when he fiddled his own expenses? We must stand up and oppose the immoral way in which people with impairments are being scapegoated as an excuse for dismantling the Welfare State.

——Bob Williams-Findlay

Bob Williams-Findlay

Bob Williams-Findlay

Apr 192011
 

MAD PRIDE and the Mental Health Resistance presents
A FEAST OF FOOLS

A FUND RAISER FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK’s CAMPAIGN AGAINST WELFARE BENEFIT CUTS

SATURDAY 23rd APRIL
8PM – LATE
ADMISSION £5 / £2 concessions

The Amersham Arms – New Cross

The AMERSHAM ARMS is located opposite NEW X BR station, where the East London Line stops and is within walking distance from NEW X GATE BR station, all buses to New X will get you there. It is a short bus ride from Deptford Bridge DLR station.

ARTISTS APPEARING

DAVID AMERY – long established performance poet / performance artist – appeared at numerous venues around London and beyond – also known for running events in his own right.

DAVID KESSEL – another performance poet with a long established reputation – an original ‘survivor’ poet – much loved and much respected.

DAVID STUDDERT – Australian singer songwriter ‘one of the best going around’ – according to the web site of the famous ‘12 Bar Club’ – where he also ran his ‘Backfire Cool’ nights – also known for running other events around various venues in London and playing at innumerable gigs about town.

FRAN LOCK – performance poet – building a reputation – her first publication is due out in may – published by ‘Little Episodes’ an organisation that seeks to promote the therapeutic value of the arts and seeks to de stigmatise depression and addiction issues, that she is involved with.

L.A.SALAMI – a singer songwriter of quality and distinction – here accompanied with his full band

DANGEROUS T – off the wall comic performer, well known around the London small gig scene.

PARADISE 9 – Psychedelic, space rock / punk band fronted by Greg McKellar – who is involved with musical and alternative cultural luminaries Nik Turner and Mick Farren and featuring original ‘Alternative TV’ founder member Tyrone Thomas

RICHARD ALLEN – quick fire comic poet with a strong established reputation with appearances at well known comedy venues and the theatre stage at Glastonbury –

THE STRANGE AGENCY – another psychedelic prog metal punk outfit, all the way from the wilds of west Wales – fronted by former local personality – well known for fronting innumerable SE London based bands – the appropriately known Mr Craig High – who appeared onstage at the first BONKERSFEST in 2006.

JAZZMAN JOHN & FRIENDS – Lewisham based ‘beat’ poet – well known for his many appearances at numerous venues – there is hardly a night goes by when the Jazzman is out gigging – also known for running his own excellent events, including his current ‘Friday Lip’ late night sessions at the nearby ‘Let’s All Hang Together’ shop and community space set up by the Art Saves Lives organisation – Here John is accompanied by some cool jazz muso’s for an improvised set to bring the night to it’s cool conclusion.

For more info on the event call 077 577 15035

CREATIVE ROUTES

Facebook –    http;//tinyurl.com/6155qzb

www.myspace.com/themusescafe

For more info re the MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK

Contact   mentalhealthresistancenetwork@gmail.com

MAD PRIDE – 07542459321

www.madpride.org.uk

For more info on the acts check –

PARADISE 9

http://paradise.9.soundawesome.com

www.paradise9.net

THE STRANGE AGENCY

L.A.SALAMI

www.myspace.com/lasalami

http://www.facebook.com/L.A.Salami

For info on the venue check

www.amersham.arms.co.uk

www.myspace.com/amershamarms

Apr 182011
 
"Atos don't give a toss" placard

"Atos don't give a toss"

On the last Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts protests, actions and demonstrations were organised in Dundee, Edinburgh, Westminster, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Brighton, Glasgow, Poole, Burnley, Islington, Kensington, Cardiff, Poole and Truro.  This time we’ve got all week!

Disability activists, claimant groups and anti-cuts campaigners have called a week of action against poverty pimps Atos Origin beginning on Monday 9th May with a picnic and party in Triton Square*, home of their head office, at 2pm.

Atos Origin have just begun a £300 million contract by the Con-dem Government to carry out ‘work capability assessments’ on all of those claiming Incapacity Benefit.

It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.

This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer.

Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

To date around 40% of appeals against Atos Origin’s decisions have been successful.

On the 24th January claimants from around the country demonstrated outside Atos Origins premises, with many choosing to close for the day rather than face their ‘clients’. We call on all groups around the UK to take action against these parasites who have been dubbed ‘the racial purity and euthanasia arm of the DWP’

A list of Atos Origin’s corporate offices and testing centres can be found via: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/national-week-of-action-against-atos-origin-begins-monday-9th-may/

If you are holding an event, protest or action in your home town please add details on the wall below to have your event added to this page and the website. Alternatively contact us at: notowelfarecuts@yahoo.co.uk

*Triton Square is on the North side of Euston Road, just over the road from Warren Street tube and less than five minutes from Euston/Euston Square or Great Portland Street tube stations.

facebook event at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121624627914913

Supporting groups (please contact us to be added to the list)

