Sep 082014
 

Tory welfare reform is in crisis. Last week 70 Conservative MPs ignored a three line whip and stayed away from Westminster for the vote on Andrew George’s bedroom tax bill. Protests have beaten back government attacks on benefits but we need to keep fighting to see off the hated bedroom tax once and for all and to stand up against sanctions, which remain a vicious plank in the government’s punitive policies, whose use is rocketing and which are still supported by Labour in Parliament.

Join protests happening in the areas below or hold your own. Send pictures and updates to benefitjustice@gmail.com and/or mail@dpac.uk.net.

 

Barnet

9.00am: Jobcentre Granta House 1 Western Rd London N22 6UH. Go to Barnet Housing Action Group on facebook for more information.

 

Birmingham

12 noon: Broad Street Job Centre, Centennial House,100 Broad St, B15 1AU.

1.15pm: Centenary Square, Broad Street.

Sandk123456@aol.com

 

Huddersfield

12 noon: Upper Head Row, Huddersfield, HD1 2JL. (near main entrance to bus station) juneholmes@btopenworld.com

 

Leeds

12 – 2pm: Street meeting on benefits and sanctions: Briggate, LS1 6JX (near the Body Shop). ellenrobottom@hotmail.com

 

London

11am Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY
and 1pm DWP HQ Tothill St SW1
(Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign will be meeting 10.30am outside Metropolitan Tabernacle opposite Elephant and Castle tube station to go up to Parliament)
Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Gig: Starring: THE WICKED VENETIANS + PARVA HINTON + SEBASTIAN MELMOTH + MYLAS: New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Road London SE14 6AS: http://newcrossinn.com/?p=1&m=09&y=2014

Milton Keynes

12 noon – 1pm outside Milton Keynes Jobcentre Plus, Midsummer Blvd, MK9 3BN. E.kate.hunter@googlemail.com

 

FRIDAY 12th SEPTEMBER

 

Brighton

11am: Brighton station forecourt: brightonbenefitscampaign@gmail.com
Witney

Paupers Picnic outside David Cameron’s Witney Conservatives event at Witney Lakes with tax-dodging, expenses-grabbing MP Nadim Zahawi. Coaches leave Oxford at 5.30pm. For more info contact: mail:dpac.uk.net

Aug 262014
 

Thursday 11th September 2014

End Bedroom Tax; No Sanctions for Claimants – No Targets for Staff

On 11th September the Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Campaign is holding a day of protest: say no to claimant sanctions, bedroom tax and benefit cuts

Government attacks on benefits mean hunger, debt and fear. Ex-soldier David Clapson died hungry and destitute after his benefits were stopped, the latest in a string of deaths and suicides related to sanctions and benefit cuts.  The overwhelming majority of referrals to food banks are due to  claimants being sanctioned.

Sanctions cutting benefits of disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance, rose by nearly 580 percent between March 2013 and March 2014, and total sanctions rose to over a million last year, from 100,000 in 2010 (DWP figures).
PCS union is supporting the 11 September protests.  Research by PCS members working in the DWP revealed that 82% of members felt ‘pressured’ into sanctioning claimants, and 62% said they had made ‘inappropriate’ sanctions decisions.Protests have forced Government to promise changes: see Review report. But sanctions remain a vicious plank of the Government’s punitive welfare reforms, and are still supported by Labour in parliament.

Join us on one of protests below or organise your own.  Demand an end to the Bedroom Tax and link it to the slogan: ‘No sanctions for claimants, No targets for staff’. Build links with local PCS members – contacts for local PCS in DWP and PCS regions.The Bedroom Tax is almost dead – we will demand MPs kill it now  and up the pressure to beat the sanctions regime too. Let us know any actions you are planning so we can promote them.

End Sanctions, Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts11am Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY
and 1pm DWP HQ Tothill St SW1

Other protests planned in
Leeds, Sheffield, Oxford, Manchester/Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow


Aug 182014
 

We’re currently producing a brochure for campaigning work and wanted to include a few examples of how each cut has affected disabled people. We already have examples for most things but if you have been affected by the bedroom tax, council tax reduction changes, or the overall benefit cap, cuts to social care or increased charges for care could you please send us a short email about what has happened to you and how this has affected you to mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Many thanks for help with this.

Linda

 Posted by at 21:01
Aug 162014
 

 

(Report from workshop at national meeting of Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice federation)

Fighting Benefit Sanctions

 

The government has a policy  of increasing sanctions to force people off benefits. 

 

More than 800,000 people have been sanctioned in the last year. Referrals to food banks are mainly due to claimants being sanctioned. 

 

Martin Cavanagh is the PCS Group Exec member for civil servants working in the DWP.  The PCS union resolved at their recent conference to oppose both Workfare and Benefit Sanctions. He explained the three central reasons behind the Tories policy of increasing sanctions; Further demonisation of the poor, financial savings for the government, and driving a wedge between claimants and workers. 

 

PCS survey of members working in the DWP revealed that 82% of members felt ‘pressured’ into sanctioning claimants, and 62% said they had made ‘inappropriate’ sanctions decisions. 

 sanctions

The Kirklees Axe The Tax group have used a banner : No Sanction for Claimants! No Targets for Staff! This attracted claimants and some staff to their stall outside a job centre.

 

Roger Lewis speaking for DPAC said that ‘more needed to be done by the PCS.’ But, he insisted, ‘we will not allow the government to divide us. Those working for the DWP alongside claimants have a common interest, we are locked together in a common fight against the Tories.’ 

 

‘More will be done from our union the PCS over the sanctions,’ explained Martin. 

 

‘Advice for claimants on how to challenge sanction decisions has now been agreed between our union, the PCS, Unite the Union Community branches, and campaigners against sanctions. That advice will be issued shortly.’

 

Research has shown that only 1 in 50 claimants who are sanctioned appeal the decision. Of those 90% win their appeal. Forthcoming advice will explain to claimants how they can appeal. 

 

To launch the joint advice and joint campaign, we agreed a day of action against benefit sanctions for Thursday 11th September. 

 

Protests will be organised in every region outside key DWP headquarters or similar high profile government offices.

Fighting Workfare

Public campaigns work! 

 

With just a few protesters the Boycott Workfare actions have ‘shamed’ many employers into withdrawing from the Workfare scheme. Companies and businesses don’t want to be exposed as employing ‘slave’ labour. Only when a company signs up to the Boycott Workfare pledge are they removed for the Boycott Workfare website listing. 

 

Protests outside flagship venues of those companies still in the scheme will continue until the schemes are scrapped.

 

Reblogged with thanks from http://antibedroomtax.org.uk/2013-05-29-04-42-41/latest-news/110-stop-sanctions-11th-sept-day-of-action

 

 

Aug 092014
 

 

Disabled people have been expressing their disquiet at the news that the Independent Living Fund (ILF) will cease to exist in 2015, and that the money will be transferred to Local Authorities. To date, out of the 153 surveyed Local Authorities and from 106 responses, only 10 Local Authorities have said they will ringfence the transferred funds to ILF recipients, which means that in all other areas, ILF recipients face a potential reduction of their care packages. How is it likely to happen?

An interesting article was published this morning by Joe Halewood (@SpeyeJoe): http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/dhp-dubious-hoodwinking-practices-or-how-ids-pulled-the-woolsack-over-the-courts-eyes/

which shows that 16% (UK average) of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) allocated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to Local Authorities to mitigate the impacts of welfare reforms, and specifically of the infamous bedroom tax have been awards unrelated to welfare reforms. See Table 5 and 6 here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322455/use-of-discretionary-housing-payments-june-2014.pdf

It would be interesting to know what the money was spent on, but more to the point, DWP has twice relied on the DHP argument to win a legal case against claimants challenging the bedroom tax policy, and although DWP’s spokesperson said that the government has put in £345m to mitigate the bedroom tax, the figures shown in the Table 5 and 6 not only disprove this but also show that out of the money disbursed, 16% of the allocated funds have been used for awards totally unrelated to welfare reforms. This shows that disabled people are right to be worried about the future of the transferred ILF funds and about the willingness or unwillingness of Local Authorities to allocate these funds to disabled people who have been assessed as having the greatest needs. The ILF should be retained until assurance is given that these people will not see a reduction in their care packages.