Supported by:

o Armchair Army
o Anti-Benefit Cuts Glasgow
o Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign
o Brighton Benefits Campaign
o Cardiff’s Unemployed Daytime Disco
o Carer Watch
o Carer Watch fb page
o Crippen – Disabled Cartoonist
o Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
o Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
o Dundee Unemployed Workers
o East Lancs Right to Work
o Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP)
o Free London Listings
o Goldsmiths in Occupation
o Haringey Solidarity Group
o Ipswich Unemployed Action
o Islington Deaf and Disabled People Against Cuts (IDPAC)
o Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS)
o Islington Poverty Action
o Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
o Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts
o London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP)
o London Foodbank
o Mad Pride
o Medway Against The Cuts
o Mental Health Resistance Network
o Norfolk Community Action Group
o Nottingham Claimants’ Union
o Nuneaton Against Benefit Cuts
o Oxford Save Our Services
o Squattastic
o Tyneside Claimants Union
o Welfare Action Hackney
o Welfare Rights 4 u (UK)
o Work Programme & Flexible New Deal Scandal
o World Homeless Day

Apr 172011
 

Ben King writes:

I’m looking for people that are affected by bus service cuts, that are prepared to be interviewed by the BBC.

Please can anyone that can help email, phone or text me with their name and contact telephone number as soon as possible.

Evidence needed for House of Commons Transport Select Committee

Also the “East Midlands Transport Activists’ Roundtable” (EMTAR) are looking for examples where communities and businesses are affected by the cuts in bus services.

Again please can you contact me to notify me of examples where communities and businesses will be affected by the cuts, for me to pass on to the EMTAR. EMTAR are then going to present the information to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee on 3rd May.

Thank you for your help.

Kind regards,

Ben King
Member of Bus Users UK
Outreach Officer for Northampton Alliance to Defend Services
Interim Vice-Secretary for Corby/Kettering Trades Council

Mobile: 07877 825235

Apr 172011
 

Protests took place around the country on the 14th April as part of the Third National Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts.

An early morning demonstration in Islington saw a crowd gather outside the North London Atos testing centre, and demonstrations also took place outside Atos in Bristol as well as in Burnley, Poole and Truro town centres.

Photo from the Holloway ATOS protest

Holloway ATOS protest photo by PCS Euston

A demonstration of roughly 40-60 people gathered outside the Daily Mail head office in Kensington demanding that they end the lies they print about disabled people and benefit claimants.  Police initially prevented the protest happening  outside the Mail’s entrance and demonstrators gathered opposite the front door of the Daily Mail Group on the other side of the building instead.

As the protest became increasingly angry it managed to move to it’s intended location where the microphone was passed round and impassioned and diverse expressions of contempt were aimed at the so called newspaper.

Protesters then moved onto to Westminster City Hall where over a hundred people shared food, made speeches and vowed to defy any attempts to criminalise rough sleeping and the handing out of food in parts of the borough.

The Daily Mail’s Scotland offices were also targeted with activists invading their offices to distribute information and tell the faceless hacks personally what they think of the Daily Mail’s abuse of disabled people.  Prior to this the group has demonstrated outside the Glasgow offices of Atos Origin, the company responsible for health testing benefit claimants in an attempt to strip people of benefits.

Atos Origin were the focus of many protests around the country.  Their testing centre Edinburgh was picketed whilst over 40 people protested outside their premises in Dundee.  The protest at Atos’ Scotland Head Office in Livingston turned out to be a red herring, with a large police presence arriving to discover everyone had gone to Dundee instead.

In Brighton the Computer Says No play was performed outside Atos offices to an enthusiastic crowd and heavy police presence.  Liverpool and Leeds both saw demonstrations outside Atos, organised by local Solidarity Federation branches and the Black Triangle Anti Defamation Campaign.

The Armchair Army, Virtual Resistance and Troll A Tory ensured that those unable to attend protests in person could make their feelings heard.  Hundreds of online activists wrote to MPs, media outlets or trolled Tory websites throughout the day.

Anti-benefit cuts camapaigners are now calling for escalation.  A week of action against Atos Origin has been called beginning on May 9th.

Please put this date in your diary.

—————————–

Source: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

Islington demo report on Islington Tribune

Photos from PCS Euston

Photos from Pete Riches

Photos and report from Daily Mail protest Howard Jones at Demotix

Photos and report from Daily Mail protest from Peter Kirk at Demotix

Photos and report from Islington demo from Peter Kirk at Demotix

Photos at DPAC Flickr

Apr 132011
 

For immediate release

Photo opportunity: Thursday 14th April, 2.30pm at Daily Mail Headquarters,

Young Street (off Kensington High Street), London, W8 5TT

On Thursday 14th April, disabled people, people with illnesses, parents, people on low wages, unemployed people, carers and others will protest at the Daily Mail Headquarters. The colourful noise demonstration will demand an end to the defamation of people who need state welfare support to survive.

The protest takes place as part of the third national day of action against benefit cuts. The aim is to challenge the legitimacy of the government’s drive to move claimants off Incapacity Benefit, putting around 1600 people a day through a medical test run by private company Atos Origin. The test has been widely discredited by the CAB, Child Poverty Action Group, and others. A damning CAB report concluded “”Doctors pay more attention to the computer than the client”.

Yet the Daily Mail has been using the results of Atos Origin’s computer-based tests to mount a campaign against disabled people and people with illnesses claiming Incapacity Benefit. Their lurid claims have included “76% of those who say they’re sick can work” and “Thousands in Britain on incapacity benefit because they are too fat to work”.

Linda Burnip from Disabled People Against Cuts says:

“The lies and half truths that the Daily Mail has published have resulted in an increase of hate crime attacks against disabled people. We are not prepared to sit back and allow them to continue to peddle their disgusting disablist propaganda unchallenged.”

Anne Novis MBE, has issued this call to action:

“Yes you, and you and you, all of you who stand by and say nothing or encourage such vicious and undeserving attacks are just as responsible for what is happening. Those who stand by and allow this are equivalent to those who stood by when disabled people and Jews were targeted by the Nazis for annihilation. Too harsh for you? Its our lives we are fighting for, our very lives, some have already killed themselves due to what is happening, many more are considering it. Will you stand by?”

Martin Campbell of London Coalition Against Poverty has said:

“The Daily Mail needs to know the disgust and anger its fear-mongering lies provoke. All those who experience the stress, insecurity, illness and sometimes destitution that result from Atos Origin’s disastrous computerised “medical assessment” have a clear message for the Mail: Stop the lies! Stop the Defamation!”

Notes:

1.    The Day of Action has been called by networks of claimants’ groups around the country, including Disabled People Against Cuts. The first two days of protest against benefit cuts have seen demonstrations, meetings, unemployed discos, public pantomimes and occupations in cities across the UK. Atos Origin have been forced to close offices, protesters have gathered inside and outside workfare sharks A4e and demonstrations have taken place from Downing Street to local town centres such as Lydney and Crawley.

2.    Protests will take place in 12 cities across the UK, and include an online action for those not able to travel by the “Armchair Army”.

3.    Since 1 April 2011, a mass assessment of Incapacity Benefit claimants is being rolled out across the country. This despite the CAB condemning the replacement “Employment and Support Allowance” (ESA) and the medical tests run by multinational company Atos as “not fit for purpose”; and strong criticisms from Child Poverty Action Group and others. “Doctors produce inaccurate reports .. reporting incorrectly what the claimant has said about their own conditions and taking their answers out of context.” and “Doctors pay more attention to the computer than the client;” [CAB report 2009].

4.    The tests do not work: One in four ESA decisions are appealed and the CAB’s evidence suggests that 70% of appeals are successful.

5.    The Daily Mail has led the propaganda against the most vulnerable society, which has made these attacks on benefits for sick and disabled people possible:

o    Half a million claiming sickness benefits could start work immediately, says employment minister

o    Sickness benefits crackdown begins as up to two million claimants face being stripped of payments

o    76% of those who say they’re sick ‘can work’: Tests weed out most seeking incapacity benefit

o    75% of incapacity claimants are fit to work: Tough new benefits test weeds out the workshy

o    The sick man of Europe: UK tops chart for number of young people off work claiming incapacity benefit

o    Thousands in Britain on incapacity benefit because they are too fat to work

o    Number of drug addicts and alcoholics on incapacity benefit is on rise

o    Nine out of ten on incapacity benefits ‘are fit to return to work’

o    Sicknote generation: Half a million under-35s ‘too sick to work’ are claiming incapacity benefits

Apr 132011
 
Bob Williams-Findlay

Bob Williams-Findlay

At one time within the Disabled People’s Movement there was the belief that disabled people ought not to “wash their dirty linen in public” and to always show unity at all times just in case those that oppress us attempt to use the divisions against us. This was utterly unhealthy and helped to restrict the voice of minority opinion. Personally, I have no problem with acknowledging that disabled people, just as with our non-disabled counter parts, come from a variety of social and political backgrounds and as a result don’t always share the same opinions on issues affecting disabled people. There are political differences among disabled people and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so. Often these differences influence our take on mainstream politics, but they also impact upon people’s views on disability politics too. The debates around the social model, inclusion and the right-to-die, for example, reveal differing ‘world-views’ and I would argue the current struggle against the cuts is now throwing up alternative political perspectives as well.

Over recent weeks there has been much discussion in some quarters as to Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC’s) decision to withdraw support for The Hardest Hit campaign. Here I want to discuss some of the differences that have emerged since we took the stance we have. Before anyone else says it for me, I recognise the irony behind the fact that a campaign group called Disabled People Against Cuts has turned it back upon a campaign that has a focus on disabled people and the cuts – however things aren’t always as simple as they seem. How did DPAC become involved in The Hardest Hit campaign in the first place?