 

 

Apr 272014
 

Please support Obi and team to continue live-streaming direct actions and events for #dpac, #ukuncut and others. Live-streaming is important for disabled people that cannot always get to events and protests because none of us should be left out of our fight for our rights

It is also important in these times ruled by the right-wing press to get a record of our news and events-its time to fight back and ensure that our voices and protests are heard, recorded, documented and visualised -live-streaming does that- lets support it to continue the  real and uncensored news is seen and heard! Please donate if you can at http://www.gofundme.com/8nzi68

see some of the events live streamed for DPAC

JohnMcDonnell MP Praises DPAC at DPAC conference April 2014

August 5, 2012 Akira: update on ATOS. Paralympics sponsor

August 29, 2012 #ATOS #REMPLOY #ParaOlympics #2012 #Protest by previous gold medal winners

August 31, 2012 #ONN #OLSX covering anti #ATOS #ATOSkills #dpac event at Triton Square, Camden

October 28, 2012 Akira and experiencing Public Transport for a Wheelchair user.

September 3, 2013 DPAC AND BLACK TRIANGLE DIRECT ACTION. BBC PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON

September 5, 2013 DPAC FREEDOM DRIVE.

June 4, 2013 DPAC Bromley Benefit Justice second Meeting

September 26, 2013 10,000 Cuts and Counting

October 5, 2013 SOLIDARITY ACTION WITH UKUNCUT AND DPAC #ROADBLOCKS4JUSTICE

Oct 20, 2013 The DPAC action in Marble Arch . TUC March 2012.

September 28, 2013 DPAC DIRECT ACTION: 10,000 CUTS AND COUNTING. SCRAP ATOS

@Obi_Live
@OccupyNN

https://twitter.com/Obi_Live
https://twitter.com/OccupyTTIP
occupylondon@lists.riseup.net

 

Apr 212014
 

DPAC would like to thank everyone for making last week’s (April 12 2014) National Conference such a huge success. There was a huge turnout with over 150 disabled activists from all over the UK including many new DPAC members attending, but just as important there were hundreds of members and supporters beyond the venue taking part through social media – watching the video live-stream, tweeting and sharing comments, views and sending messages of support. This was fantastic work by everyone and a truly inspiring collective effort.

DSC_1030 con

Here’s a brief outline of how it went.

Programme
The day was timetabled into sections beginning with practical reports and voting on policy motions. This was followed by two workshop sessions and then a closing session for everyone to feedback on the day. Four workshops were available to choose from in each Workshop session. Detailed reports on these will follow later.

John McDonnell MP, a longstanding friend and supporter of DPAC, gave a rousing opening speech to encourage everyone and remind us of the victories achieved so far. He congratulated disabled people and DPAC for fighting back, along with our sister organisation Black Triangle and WoW Petition initiators

As he finished he mentioned his own recent health condition which he said he felt brought him closer to our movement. Ellen reacted quickly by giving him a DPAC t-shirt and declaring him a full DPAC member to instant applause and cheers.

photo1jm tshirt

Finances
The Finance Report showed a healthy state of affairs for the time being thanks to individual donations, t-shirt and badge sales plus grants from the Edge Fund, the Network for Social Change, Trust for London  and the Andrew Wainwright Trust. More fund-raising is necessary going forward.

Motions
1. Government Honours
This proposed that any future candidates for the DPAC Steering Group could thwart the network and collective ethos of DPAC if they had received a national honour like an OBE or MBE. The ‘BE’ refers to the imperialist British Empire which is still celebrated despite what we know of the suffering and oppression this caused. The motion conversations also suggested that any media attention would be focused on those with honours and titles, rather than on the collective network ethos that DPAC ascribes to. The motion was put forward as a rejecting of this possibility and that of the honours system more generally. This was defeated.

2. Discrimination
This motion stated DPAC opposition to discrimination on the grounds of gender, sexuality, age, faith, disability, ethnicity or status. It also empowered the Steering Group to terminate the membership of anyone who supported a party which holds discriminatory policies, like UKIP. This motion passed based on an appeals process being put in place

3. Steering Group Size
This motion sought to expand the Steering Group from 8 members to 12 in order to respond to increased activity and maintain a broad, diverse and inclusive profile. This was passed.

Steering Group
There were 11 nominees for the Steering Group. Conference took a vote on whether to vote for accepting all 11 nominees, or vote for them one by one. Conference voted to accept all 11 nominees. The new steering group are currently reviewing co-opted places and will get back to the additional people that applied past the deadline as soon as possible

Steering Group:
Andy Greene
Bob Ellard
Ciara Doyle
Conan Doyle
Debbie Jolly
Eleanor Firman
Ellen Clifford
Linda Burnip
Paula Peters
Roger Lewis
Sabina Lahur

It was highlighted that the working groups are important in taking DPAC forward. The co-chair said she hoped those who did not stand for the Steering Group but were still interested in getting involved would join these as soon as possible.

Finally, a big thank you to the Conference Organising group and Workshop leaders who worked so hard to make this wonderful event a reality.

Links to videos from the day are here with thanks to Occupy for live streaming on the day to make the conference inclusive to all are here

Links to pictures can be found on DPAC flicker here
Thanks to Pete Riches, Szucs Gabriella and Rob Peters

The powerpoint on highlights of the last year can be found DPAC Report
A link to 2013 and some of the things DPAC did is here

See you on the streets!

DPAC www.dpac.uk.net
Twitter: Dis_ppl_protest
Also find us on Facebook with a group and open page under ‘Disabled People against Cuts’

contact: mail@dpac.uk.net

 

Apr 072014
 

DPAC_coloured_Logo_2__biggerWe are very much looking forward to seeing everyone who can come to our national conference on Saturday but it is also important that those of you who can’t get there in person are able to take part. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Send messages of support and your ideas for what DPAC should focus on over the next year to mail@dpac.uk.net or @dis_ppl_protest.These will be put up on the graffiti wall at the conference and included in the notes from the day.
  • Watch the conference live on:

http://bambuser.com/channel/OccupyLondon and http://bambuser.com/channel/DPAC

  • Live tweet your questions and contributions to @dis_ppl_protest

  Or email: mail@dpac.uk.net

 The program for the day is at DPAC Conference 2014 Saturday 12th April – Conference Programme

Mar 312014
 

Bedroom Tax demo in Swindon in conjunction with the  Swindon Tenants Campaign Group, on 5th April as part of a national campaign.

At the fountain, Canal Walk, Swindon Town Centre

10.30 am on April 5th

We will have leaflets to distribute and banners.

We also have a project collecting peoples stories about ATOS injustice in Swindon. We will be arranging a meeting with our MPs to present our concerns. People can join the face book group or email SPA  peoplesassemblyswindon@gmx.co.uk or phone 01793 522824 if they would like to be a part of this. All information will be treated with strict confidentiality.

https://www.facebook.com/SwindonAtosProject?ref=ts&fref=ts

 Posted by at 17:44
Mar 282014
 

DPAC supports the organisers of phase 2 of demos against ATOS and DWP.

Please see national Face book page for those organising in your area

https://www.facebook.com/ATOSNationalDemo?fref=ts

ATOS may have run away from the WCA contract, but they have plenty more contracts funded by public money from this unelected Government, including the disastrous PIP contract, in which people have been waiting for up to 10-12 months to obtain support. The DWP continue to oversee the round of cuts impacting on disabled people leaving them destitute or dead, sanctions are at an all time high.

Show them we’ve had enough-see you there…..

 

Feb 202014
 

Bedroom tax appeal judgment

Vigil outside Royal Courts of Justice: 9.15am Friday 21 February

Disabled people and supporters will gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday morning as the Court of Appeal delivers its judgment in the ‘bedroom tax’ legal challenge.

Under new Housing Benefit rules introduced in 1 April 2013, persons deemed to have 1 spare bedroom have had their housing benefit reduced by 14% and persons deemed to have 2, or more, spare bedrooms have had their housing benefit reduced by 25%. This bedroom tax or ‘removal of spare room subsidy’ as the government prefers to call it, has had a devastating impact with two thirds of those households affected containing a disabled person.

Last year 10 claimants represented by 3 law firms, argued the new rules discriminate against disabled people. In July 2013 the High Court accepted that they are discriminatory, however decided that the discrimination was justified and therefore lawful in cases concerning disabled adults, although not in cases of disabled children unable to share a bedroom because of their impairments.

Lawyers for disabled adults went to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the discriminatory impact of the measure on disabled people cannot be justified and is unlawful. Lawyers for disabled children and their families also appealed the earlier ruling because the Government has failed to provide a date by which it will implement the high court judgment meanwhile despite the judgement families with disabled children who cannot share rooms because of their impairments are still subject to the bedroom tax.

Evidence of the injustice of the bedroom tax is widespread with families falling into arrears and at threat of eviction. A report by the Papworth trust found that 1 in 3 disabled people hit by the bedroom tax have been refused the Discretionary Housing Payment so far and of those, 9 in 10 disabled people are cutting back on food or bills. There has been at least one suicide as a direct consequence of the distress caused by the new Housing Benefit regulations.

Grassroots campaigns have presented consistent opposition to the hated tax. In April last year a group of disabled activists and supporters from DPAC and UKUncut travelled to Iain Duncan Smith’s mansion in Buckinghamshire to present an under-occupation eviction notice and enjoy an uninvited picnic in his extensive grounds. There have been a series of legal rulings highlighting the unfairness of this poorly thought out and unworkable measure.

We say that no one should have to move and the answer is to build more social housing. A legal victory against this rotten policy would highlight how unworkable and unfair the government’s so-called welfare reforms really are.

The vigil has been called by the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation and Disabled People Against Cuts.

The judgment is due to be given in court room 72 at 9.55am.

 

 

Notes for editors

1) Two thirds of the people affected by the bedroom tax nationally (around 420,000 out of 660,000) are disabled people

2) The challenge against the government was brought by 10 families through a three day hearing from 15 to 18 May: http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/May-2013/Bedroom-Tax-Challenge-at-the-High-Court-(1)

3) Aragon Housing published a report on the first 100 days of the bedroom tax that evidences the disproportionate impact on disabled people as many other issues that make it unworkable

4)  In December it emerged that a loophole had been identified whereby anyone receiving Housing Benefit continuously since before 1996 should be exempt and in January the government had to publish official guidance acknowledging this. A recent Upper Tribunal ruling that defined the term ‘bedroom’ using the plain dictionary meaning also implications for implementation of the bedroom tax.

http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/regulation/full-details-of-first-bedroom-tax-tribunal-rulings/6528701.article?PageNo=1&PageSize=50

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/changes_to_housing_benefit/bedroom_tax_loophole

http://www.innertemplelibrary.com/2014/01/upper-tribunal-on-bedrooms-nearlylegal/

5) Disabled People Against Cuts is a national campaign led by disabled people, set up to oppose the government’s attacks being carried out in the name of welfare reform. For more information see http://www.dpac.uk.net

6) The Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation is a federation of anti bedroom tax and benefit justice campaigns across England and Wales. We were formed in May 2013 shortly after the launch of the Scotland Anti Bedroom Tax Federation. For more information see: http://www.antibedroomtax.org.uk

 

 

 Posted by at 12:34
Feb 112014
 
bromley DPAC will be presenting the bedroom tax to bromley council on Monday 24th February 2014 at bromley council full budget meeting at 7 pm. This meeting will also announce the next round of cuts that will affect Bromley residents.
Meeting takes place. Bromley Civic Centre
Stockwell close
Bromley, Kent BR1 3UH.
Main council chamber.
nearest train station is Bromley South…(disabled access is availlable for wheelchair users or people with mobililty issues)
Buses 61,208.161, 358, 126 all go to the stop opposite the civic centre..

 

 Posted by at 20:11
Feb 032014
 

The UN Raquel Rolnik ‘s report is now out -she calls for an immediate suspension of the bedroom tax and for it to be fully evaluated in light of evidence of its negative impacts

The section on disabled people and those with long term health conditions lists the retrogression of rights and especially the impact on article 19 is copied below

1.   The plight of persons with disabilities deeply touched the Special Rapporteur. She learned from their strength and welcomed their active engagement in discussing adequate housing from their perspective, and in sharing their testimonies.

2.   At the root of many testimonies lies the threat to a hard-won right to live independently. For persons with physical and mental disabilities, as well as for the chronically ill, adequate housing means living in homes that are adapted to specific needs; close to services, care and facilities allowing them to carry out their daily routines; and in the vicinity of friends, relatives or a community essential to leading lives in dignity and freedom. Often, the compounded impact of an acute shortage of adapted and affordable accommodation, combined with other changes to the welfare system, has left them “between a rock and a hard place”: downsizing or facing rent arrears and eviction. Many testimonies refer to anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts as a result, precisely the type of situations that should be avoided at all costs. Serious concerns about the direct impact of these reforms were already raised in 2012: “The range of reforms proposed to housing benefit, Disability Living Allowance, the Independent Living Fund, and changes to eligibility criteria risk interacting in a particularly harmful way for disabled people. … As a result, there seems to be a significant risk of retrogression of independent living and a breach of the UK’s Article 19 [CRPD] obligations.”[1] The Department for Work and Pensions has made available additional funding under the DHP scheme to assist those affected by this measure, but, as noted above, DHPs are time-bound and limited in scope.

3.   According to Inclusion Scotland, the government of Scotland estimated that 95,000 Scottish households will be affected by this measure in the first year. In Scotland, 79 per cent of the households expected to be affected (76,000) contain a disabled person. They will lose an average of 13 pounds in housing benefit. Inclusion Scotland noted with concern that persons with disabilities will be among those least able to continue to meet their rent payments.[2]

See also DPAC piece showing 87% of disabled people affected by the change to bedroom tax pre-1996 exemption

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2014/02/more-proof-disabled-people-and-family-carers-are-severely-disadvantaged-by-bedroom-tax/

 

 The full Rolnik report can be downloaded from A_HRC_25_54_Add.2_ENG



                     [1]   House of Lords and House of Commons, Joint Committee on Human Rights, Implementation of the Right of Disabled People to Independent Living (2012), para. 161.

                     [2]   Submission of Inclusion Scotland for this report.

Feb 032014
 

We are conducting an investigation into the human impact of food poverty, child poverty, payday loans, and benefit caps. Our research will form a part of a wider investigation organised by Professor of Journalism Paul Bradshaw, who is gathering information from across the UK. Our focus is on people living in Nottingham,  and are looking to bring to light issues confronting those groups who are suffering as a result of economic changes in the past three to four years.


We are looking for people to come forward with experiences particularly of using food banks in Nottingham, especially those who have started using food banks in that last few years. We are also looking for people who are payday loan customers, and who have suffered financial losses as a result of using payday loans. If anybody has also experienced financial difficulties or has felt that they have been left vulnerable following changes to the benefits system, particularly regarding benefit caps, we would very much appreciate them getting in touch.


The questions we ask will be directed at understanding the impact of these circumstances on the daily lives of people in Nottingham, and the strains that they are under with reference to any of the issues stated above. Respondents will be encouraged to speak openly about their experiences, however all responses can be kept anonymous if preferred, and we will not publish any information without the express permission of respondents.

 

Please email editorinchief@impactnottingham.com

Feb 032014
 

BREAKING: 2/3 women, 87% long-term sick or disabled and 1 in 6 carers will be affected by change to Bedroom Tax pre-1996 exemption

An article by Joe Halewood, who has been the most vocal and articulate opponent of the bedroom tax, throws light on what the changes intended by the government following the discovery of  the Bedroom Tax pre 1996 exemption will mean for the people affected. This exemption means that tenants who have been continuously entitled to Housing Benefit since at least 1 January 1996 and who have occupied the same dwelling since that date are exempt from the bedroom tax.