The Hardest Hit campaign

The United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) finally took the decision to voice its opposition to the Government’s attack upon disabled people and DPAC had continued to urge UKDPC to come out make a stand. UKDPC took the initiative to invite the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) to work in partnership with them to establish a campaign. DPAC isn’t a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) and therefore had no expectations as to being invited to participate however when an invite to attend a meeting arrived, we accepted. Prior to the meeting the co-founders of DPAC discussed how we felt about working in partnership with DBC because it contains some of the major disability charities. The Disability Benefits Consortium involves many different types of organisations who have had differing types of relationships with disabled people and their organisations and DPAC therefore wants to make it absolutely clear that there is no intention on our part to tar DBC all of its members with the same brush. We do assert however that the major disability charities have had historically very distinctive relationships – often socially oppressive – with disabled people and their organisations.

In all honesty, we were concerned about working with the major disability charities because unlike Tom Shakespeare for example we do not believe these major charities have completely broken with their past practices or have acknowledged their role in disabled people’s social oppression. Many DPOs remain critical of how they behaved during the Rights Now campaign and believe some of them colluded with New Labour to marginalise and undermine the Disabled People’s Movement. The big question for DPAC was: could they be trusted? What we concluded was:

An organisation should not be judged by its stated aims
and objectives, the ‘PC’ language it employs or the friends
it seeks to make alone; an organisation should be judged by
its practice.

In our opinion this can be applied equally to DPOs as it can be to major disability charities. Using this as our principled position we were prepared to consider the nature of The Hardest Hit campaign in terms of whether or not it would be a genuine partnership and we could only do this if we were round the table with them. During the meeting I attended I did state that DPAC wasn’t refusing to work with all disability charities but we did reserve the right not to work with any organisation that had been questioned again and again for abusing disabled people’s human rights; I didn’t directly name Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD). After the meeting a senior disability activist expressed the view that LCD was unlikely to be involved in The Hardest Hit campaign therefore there was no need to worry about them. It was only days after this meeting that DPAC learnt that UKDPC had agreed to work with LCD to organise the rally on the 11th of May. People may be asking themselves the question, does DPAC seriously believe LCD is any worse than the other disability charities and our answer is that this is exactly our opinion based on evidence obtained by us. In our opinion LCD continue to undermine disabled people’s rights and engage in oppressive activities.

Given the dominant role being played within The Hardest Hit campaign
by LCD, the co-founders of DPAC felt that it would be unprincipled of us to remain involved and in support of this campaign. We agreed to explain our position, however, we would not seek to actively discourage disabled people from participating on the 11th of May. This said, I feel justified in also stating that the early promotion of The Hardest Hit campaign by a number of the Disability Benefits Consortium members failed to mention the partnership with UKDPC or include any DPOs.

This website for example: http://thehardesthit.wordpress.com/ contains the statement that:

The Hardest Hit campaign, organised jointly by the
Disability Benefits Consortium and the UK Disabled
People’s Council, brings together individuals and
organisations to send a clear message to the
Government: stop these cuts.

however around its edge there are no logos belonging to DPOs (as checked today 13th April) including the absence of UKDPC’s logo. Was this agreed with UKDPC? For a number of disability activists this brought a flashback to the Rights Now days. Having outlined the background, I now want to move on to examine some of the issues involved.

Different perspectives: what are the issues?

One criticism aimed at DPAC is that principles are all well and good, but with the situation being as terrible as it is, shouldn’t we cut the charities a bit of slack? I call this the principles versus pragmatism debate. What are principles and why do we have them? There are many definitions of what principles are and I believe DPAC employs “principles” as being: “a specific basis of conduct and management”.

In our opinion it is vital to establish a framework for ourselves – are we prepared to work with people who are knowingly racist, disablist, sexist or homophobic? Do we ignore the fact that organisations might be viewing disabled people as ‘helpless cripples’ so long as they are prepared to come out and oppose the cuts? We believe it is precisely because we are facing severe attacks upon our rights and lives at this moment in time that there is even more reason than ever to ensure that the messages we’re sending out and the actions we take are clear and work in the long term best interest of all disabled people. I make no apology for saying that DPAC refuses to “turn a blind eye” and betray certain groups of disabled people for some mythical “greater good”. Some may accuse us of cutting off our noses to spite our face or needlessly creating barriers where none exist, however, it is our view that it would be hypocritical of DPAC to speak of defending people’s rights, including the right to independent living and self-determination, if we gave a nod and a wink to anyone who is engaged in activity undermining these rights. How many Catholics are proud of their Church’s record on addressing child abuse?

This leads onto a simple definition of pragmatism where it is seen as being: “a practical, matter-of-fact way of approaching or assessing situations or of solving problems”. Here I’m talking about a common sense understanding of pragmatism which implies ‘ends justify means’. It has been argued by some DPOs that major disability charities have resources, influence and power; areas where DPOs are lacking, so we need to be practical and hitch our wagon to their horses. Forgive me for pointing this out, but wagons don’t lead! What kind of “partnership” is this when the inequality between UKDPC and the major disability charities is so vast? ‘Ah, so you are anti-working with the charities?’ And again our answer remains, not necessarily. The Hardest Hit campaign, in our opinion, by applying a pragmatic approach to this ‘partnership’ has resulted in UKDPC allowing itself to be held as a hostage to fortune and this means disabled people are being asked to accept their historical role of going ‘cap-in-hand’ to the charities. The message coming from UKDPC and some others is that ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ (sic). We could debate the reasons behind the inequalities between the ‘of’ and ‘for’ organisations but these are well documented elsewhere and our central concern here is to note the failure of UKDPC to provide political leadership for disabled people in order to mitigate against the unequal partnership they formed. This partnership or ‘united front’ reminds me of the bankrupt politics during the 1930s when sections of the Left surrendered their principles in order to form a ‘popular front’ based upon the lowest common features. This decision proved extremely costly and I hope UKDPC hasn’t made the same type of error.

Throwing ‘principles’ out with the bathwater has led to a situation where UKDPC can argue:

We fully understand the feelings expressed by DPOs
and individuals towards some of the ‘for’ charities in this campaign, however, at a time when disabled people are facing harsh cuts and breaches of rights, we have to
campaign with organisations whose policy and/or practice
is not in keeping with the DPO philosophy.

What exactly does this mean? Where are the boundaries drawn and by whom? UKDPC, mistakenly in my view, believe they have things covered when they state:

The charities ‘for’ recognise that we are working from
human rights framework, and that our agenda forindependent living is not negotiable.

Within the context of The Hardest Hit campaign, what is there to negotiate? UKDPC are not going to influence how LCD operate; so this ‘recognition’ is utterly meaningless. However from a disability equality perspective, UKDPC claiming it works from a human rights framework but is prepared to ignore allegations of human rights abuse against one of its partners ‘beggars belief’ (sic). In our view this simplistic pragmatic approach discredits the Disabled People’s Movement.

Another issue raised is that of allies and the justification of working towards a ‘common good’. UKDPC state:

In common with other liberation movements, we are
having to find a common way forward with those who
are not immediately obvious allies

DPAC know from our own experience that there has been a great deal of time and energy discussing our relationships with disabled and non-disabled organisations and much of this activity has centred upon how best to work with people outside our traditions. This requires an understanding of what an ally is.

Over the last few weeks a few disabled people have asked DPAC to remember that: “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. It’s a saying DPAC is very familiar with and believe that both British and American governments have adopted this opportunist approach with disastrous consequences in Iraq and Libya for example. What actually determines who is a ‘friend’ or an ally. According to Webster’s, an ally is someone who is “joined with another for a common purpose.” It is reasonable therefore for both UKDPC and DBC to claim they are allies, but what are we supposed to understand by this term ‘common purpose’? In UKDPC’s statement they assert:

We cannot turn organisations away from the Hardest
Hit Alliance as long as they are prepared to fight the fightwith us and sign up to our leadership and mission of this
particular campaign. (emphasis added – BWF)

Again, these are fine words but, why is it so hard to take them seriously? At no time have DPAC questioned the view that the big disability charities are opposed to cuts aimed at disabled people, but this is not the same as accepting that idea that these charities share the same agenda as the majority of DPOs. DPAC sees no evidence to suggest that DBC is taking its leadership from UKDPC; as I have already stated, this remains a concern and a criticism of UKDPC’s role. There is however clear evidence to show that some charities have priorities which place certain disabled people’s interests (and in doing so, their own interests) above those of other disabled people. In addition, there are times when the criticism levelled at the cuts or reforms by particular charities are couched in terms which accept at least in part the ideological agenda being forwarded by the Government.

Call us cynical, but this again has echoes of the early 1990s and Rights Now, therefore we can’t help but question whether or not there is a possibility that some of the forces within the Hardest Hit alliance have their own hidden agendas. Are some charities using it as a bargaining ploy; we ask this because as things stand, along with the bankers, particular charities and third sector organisations could end up benefiting from the Government’s restructuring of the State.

The Disabled People’s Movement has campaigned for many years to obtain independent living for disabled people and DPAC believes Government policy is undermining disabled people’s ability to achieve or maintain independent living. Against this backdrop we can’t help but note that LCD makes a vast amount of money from ‘social care’. This area of service provision is their biggest earner as shown by the increase in revenue (8%) for the 2009/2010 year. Elsewhere on our website DPAC has written about the proposed change from DLA to PIP and how this will impact right across sections of the disabled community. We oppose the Government removing the mobility element from disabled people in residential care, however we believe this move has been aided by oppressive and questionable practices within residential care management. We pour scorn on Cameron’s claim that, “we’re all in this together”, but how should we interpret the decision of disability charities such as LCD to create a specific campaign around the residential care mobility issue? Just looking after their clients best interests?

For DPAC, being an ally should mean more than sharing a common purpose; disabled people are subjected to social oppression, therefore we want to work with people who want to further disabled people’s collective interests as well as their own. We would subscribe to this definition used by a section of the LGBT community: “An ally is someone who works as an advocate for an oppressed population to which he or she may or may not belong.” Given the historical social relationships between disabled people and major disability charities, many disabled people remain distrustful of these charities motives and use of power.