Joe Halewood, a Housing Consultant, has been working with Reclaim, a local grassroot organisation which in December asked pre-1996 tenants to email them with their initials and their post code.

The results for the first 250 or so households which were unlawfully hit with this pre-1996 bedroom tax are as follows:

  • Two-thirds were women
  • 87% were long-term sick or disabled
  • One in six were carers for a family member 

These are the kind of figures IDS would not want you to know and they explain why he is in such a rush to change the law.  These figures are unlikely to change as more data is gathered. Disabled people who had their homes adapted to fit their needs are not likely to move, which explains why 87% of them will be hit by a change to the pre-1996 housing rule.

It is possible to bring pressure to bear on this government and on MPs by alerting public opinion on the impact this change will have for people who are least likely to find a job to offset the cost of the bedroom tax.

Joe Halewood’s article is here:  http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/cover-your-cock-up-ids-and-no-we-wont-be-on-our-knees/

 

 

 Posted by at 13:42
Jan 232014
 

Caroline Murphy

22nd January:  This is day three of the Court of Appeal hearing against the bedroom tax. Monday morning began with a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice, supported by Disabled People against  Cuts (DPAC)WinVisibleTaxpayers Against Poverty, Camden Association of Street Properties, the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation and others.

The Appeal concerns with discrimination against disabled people, a group disproportionately affected by the bedroom tax. Two thirds of all those hit by this iniquitous tax are disabled. Imagine for a moment that your life depends upon having ready access to cumbersome medical equipment or supplies. If you have the temerity to store them all in a small bedroom … tough. You get taxed. You should have someone living there.

If you’re facing mental health issues, changing your environment, or having personal boundaries invaded can trigger painful symptoms. But if you have that spare bedroom, you have to take in a lodger, or you have to pay the tax. It’s about as conclusive a “lose-lose” you could hope to impose on anyone.

One example given was of a mentally unwell resident whose home was filled with paperwork he had accumulated & stored over years. Was his home in an acceptable state to take in another resident?

Meanwhile, more evidence is emerging about how disabled people are plugging the holes that have opened up in their domestic budgets as a result of the bedroom tax. Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) for adults are intended to be used for specialist care & mobility support. Now they’re going on necessities.

Check out these figures from the National Housing Federation.
In a survey of disabled people denied local authority support to replace the money lost through the bedroom tax, nearly 40% had cut back on specialist mobility transport; over 25% had cut back on medical expenses; and 90% had decreased their spending on food.

Exemption from bedroom tax has been won for disabled children already. Now that exemption should be extended to disabled adults. And then it should be abolished entirely.”

 with thanks to Caroline
http://iamcarolinemurphy.tumblr.com

Caroline is on twitter: @_C_Murphy

Jan 162014
 

Bedroom Tax Appeal

Vigil – Monday 20th January, 9.30am, outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Disabled people and our supporters will hold a vigil outside the high courts to mark the start of a three day appeal hearing looking to overturn the judgment handed down in July 2013 that found the government can lawfully discriminate against disabled people through implementation of the bedroom tax.

Monday’s legal challenge focuses on discrimination against disabled people, who make up two thirds of those affected – exemption for disabled children was recently won. Other challenges brought against the discriminatory nature of the policy, by separated parents with shared care of children, and mothers fleeing domestic violence in housing with security measures, are on hold behind this case and could be affected by the result, so it’s even more important for everyone to show their support.

The bedroom tax is vicious and punitive. All social housing tenants should have a right to a family home for life. The longer people have to suffer the bedroom tax, the longer people are having to go without essentials like food and heating in order to try to make up the shortfall they are left with, the higher the arrears that are mounting up, and the closer we come to evictions. In November the Disability Benefits Consortium reported that 9 out of 10 disabled people and three quarters of carers affected are now having to cut back on food and heating.

Campaigners from the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation, Camden Association of Street Properties (Camden tenants), Disabled People Against Cuts, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, Taxpayers Against Poverty and WinVisible are calling the vigil in solidarity with the disabled people taking the appeal and everyone affected. It is also an important opportunity to keep the spotlight on how unfair and unworkable this policy is and to maintain pressure to axe the tax.

We invite everyone who can get to the high courts on Monday to come and show support. The media are keen to hear from disabled people who are directly affected by the bedroom tax and if you are willing to share your story please let us know.

The following Monday 27 January, the appeal against the total Benefit Cap is being heard.  Women Against Rape and Single Mothers’ Self-Defence are calling a protest against the Cap outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 9.30am.  We hope you’ll be able to support that too.

 

 

 Posted by at 18:26
Jan 122014
 

In another year of imposed austerity when the Condems voted in a 5% tax cut for all earning over £ 150, 000, another year when unpaid tax by corporations was at £95bn per year, a year that MPs paid their heating bills with our money, while we couldn’t afford to heat our homes DPAC received more emails and realities of destroyed lives under imposed austerity.

We have reproduced some of these below with all identifying elements removed. We know they don’t fit into anything that Channel 4 or the BBC would like to show as part of the media demonization propa ganda – so we rely on you to share and publicise the real demons and real impact of austerity for those that should be supported with basic necessities like food….

 

“I just got this information from a nurse friend of mine last night…….a man who has diabetics type 2 and severe copd was brought in to hospital last night…..aged 61 his esa was stopped 8 weeks ago after being found fit 2 work….. it turns out he has been eating dried corn flakes for the last 5 weeks and has no electric on for 5 weeks….. he has had no heating or even able to boil a kettle for a hot drink…..he was not even able to use his nebulizer without electric…..the cold has got to his lungs and his blood sugars have gone dangerously low as type 2 diabetics must eat 3 times a day 2 keep blood sugars level……the nurses have chipped in to get him a bottle of squash and some fruit ….apparently this gentleman is very unwell at the moment and if the Tories and Lib- Dems find peoples hunger something to laugh at will they also find this funny? The sick will end up in hospital beds if they cant eat and stay warm……this mans situation is just a taste of what the future holds for thousands…….”

 

“Hi guys… You’ve probably had a few complaints already, so I really am sorry, but I need to unwind… Would it have caused that many issues for the DWP to release our disability payments a few days early, and in time for Xmas this year? I struggle to feed myself as it is, and my payment is due this Friday, the 27th. I have no food in my fridge, nor my freezer, and none in the cupboards…I honestly do not know what I’m gonna do for food between now and Friday… Is the Government that much out of touch with the people? I have no family to whom I can turn for help… What am I going to do? I remember a time when payments were made available early, to cover such occasions… What’s happened? I have osteoarthritis, which is aggravated by my hypertension, and one out two other complaints. I’m unable to walk far, and I have no transport. I thought I had a friend, until I found out just how self-centered he is…Now it’s clear that I’m on my own. Is there any wonder people withdraw and become isolated from society if this is what’s on offer? Sorry for bring the bearer of such bad ridings, and I sincerely hope you have a great time. Thank you for taking the time to read this email”.


Today at the foodbank in Bromley over 200 families received help to eat over Christmas. Many of their stories were horrendous. Three of them am going to share with you now.

The 89 year old man, in hospital with malnutrition, freezing in his home, kicked out of the PRUH for bed blocking, sent home to a freezing cold home, and no food. Tonight he has food, carers are going in, and someone is going to spend Christmas with him. He has money on the gas and electric, the local shops made sure of that with donations. It was heartbreaking to see him cry and thanking us all. He hasnt had a decent cup of tea at home for the last 4 weeks, he told us. I just wanted to do more to help, but now the agencies in the area have swung into action to help. 