Rightly or wrongly, there is a body of opinion among disabled activists that holds the view that a leopard doesn’t change its spots by stealing another animal’s skin or by imitating its victims. If charities are changing and will work in true partnership with disabled people and their organisations, then it would be counter productive to stand in the way of progress. However as things currently stand the promised ‘cultural shift’ and changes in practice are hard to notice and in some cases are clearly ‘masks’ to hide the traditional roles charities play in disabled people’s lives.

The Fight Goes On

Disabled People Against Cuts only exists to protect the interests of disabled people against unjust and damaging policies and practices arising from the present and the previous government’s actions. As our own mission statement said:

We welcome all to join us in fighting for justice and human rights for all disabled people.

We attended the UKDPC meeting to see if members of DBC were serious in their commitment to ‘fighting for justice and human rights for all disabled people’ – we would’ve supported the Hardest Hit campaign if this commitment had been visible; instead, they have elected to work with an agent of disabled people’s social oppression and in so doing forced DPAC’s hand. From our perspective our non-involvement in the Hardest Hit campaign will be judged not by what we or others say about the decision we took, it will be judged by our ability to continue the fight against the cuts and to work tirelessly to assist in the creation of meaningful and principled alliances involving disabled and non-disabled people. DPAC took no pleasure or comfort in our withdrawal and we don’t consider ourselves to have staked a claim to the moral high ground. We took the decision did because each and every one of us believes it was the right thing to do in order to best further the interests of our community.

http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=16036

—-Bob Williams-Findlay

Apr 122011
 
Protest against Benefit Cuts:2pm, Thursday 14th April 2011 at Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne called by Disabled People Against Cuts North East and Tyneside Claimants Union
Everyone welcome!

From http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/ :

The 3rd National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts has been called for April 14th 2011.
Millions are set to be affected by savage cuts to housing, disability, sickness and welfare benefits. People with disabilities, illness, the unemployed, single parents, carers, the low waged, part time students, volunteers, homeless people and college students are all likely to see a devastating drop in disposable income with many slipping even further below the poverty line.

The poorest and most vulnerable are being asked to pay for the mistakes and extravagances of the richest. Meanwhile poverty pimps like Atos Origin and A4e are set to rake in hundreds of millions on government contracts to bully and intimidate people from claiming the pittance handed out in benefit payments. Many disabled people have threatened suicide if these cuts are allowed to continue. Some have tragically already carried out that threat.

The first two days of protest against benefit cuts have seen demonstrations, meetings, unemployed discos, public pantomimes and occupations in cities across the UK. Atos Origin have been forced to close offices, protesters have gathered inside and outside workfare sharks A4e and demonstrations have taken place from Downing Street to local town centres such as Lydney and Crawley.

We are fighting for our homes, our livelihoods, our very survival. It’s time to show these public school parasites and their poverty pimp collaborators we mean business.
Apr 112011
 

This is an urgent call for ACTION in solidarity from the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

From tomorrow until Wednesday ATOS Origin ‘Healthcare’ Ltd. – the notorious organisation that is involved in disability denial as sub-contractors of the unjust “Work Capability Assessment” on behalf of the DWP will be having a stall at the Royal College of Nursing exhibition in Liverpool.

ATOS are about to re-assess 1.25 million sick and disabled citizens and this will result in hundreds of thousands of people being denied their incapacity benefits. 40% of appeals to Tribunal are accepted without representation, 70% among those who are represented.

We disabled people of Britain are staring into a precipice. We are about to fall into it. Many will not live to come through the other side of it as they will die of neglect and suicide. THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE.

The grassroots disabled people’s protest movement in Liverpool has yet to take shape. For this reason we are appealing to you, and through you UK UNCUT Liverpool (following your magnificent direct action against BBC Merseyside) and all other people of goodwill who are active on Merseyside, to take direct action against these savages who are perpetrators of the most despicable and greatest injustices in Britain today.

Please contact us immediately for any further details and to let us know if you will help:

blacktrianglecampaign@hotmail.com

John McArdle Tel. 0777 831 6875

—-Sasha Callaghan

Apr 092011
 

Thursday 14th April is the next day of action against welfare cuts. In Islington there will be a protest at 8.30am to 9.30am outside the Atos Healthcare assessment centre at 1 Elthorne Road, just off Holloway Road, 2 minutes walk south from Archway tube.

This private company gets paid millions to carry out dubious medical assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which is replacing Incapacity Benefit.

Later on the same day there will be a protest outside The Daily Mail at 2pm on their defamation of benefits claimants; their head office is on Young Street, off Kensington High St. And at 5pm to 9pm there will be a food giveaway outside Westminster City Hall to protest the banning of soup runs – see http://www.dpac.uk.net/2011/04/day-of-action-14th-april-3rd-national-day-of-protest-against-cuts/

All benefit claimants and supporters are welcome. Bring music, drums, whistles, placards and maybe even some breakfast to share!