Of the family with a three week old baby, her father sanctioned this morning for a year. The job centre said he came on the wrong day, he showed them the letter for the day to see them today, the JCP changed it and did not tell him. Then as they sanctioned him they wished him a Merry Christmas and smiled at him. He cried on my shoulder, his family affected by the bedroom tax, no food, nothing. So we applied for DHP for him, and for hardship payments, his baby called May has a few toys for Christmas and some clothes and baby milk, some of the shops in the area donated for them. 

Of the man homeless who walked four miles in the driving rain to the foodbank today. The local church clothed him, got him hot food, and he is in a shelter for the next few months”. 

 

“my benefits are sanctioned over Christmas for arriving to a work program 5 mins & 15 minutes late on 2 appointments I’ve no money until the 5th January is I cannot get a budgeting loan as they say i owe them to much already I have no food no electric no heating & 2 young children I’m in desperate need of some form of help is there anything I can do?”

 

“I have just been sanctioned.

Apparently i have not been doing enough to find a job … despite the fact i have a job to go to in January.

When I mentioned this, I was told … but what if for some reason, that job falls through.

WHAT IF ??? ……….. can you imagine the hoops we’d have to jump through if we put on the jobsearch record … what if i got a job by sending out cv’s to companies that don’t exist ….. yet”

 

“I really need some money because I have no food and i need to pay rent and I need gas and electric I cant get help nowhere and I have been to the food bank 4 time AND you can only go 3 time they cant help no more”

 

 

am a 23 year old male with A levels and a degree.

Unfortunately I have been forced to sign on. My “Advisor” has put me down for picking/packing work and cleaning.

Not only that, I was sanctioned for not attending a group session. The reason for this is because I met up with a guy who interviewed me for a job. I told the job centre the reason and told them to ring the guy. I even got him to write them a letter. The PROOF is there. How can they sanction money for trying to get a job??????? Its ridiculous. They cant make ONE phone call. Its all computerised and robotic in today’s world so we don’t even stand a chance.

Why are the sanctioning innocent people?

The UK is meant to have a system in place to help those in need. I’m not a bad person. I have saved lives, raised money for charities and even worked voluntarily. I am treated with disgust by our system. I can now see why a man set himself on fire outside of the Selly Oak job centre!

I have lost weight. I have depression. My motivation is zero. I am in a pit. As I write this, suicide is in the back of my mind because I feel helpless. The support is not there and it never will be until there is a major change. Would me taking my own life be enough to make the system change? Sadly I think it will. It always takes somebodys life to make people realise.

I have waited over 8 days for a hardship fund. I am living on old biscuits which I had from Christmas 2012″.

 

“Just thought I’d post this I found, then read it again, this is the “care” cancer sufferers get

Dear Mr Cameron,

Chester and Ellesmere Port Foodbank (Wednesday, 6 November 2013): ‘Jenny shared her story with one of our volunteers, and requested that we share it with you (everyone). We are privileged to do so.’

Jenny

Jenny came to the Chester and Ellesmere Port Foodbank last month, having been diagnosed with terminal Cancer. Her prognosis was three to six months. She already suffered with several chronic illnesses preventing her from working over the last two years and was in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. Having no family she was trying to “put her house in order”, ensuring all her bills were paid and saving up for her funeral. Her DLA was stopped; the reason given was that as she was not expected to survive the required time, she did not qualify for this benefit!

She came to the Foodbank not for herself but to bring a neighbour who had mental health issues and short term memory problems. He had been 30 minutes late for his appointment at the Benefit office (he had forgotten the time!) and had therefore been sanctioned. He had not eaten for three days. They were both given a meal and the time to talk of their problems and referred to the appropriate agencies for food vouchers and further support and help. Several weeks later Jenny came to the Foodbank to thank everyone for the help and food that was given and the kindness and support that was shown in their time of need. Jenny died three weeks later.

Where did Jenny fit in your striver/scrounger world, Mr Cameron? Evidently she did not fit at all, she was abandoned to die in poverty as a direct result of your government policies and in particular the welfare policies of Iain Duncan Smith”.

 

“I’ve got no food rent is due also got an appointment 20 miles away on Tuesday at a local hospital with atos to see if I can get PIP don’t get paid ESA until next Thursday already had budgeting loan 3 months ago suffer with recurrent depressive disorder care cluster 3 and severe anxiety”

“I am close to suicide due to the threat of eviction due to not being able to pay council tax or the bedroom tax!

I have applied for a DHP and been refused, I also have a carer overnight which I have to pay £400 per month for and they use one bedroom but this is not being counted,I also have a room that is used for medical equipment such as a scooter, wheelchair toilet rolls and paper towels and washing tablets as I have bowel problems due to cancer treatment, and also the bed is used as a massage bed due to alleviate my pain due to arthritis, and also facial masks and filters for my CPAP machine and a facial steamer which clears my air passage at night and massage equipment! This was scoffed at as being a room for medical use”

 

Don’t forget: Monday 13th Twitter Demo against Love Productions supporting Street Demo against #BenefitsStreet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 072014
 

We promised to update everyone about the outcome of this case where our ally Citizen Smart was charged and in court for singing anti-Tory songs.

 

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2014/01/anti-tory-songs-now-illegal/

 

Yesterday was the day of the court case but the case has still not been heard. Our understanding of the events are the court had difficulty trying to video-record proceedings so there wasn’t enough time to hear the case and the trial has been postponed again. We will let people know how this farce is progressing when we get more news.

 Posted by at 15:37
Jan 052014
 

Singing anti-Tory songs will now land you in court. Citizen Smart who has supported many camapigns against the cuts  is before Sterling Sherrif court tomorrow (Jan 6th) for anti Tory song : Hey Mr Cameron! See video below and dont forget to sign along at a street near you-solidarity from DPAC to Citizen Smart. We’ll update on what happens

Dec 302013
 

As a grassroots campaign group DPAC wouldn’t exist without the dedication of all those who give their time to exposing what is happening: coming out on the streets, writing reports, researching, writing web content and policy critiques, heading up and being part of the growing number of local DPACs, organising events, engaging with social media and a whole set of other stuff that keeps DPAC vibrant, active and strong – its thanks to you that DPAC exists.  DPAC also want to thank the growing number of grassroots groups, individuals, academics, supporters, unions and organisations we’ve worked with in 2013.

2013 began with DPAC being awarded campaign of the year for our work in 2012 the year ends with DPAC being named as ‘people of the year’ by Owen Jones. In 2013 DPAC supported many local based protests on transport, the bedroom tax, ILF, local authority cuts and privatisation. We blocked roads protested against fuel poverty, fracking, the loss of legal aid, the bedroom tax, the closure of ILF and more. We set up Reclaiming our Futures 7 days of action joined by hundreds to celebrate the gains of the disabled peoples’ movement and to protest at the effects of imposed austerity on disabled people. DPAC launched the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto which was followed by an EDM.We also published a number of reports.

There was cause to celebrate: the Government were ruled to have made the decision to close the Independent Living Fund unlawfully. Mental Health Resistance network succeeded in winning both case and appeal by the Government on the discrimination of the WCA. DPAC were approached by the UN prior to Raquel Rolnik’s UK visit to feed-in –her findings on the bedroom tax were devastating for the Government. DPAC led a whole range of events and join events on benefit justice to join together and fight the evils that this Government have imposed. While every protest, every campaign, every new network and every exposure of this Government is a success, we received growing numbers of emails from those left without money, food, homes and suffering cuts to their support.

In 2014 we must continue to fight and take all actions we can to change and expose the devastation this Government is causing to disabled people.

You can subscribe to receive all DPAC web posts or become a DPAC member at www.dpac.net.uk join us on twitter @Dis_PPL_Protest or on Facebook

 Key highlights of DPAC actions from 2013 below….

January

DPAC were awarded campaign of the year (2012) by Lipstick Socialists. They said: The fight back by disabled people as the Con/Dem Govt stripped some of the most ‘vulnerable’ sections of the community of their benefits. Their campaign against Atos (who made the decisions) during the Paralympics was inspiring and they have led the way in the fightback against the Con/Dem Govt. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/#sthash.tEoKp2ds.dpuf

Co-op Campaign: stop the Atos Contract! Launched to publicise that Co-op were thinking of renewing a three year Atos contract for occupational health-Eventual outcome Co-op publically state they wouldn’t renew the contract with Atos.

DPAC call Vigil on Judicial Review initiated by Mental Health Resistance Network on WCA

Benefit Justice organising meeting by Tenants, DPAC unions and others held in London. We also live streamed London DPAC meeting so that everyone could access it. Annie Howard exposed Atos and DWP in relation to the data protection Act http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/dwp-and-atos-make-a-mockery-of-the-data-protection-act/ Alan Shellbrooke a Tory MP said he wanted to introduce US style cards for those on benefits. We also linked with Fuel Poverty Action for the first of the 2013 actions on Fuel Poverty. We urged everyone to have their say on the Care Bill and to mention the ILF issues and posted advice on the Bedroom Tax and Discretionary Housing Payments and how to access them ahead of this inhuman misery. Condemn Love anti-Atos song by the excellent Kevin Robbins got it’s first airing

February

Victory for Daniel Roque Hall and Winvisable as Daniel is released from prison. Annie and Bob uncovered The Atos and DWP’s Land of make Believe http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/atos-and-dwps-land-of-make-believe/

Owen Jones donates some of his prize from young writer of the year (donated by Lord Ashcroft) to DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/thank-you-owen-but-we-wont-count-on-the-money-until-lord-ashcroft-puts-it-in-our-account/

We publicised the workfare cases The judgment on cases brought by Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson mean that all but one of the Government’s workfare schemes (Mandatory Work Activity) that force unemployed people to work unpaid or lose benefits have been deemed unlawful. As we know IDS went off and rewrote the law- See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/#sthash.jZLw1k5A.dpuf

We publicised an update on the Bedroom Tax, unfortunately not rewritten by IDS or anyone else. The post by Frank proved to be an unfortunate prediction of what was to come.

On ILF we produced a template letter for MPs and our collected FoIs on what Local authorities responses were to the ILF consultation http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/what-local-authorities-said-about-the-closure-of-ilf/

Whitehall Traffic was brought to a standstill outside the Dept of Energy and Climate Change http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/whitehall-road-block-brings-traffic-to-a-standstill-outside-dept-of-energy-climate-change/

Unum were finally nailed on driving Governments’ on welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/unum-finally-nailed-through-bragging-on-driving-government-thinking/

DPAC and Inclusion London issued a statement on ILF while our National English DPOs remained silent http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/defend-independent-living-save-the-independent-living-fund/

Annie Howard exposed the myths around the support group and ESA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/11-was-never-intended-to-be-the-number-of-people-in-the-support-group-dwp-big-blunder-annie-howard/

Atos and the treatment of mental health users and survivors was further exposed through You Tube, while  Kate Belgrave asked where were the MFCs at Atos – we’re still looking… http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/harrowing-atos-assessment-and-where-are-the-mental-health-champions/

A letter from Ed Miliband was publicised after it was sent to us by a supporter http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/letter-from-ed-miliband-on-atoswca-but-is-it-enough/

DPAC joined the campaign against the privatisation at Barnet and the great Crapita takeover http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We launched a campaign against Colin Brewer who said that disabled children should be put down – he later resigned, but tried to put himself forward in a subsequent election process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We published an email from one of our supporters which asked SCOPE what it was doing to save ILF , SCOPE suggested they get in touch with  DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/scope-and-ilf/

March

We reposted the excellent Nick on ESA Process in Chaos and the Government cover-up http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/dwps-esa-process-in-chaos/

As DPAC is on the working group of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)  against European austerity and its effect on disabled people we asked you to write to your MEPs to support  a push to get this debated in the European Parliament

March 13th was the court case on ILF in which 5 ILF users took the DWP to court against the proposed closure of ILF in 2015 We stepped up the campaign to publish stories of ILF users and those that would have benefited from ILF if it hadn’t been closed to new users in 2010 by Miller without even a dodgy consultation process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/independent-living-fund/

 The Benefit Justice Summit co-organised by DPAC in London brought together unions, grassroots groups, lawyers and tenants groups

We publicised news for parents of disabled children in the private rented sector and how they could claim money back from the DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/urgent-news-for-parents-of-disabled-children-renting-in-private-sector-money-back-from-dwp/

Beth Tichbourne was fined £745 plus costs for saying that David Cameron had ‘blood on his hands’ in an outrage that we should never forget  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/bethan-tichborn-cameron-has-blood-on-his-hands5503/

We publish an update on ILF court case with video http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/ilf-court-case-update-and-implications/

 

DPAC and our sister org Black Triangle issue a joint statement on Labour and Bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/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/

DWP and Government lies on ILF closure are exposed by DPAC in previously classified papers and memos from the DWP to ministers http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/summary-of-secret-correspondence-from-the-dwp-to-mcvey-on-the-ilf-closure/

ESA appeals increase by 70% DPAC reposts Nick’s analysis http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/more-chaos-esa-appeals-up-by-70/

Disability charities consistent apathy for disabled peoples’ lives, but not for their high salaries for directors was highlighted yet again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/how-the-big-disability-charities-let-down-disabled-people-again/

DPAC supported local protests and campaigns and also protests against staff cuts on railways and transport protests

April

April was the month that the condemns brought in more of their cuts for ordinary people the hated bedroom tax, the end of council tax support, the benefit cap and more http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-nasty-party-go-on-the-offensive-against-disabled-people/

DPAC and UKUncut served eviction notices on our ‘favourite’ MPs –they had too many bedrooms –a complaint was put into You Tube who were told to remove the videos of IDS’ mansion http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/eviction-notice-for-ids-and-oh-my-what-a-big-house-you-have/ http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/ids-home-occupation-videos/

The TUC disabled workers refuse to join the Government sponsored Disability Action Alliance hosted by Disability Rights UK (DRUK) http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-disability-action-alliance-or-whatever-happened-to-the-disability-strategy/

After news that the 5 ILF users that took the DWP to court had lost the case processes began to appeal the decision and still not a word of support from the big Disability charities or the aforementioned DRUK  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/claimants-to-appeal-high-court-decision-concerning-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC learns of a man who was arrested and tried in a secret court and jailed due to Atos –DPAC launches a campaign http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/man-arrested-and-tried-in-a-secret-court-after-atos-assessment-support-needed-in-nottingham/

We also supported and co-organised a number of Benefit Justice summits across the country, supported more protests on transport and privatisation and continued to support the Barnet crisis

May

We supported CSRF in protesting at the |PCS conference and their refusal to refuse to implement benefit sanctions http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/civil-service-rank-and-file-protest-at-pcs-conference/

We joined with False Economy in the search for the elusive Mental Function Champions at Atos , Dr Greg Wood  quits Atos and turns whistle blower http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/where-are-the-mental-function-champions-at-atos-and-other-atos-type-things/

DPAC publishes info on Hardship payments and budgeting loans as we get more and more emails from people caught in the poverty and sanction traps set by the DWP –the post has been shared over 36,0000 times  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/hardship-paymentsbudgeting-loans-and-short-term-advances/

Black triangle meet with Scottish Government to discuss regulations regarding Atos and GPs http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/esa-regulations-25-and-31-campaign-black-triangle-to-meet-with-scottish-parliament-welfare-reform-committee-chief-this-thursday/

The Mental Health Resistance Network win against Government on WCA , but spectra of legal aid cuts is raised too http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/will-legal-victory-by-mhrn-against-atos-tests-be-our-last-we-need-to-act-now/

DPAC and the TUC disabled workers block Tottenham Court Road in an act of solidarity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/dpac-and-tuc-members-in-direct-action-of-solidarity/

DPAC publishes a critique of UKIP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/why-the-rise-of-ukip-is-dangerous-for-disabled-people/

DPAC’s own Ellen Clifford talks to real fare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/ellen-clifford-talks-to-real-fare-on-welfare-reform-and-protest/