Please help spread the word, invite your friends and join us!

Stop the attacks on benefit claimants! Stop the cuts!

More info:

This is part of a National Day of Protest Against Benefits Cuts, with groups up and down the country demonstrating against savage cuts to disability, housing, sickness and welfare benefits: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2011/03/3rd-national-day-of-protest-against-benefit-cutsapril-14th/

See also
non-facebook details of troll a tory and the two London events are both on there

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/protest-outside-the-daily-mail-stop-the-defamation-stop-the-lies/

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/national-troll-a-tory-day-3-and-rat-on-a-rat/

http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/protest-outside-westminster-city-hall-mass-food-give-away/

Atos Healthcare has been awarded a £300 million contract by the government to carry out ‘work capability assessments’.

It’s claimed that assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.

This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GPs are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos’s computer.

Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance mean this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

Apr 082011
 

According to John Pring’s report on the TUC 26 March rally, many disabled people were there ‘

to protest against cuts to disability benefits and other aspects of the government’s welfare reforms, while others were angry about the impact on inclusive education, and cuts to local services and support.

Peter Purton, the TUC’s disability policy officer, said disabled people were the “worst affected” by the cuts, including disability benefit reforms, the loss of public sector jobs, and cuts to legal aid. He said he was “delighted” that so many disability groups had taken part in the protest.

The Labour MP Dame Anne Begg said she had taken part in the protest to show “solidarity” and that “there is an alternative and we know that the priorities of this government are wrong”.

She said:

“It seems to me that those who have least seem to be losing the most and that is simply not fair. Disabled people in particular feel very strongly because they seem to be in the forefront of many of the cuts.”

Criticisms were made of the TUC’s access arrangements, with some complaining that they had had to fight through crowds to reach the allocated “safe space” for disabled people near the front of the march.

The TUC had also said that the disabled people at the front would be able to set their own pace, but they were soon swamped and separated from each other by thousands of marchers who overtook them soon after the march began.

A TUC spokeswoman said it had made “extensive efforts” to make the event as accessible as possible, but was now carrying out an assessment of the access arrangements.

She said:

“We would not pretend that everything was perfect or could not be improved, but we are pretty sure that this was the most accessible demonstration of its size ever organised in London.”

She added: “Some reported issues were simply due to the greater than expected numbers.”

That might be true but we hope that this assessment means that they will be improved in the future. We are not convinced that the stewards were briefed enough to afford the right access to disabled people. Hopefully they will give more training to stewards in the future especially if they want disabled people to continue being able to take part in marches of this kind.

There was some disappointment that the Labour leader Ed Miliband failed to mention disabled people in his speech in Hyde Park, even though he mentioned maternity services, Sure Start centres, small business owners, teachers, students, “families struggling to get by”, libraries, Citizens Advice Bureaux, community centres and the NHS.

His spokeswoman said later that other groups had also not been mentioned, and that Miliband had raised the government’s plans to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from people in residential care at that week’s prime minister’s questions.

She said:

“It is an issue he cares about and it is an issue the Labour Party cares about. He is actually aware of the deep concerns and anxieties that disabled people have about the effect of the cuts.”

As disabled people who bears the deepest impact of the cuts on our individual and collective lives we should hope he is more than ‘actually aware’ and that it is not mere ‘deep concerns and anxieties’ but actually feeling the effect of the cuts and drawing blood – that those cuts have taken the toll of a few lives already.

The report also mentioned DPAC’s online protest (which received more than a quarter of a million views) for those unable to attend the march or rally saw an estimated 200 people email messages of support, which were “pinned” to an online map of the UK.

—Eleanor Lisney

Apr 082011
 
DEMONSTRATE FOR AN ALTERNATIVE – PCS – Standing up for public services
Assemble: Outside the Civil Service Live Event
Birmingham International Convention Centre
Birmingham B1 2EA

Friday 15th April 9:00am
Francis Maude Minister for civil service and Sir Gus O’Donnell, permanent secretary of the cabinet office will be attending the event to outline the future

Apr 072011
 

with thanks to Pete Riches

Roger Lewis (Disabled People Against Cuts) : P4058523

Roger Lewis Lambeth DPAC

Following the highly successful T.U.C. “March for the Alternative” march in London last weekend which saw over half a million Trade unionists, Public Services workers, anti-cuts campaigners, disability rights campaigners, students and many other supporters, the Right To Work Campaign held a local strategy and planning meeting in London’s Conway Hall.

Hearing first from John McDonnell MP, there followed inspirational speeches and ideas from a wide range of speakers who (though all appearing in a personal capacity) represented striking teachers, Unite Union, the campaign to save the Philosophy Dept at University of Greenwich, Mental health nurses, Camden Against Cuts, St. George’s Hospital, Queers Against the Cuts, Unison and UCU. Roger Lewis of the Lambeth Disabled People Against Cuts spoke for DPAC.