June

June 1st marked a day of UK wide protests against the bedroom tax attended by DPAC

DPAC publishes stats by Nick that show the huge hike in sanctions under the Coalition  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/jsa-benefit-sanctions-sky-rocket-under-coalition/

DPAC holds a Birthday party protest for ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/press-release-independent-living-fund-birthday-protest/

The fight against the Bedroom tax continues with protests and new groups springing up and supporting each other across the country http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/updates-the-fight-against-the-bedroom-tax/

DPAC publishes Lies, Damn IDS and Statistics  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/lies-damn-ids-and-statistics/

July

DPAC releases its program for 7 days of action, campaigns and protest: Reclaiming Our Futures http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/

DPAC joins protest at Downing Street against the bedroom tax

DPAC joins Justice Alliance to protest against cuts to legal aid

DPAC joins vigil for case against bedroom tax outside the Royal Courts of Justice

DPAC posts a list of advice and legal resources as emails from people in severe hardship escalates further http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/advice-and-legal-resources/

Sisters of Frida go to Geneva to challenge the situation for disabled women at the UN http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/tag/sisters-of-frida/

We list the MPs that voted against a cumulative impact assessment http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/for-fellow-extremists-everywhere-how-your-mp-voted-on-the-cumulative-impact-assessment/

Southwark DPAC challenge local politicians http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/sdpac-challenge-local-politicians/

Government Issues ministerial statement on Atos http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/government-issues-ministerial-statement-over-atos/

Bromley/Croydon DPAC join UKUncuts Stuff the Banks http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/bromleycroydon-dpac-stuff-the-banks-update/

DPAC takes part in the anti-fracking protests at Balcombe where Caroline Lucas is arrested

August

Updates for Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of Action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/08/reclaiming-our-futures-29th-aug-4th-sept-updates/

UK Disabled peoples’ Manifesto launched http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/UK%20Disabled%20peoples%20Reclaiming%20Our%20Futures%20Manifesto

John McDonnell puts forward an Early Day motion on the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto put together by DPAC, Inclusion London, ALLFIE and Equal Lives Norfolk

Early Day Motion 483: Disabled People’s Manifesto
That this House warmly welcomes the launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto, Reclaiming our Futures, developed by disabled people and their organisations across the UK, which sets out the shared vision of disabled people for an inclusive and equal society free from economic, social and cultural barriers; and urges all political parties represented in this House to engage in a constructive dialogue with the disabled people’s organisations promoting the manifesto with the aim of achieving its objectives. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/early-day-motion-483-disabled-peoples-manifesto/#sthash.VWGXvrlo.dpuf

 

DPAC are asked by UN to assist Raquel Rolnik UN Special Rapporteur on Housing prior to her visit to the UK . The visit and her findings that the bedroom tax is regressive and unfair cause Tory ministers to say she should sort her own country out, she is a Marxist and produce other ridiculous statements in the right wing media http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/un-investigator-recommends-for-bedroom-tax-to-be-scrapped-immediately/

DPAC block the front entrance of BBC for non reporting of the true situation in the UK under welfare cuts as part of the Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of action http://www.katebelgrave.com/2013/09/disabled-people-against-cuts-block-front-entrance-of-bbc-portland-place/

DPAC host art exhibition and night of entertainment, plus a day debate on the continued relevance of the Social Model with Anne Rae, Colin Barnes and Debbie Jolly

The Brilliant Kate Belgrave writes on protests and Government Extremism, protests are held outside the DWP, the Department for Education, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Health before moving on to Parliament to host the launch of the UK Disabled People Manifesto: ‘reclaiming our Futures on the UK Freedom Drive day part of the Reclaiming Our Futures week of action

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/protests-and-government-extremism-kate-belgrave/

 

DPAC posts UK Freedom Drive film by Reel News http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/uk-freedom-drive-the-film/

 

See also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpacrof-4th-september-highlights/

 

 

September

 

DPAC works with Just Fair on Independent Living Issues ahead of a planned visit by the UN special rapporteur on disability http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-works-with-just-fair-on-independent-living-issues/

We publish George Berger from Sweden report on Atos, KPMG and the NHS http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/atos-kpmg-and-the-nhs-be-afraid-be-very-afraid/

DPAC launches a new report on the WCA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-report-work-capability-assessment/

Two of the DPAC co-founders go to Strasbourg to join the European Network on Independent Living for the 6th ENIL Freedom Drive to march to the European Parliament and tackle MEPs. Debbie Jolly is elected to serve another term on the ENIL Board and presents on behalf of DPAC on protest and what is happening in the UK under imposed austerity http://www.enil.eu/campaigns/freedom-drive/

DPAC co-organises with Wow Petition for 10,000 Cuts Memorial for those that have died through Atos and in solidarity with all suffering under Cameron’s regime of imposed austerity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10k-cuts-and-counting-video/ see also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10000-cuts-and-counting-linda-burnip/

Dr Alison Wilde discusses the Paralympic Legacy http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/paralympic-legacy-but-which-one/

DPAC supports the Ontario Coalition against Poverty who Government want to follow the lead of the UK in denying people their entitlements http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/call-out-to-support-ontario-coalition-against-poverty/

October

IDS found misleading again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/ids-found-misleading-again/

DPAC and Black Triangle consider legal action against GPs who refuse to provide evidence for disabled people and those with long term health issues http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/legal-action-has-your-gp-refused-to-provide-further-medial-evidence-for-your-dwp-appeal/

Anita Bellows write another stunning piece exposing the bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/bedroom-tax-the-policy-which-could-only-succeed-if-it-failed-anita-bellows/

DPAC organises vigil for Mental Health Resistance WCA case appeal by DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/vigil-for-wca-case-support-mental-health-resistance-network-21st-october/

DPAC joins UKUncut to protest to save Justice

DPAC join in protests against staff cuts on London Tubes http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/boriss-latest-attacks-against-accessibility-and-safety-on-london-transport/ also see http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/unions-unite-with-campaigners-on-tube-and-station-cuts/

DPAC publicises Punishing Poverty a report on Sanctions by Manchester CAB http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/sanctions-punishing-poverty-new-report-by-cab/

DPAC publishes info on mandatory reconsideration http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/some-information-on-mandatory-reconsideration-in-force-from-october-28th-2013/

UK Disability history month kicks off http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/uk-disability-history-month-launch-event/

November

ILF users win appeal, Government say they won’t fight decision –a success but we wait for the Government next moves http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/gov-will-not-appeal-court-ruling-on-closure-of-ilf/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/victory-for-independent-living-rights-in-english-appeal-court/

DPAC reposts the critique of the Henwood and Hudson report as some in the disability field still claim that ILF should close http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/why-the-henwood-and-hudson-report-failed-in-justifying-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC ask members and supporters to write to Penning on ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/write-a-message-to-penning/

Anita Bellows asks why Litchfield as ‘independent’ assessor of the WCA when he was involved in its design http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/dwp-tactics-ask-litchfield-designer-of-the-wca-to-review-it-anita-bellows/

DPAC publishes info on fuel poverty as we receive more emails from people without heating or electricity due to sanctions and welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/fuel-poverty/

Independent Living rights News is published on DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-17-november-2013/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-edition-2/

Paddy Murphy writes on the apparent idiocy of DECC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disabled-people-and-fuel-poverty-what-does-decc-know-anyway/

DPAC attends the bedroom tax lobby at Parliament http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/report-on-the-bedroom-tax-lobby-meeting-westminster-tuesday-12th-november-2013/

DPAC , Fuel Poverty Action and the London Pensioners are joined by hundreds on the streets to protest at unacceptable fuel poverty and deaths while the energy companies continue to make huge profits http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/hundreds-protest-at-big-six-energy-companies-over-fuel-poverty-deaths/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/npower-protest-against-31000-fuel-poverty-deaths-this-year/

DPAC supports ALLFIE’s campaign on no return to segregated education http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/no-return-to-segregrated-education-please-sign/

DPAC and Inclusion London hear heartbreaking testimonies from disabled people affected by the cuts. We send them to the special rapporteur on disability.