Though the media preferred to focus on the small pockets of trouble makers later on in the day the march was a huge triumph, and served not only as a massive public statement on David Cameron’s public sector cuts, but also served as a clarion call of national unity to public sector workers and rights campaigners from all over the country. Starved of proper media support, the march gave everyone their first palpable sense of how many people are being affected by the cruel cuts, and it also let everyone know that they are not alone in this.

Tonight’s public meeting was just the first in many direct action and possible strike action strategy and planning meetings for those whose very livelihoods are directly threatened by the ideologues driving Con-Dem policy.

Full set of photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/peteriches/sets/72157626320412651/with/5596329063/

Apr 072011
 
ITV Chris Choi

ITV Chris Choi

Report on ITV news  – by Chris Choi Britain living under the cuts

Watch http://www.itv.com/news/thecuts/your-story/

We want to hear how cuts to public services are affecting you or your family. You can tell us by emailing yourstory@itv.com.

Disabled hit by cuts

The pain of the cuts the government says are necessary to keep us solvent are being felt by people across the country.

And ITV News has learnt how disabled people are paying an especially high price.

A report published tomorrow shows that the fees councils charge for care in England have shot up:

Hourly rates have increased by as much as 78%.

Half of local authorites have removed caps to the maximum amount they can charge for homecare.

And 80% of councils say they will no longer support disabled people with with moderate needs.

Please feed your stories to a database at the Guardian too –

We are seeking to establish a team of volunteer “cuts-watchers” who will collect information on how services are being hit in a particular area or sector. We hope they will help us to build and curate a database of how the cuts are biting across the country, which will be searchable by the public and inform Guardian coverage of the spending squeeze.

Ideally, cuts-watchers will have an interest in social affairs and public services and be willing to do some research on the extent of the cuts in their area, but if you’d just like to tell us about the closure of your local swimming pool or youth club, we’d like to hear from you, too.

If you’re interested in getting involved please email us at cutswatch@guardian.co.uk. In your mail please tell us if you have any area of expertise, which part of the country you are in, and how much time, on a monthly basis, you’d be willing to devote to helping us with this project. If you have written or blogged on any related subjects, please do send us links. We’ll get back to you soon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/25/public-sector-cuts-track-the-cuts

Apr 042011
 
Right to Work public meeting on After 26 March –Building the Fightback

Tuesday 5th April, 7.30pm, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
Speakers: John McDonnell MP, striking Camden & Tower Hamlets teachers, Tower Hamlets council workers & UCU lecturers.
Roger Lewis of Lambeth DPAC will be speaking for us.

The aim is to build support for the strikes taking place and to have a discussion on how to build for strike action where you are

Apr 042011
 

The 3rd National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts has been called for April 14th 2011. …..BE THERE!

from http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/

Brighton

Thursday April 14th 2-5pm

Churchill Square Brighton

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=210782635605158

Bristol

Thursday April 14 · 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Benefit Cuts Hurt Protest – 3rd National Day of Protest

Government Buildings, Flowers Hill, Bristol, BS4 5LA

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=199413500079998

Leeds

Thursday, April 14 · 10:30am – 2:00pm

Meeting @ Leeds Train Station 10am before moving to picket ATOS from 10:30 for an hour then move onto A4e/BEST for a couple of hours. The last picket was a great success and we hope to have another good day. Bring banners, flags etc.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155593464493862&

London

Thursday, April 14 – 2pm
Protest Outside The Daily Mail – Stop the Defamation – Stop the Lies

Daily Mail Headquarters, Young Street (off Kensington High Street), London W8 5TT

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=161556473898500&

Protest Outside Westminster City Hall & Mass Food Give Away!

Thursday, April 14 · 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186039361439862

Poole

Outside the Jobcentre at noon. Everyone welcome!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=161332900587762

Everywhere

National Troll A Tory Day 3 and Rat On A Rat!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=173026406078054

If you are planning an event in your town or city please add details in the comments below to be added to this page and the facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164277070288955

You can also send details to notowelfarecuts@yahoo.co.uk

If you would like to see action locally, set up a group, event page or ask below. We will do out best to promote and co-ordinate all activity.

We are fighting for our homes, our livelihoods, our very survival. It’s time to show these public school parasites and their poverty pimp collaborators we mean business.

Apr 032011
 

The Museum of London is collecting placards and flags used by protesters from 26th March. Protesters are being asked to bring more memorabilia for the museum’s collection on 2nd April.

Organiser Guy Atkins said the idea was to give demonstrators the chance to influence how history remembers them.

The Museum of London’s chief curator, Dr Cathy Ross, said there would eventually be an exhibition showcasing the collection.

“The signs are quite individual, not just standard slogans,” she said.

“We think it was good that the people on the march decide what we collect.”

News source at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12921158

It was suggested to us that disabled people should also add their placards to the collection – so those of you who still hung on to their placards please try to get it to the Museum. You might want to ring up beforehand if they are still collecting.

Museum of London

150 London Wall
London EC2Y 5HN

tel: 020 7001 9844
fax: 020 7600 1058
email: info@museumoflondon.org.uk

DPAC Placards at Hyde Park

DPAC Placards at Hyde Park

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