DPAC and Inclusion London hold an Emergency  lobby at Parliament on Independent living to launch the DPAC report on Independent Living http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-and-the-cumulative-impact-of-cuts-from-the-streets-to-the-commons/

Mary Laver and ILF user film on life without ILF is posted http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/an-important-request-on-ilf-from-mary-laver/

The Disability Crime Network write to the attorney General on disability hate crimes  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disability-hate-crime-network-letter-to-attorney-general/

December

Anne Novis writes on hate crime http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/a-life-less-valid-when-is-a-hate-crime-not-a-hate-crime-by-anne-novis-mbe/

Belgium vote yes on euthanasia for minors now accepted as law http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/belgium-vote-yes-on-euthanasia-for-minors/

DPAC urges members and supporters to join Boycott Workfare in online action against workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/take-online-action-against-the-workfare-conference/

We publicise Habinteg’s report on the effect of the bedroom tax on independent living  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/what-price-independent-lives-a-new-report-on-bedroom-tax/

Government lose appeal against decision that WCA discrimates against those with mental health issues.  The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) who instigated the case against the WCA celebrate another victory. MHRN a grassroots group were later joined by the charities, but without MHRN the case would not have got to the courts. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/victory-against-wca/

DPAC joins Boycott Workfare in targeting companies replacing paid work with workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/target-the-companies-replacing-paid-work-with-workfare/

DPAC support ALLFIE’s call for action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/educate-dont-segregate-allfies-call-for-action-on-the-10th-december-1pm/

We publicise Equal Lives’ video on how the cuts effect at the local level http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/our-lives-equal-lives-norfolk-and-the-cuts/

DPAC posts video by Colin Barnes on the importance of the social model by UCU http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/interview-with-colin-barnes-what-are-the-origins-of-the-social-model-of-disability-and-why-is-it-so-important-to-equal-rights-campaigners/

DPAC attends open meeting with Mike Penning http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/feedback-from-todays-meeting-with-mike-penning/

DPAC publicises the case of Anthony  Kletzander’s  treatment in Ireland at the hands of ‘professionals’ as he is denied basic rights http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/update-anthony-kletzander-needs-your-help/

Owen Jones names DPAC as one of his ‘person of the year’ choices for 2013 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/who-is-your-person-of-the-year-9018337.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 032013
 

What price independent lives? – launched on the United Nations Day of Disabled People – highlights the combined effect of a range of benefit cuts on disabled people’s incomes and the particular threat this poses to independent living.

Analysis of Habinteg’s detailed tenancy data at a six month point after the introduction of benefit cuts revealed the specific financial hardship faced by disabled tenants as a result of benefit restrictions. It shows that two thirds of tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people.

However the impact of this is deepened when the same people face other benefit cuts and variable policies by local authorities. The result is that the ability for disabled people to pay the additional costs associated with living an independent life is being severely restricted.

Key findings of What price independent lives?:

·         Two-thirds of Habinteg tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people and of these, after six months of the new rules being in place, only a third had been exempted from paying by local authorities.

·         56 per cent of Habinteg tenants living in wheelchair standard properties have not yet been given exempt status from the bedroom tax.

·         Only 15 per cent of tenants who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) but live in general needs properties have been given bedroom tax exempt status by their local authority raising concerns that disabled people in this group may be faced with additionally reduced income when tested for eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

·         The localised criteria for bedroom tax exemption has created a new postcode lottery for disabled people with an inconsistent and unpredictable approach which varies between local authorities. Such variation reinforces the barriers disabled people face if they want to move, whether for job opportunities or other reasons, and deepens inequality between disabled and non-disabled people.

·         Most tenants adversely affected by the bedroom tax are preparing to “stay and pay” in order to keep their existing property. The chronic shortage of wheelchair standard and accessible properties makes moving to downsize simply not an option.

·         Where local authorities do not agree exempt status, Habinteg is supporting tenants to apply for financial support under the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) schemes. However, where information is available, it suggests that many disabled people are being refused DHP support. Three out of four case studies in the report have been refused DHPs. Some tenants have been given this support by their local authority while others in similar circumstances have been refused. This inconsistency makes it difficult for housing providers to manage their response and support tenants.

Habinteg is calling for the Government to repeal the bedroom tax, especially in respect of disabled people, review their stance on Universal Credit which will not cover service charging on disability-related adaptations and revise their plans to cut benefit payments under the transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.

Habinteg Chief Executive, Paul Gamble, said: “Our report shows clearly the disproportionate impact from combined welfare reform policies on disabled people and highlights the very serious risk that the basic right to an independent life is threatened by the increased financial burden.

“We want the Government to acknowledge, understand and act on the cumulative impact of its welfare cuts agenda on disabled people. We are calling for the repeal of the bedroom tax, especially in respect of disabled people along with other steps to ensure their on-going right to independence and inclusion in their homes and communities.”

Baroness Rosalie Wilkins, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group, said: “Habinteg’s new research provides a rallying cry for choice, independence and equality. Independent living is a right not a privilege. The way in which the bedroom tax cuts the incomes of disabled people at a stroke and impinges on their ability to live independently is something that must be challenged.

“I fully endorse Habinteg in their efforts to persuade the government to listen to the evidence, call a halt to the bedroom tax and rethink a welfare benefits programme that is unfairly impacting on disabled people.”

A Habinteg tenant case study from What price independent lives? (who wished to remain anonymous) said: “I can’t begin to explain how stressful this whole process has been. It was a trauma to work out what I was going to do. I kept thinking why would they do this?

“I never believed that moving was an option as the lack of a purpose built one bedroom wheelchair accessible home gave me no choice but to find a way to pay.”

The full report can be found at www.habinteg.org.uk/whatpriceindependentlives

Nov 242013
 

The eight Labour MPs who attended the lobby meeting were perhaps somewhat discomforted by the level of hostility, and indeed rowdiness that occasionally erupted from the floor of Meeting Room 12. It was obvious from the chair, Ian Lavery’s, comments and opening address, that the MPs involved, and their offices had hoped for a reassurance of votes won from grassroots bedroom tax campaigners. The assembled activists, who had come from as far afield as Glasgow and Kent, were not so keen on patting any MP on the back, and the most obvious complaint voiced from the floor was that, despite Labour opposition to the Bedroom Tax policy, Labour held local councils are nonetheless proceeding with evictions against council tenants.

The MPs present, in the order in which they spoke, included the chair of the meeting: Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck [http://www.ianlavery.co.uk/], Margaret Curran, MP for Glasgow East, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland [http://margaretcurran.org/], Kate Green, MP Stretford and Urmston, Shadow Minister for Disabled People [http://www.kategreen.org/], Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton, Shadow Housing Minister [http://www.emmareynolds.org.uk/], Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington, Shadow Home Affairs Minister [http://www.jackdromey.org], Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions [http://www.rachelreeves.net], Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, Shadow minister for Employment [http://www.stephentimms.org.uk/], and Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly [http://www.waynedavid.labour.co.uk/].

The MP heckled the most was, without a doubt, Rachel Reeves, whose comments on welfare as reported in the Observer came under fire. There seemed to be a general consensus among the MPs on why the bedroom tax must be scrapped, most obviously that it’s implementation is actually more expensive than any possible saving, Stephen Timms mentioning the research of Prof. Rebecca Tunstall. [http://www.york.ac.uk/chp/people/tunstall/, Full report here: http://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Testing%20DWP%20Assessment%20of%20Impact%20of%20SRS%20Size%20Criterion%20on%20HB%20Costs%20University%20of%20York.pdf], where other MPs such as Mr Lavery and Mr David mentioning the human cost of the policy, and Emma Reynolds and Rachel Reeves mentioning the infrastructural cost of the policy, namely that housing associations facing reduced rental income cannot afford to invest in new housing stock at a time of great housing shortage.

Having found the audience less welcoming than they had perhaps expected, the chair and assembled MPs went to great lengths to point out that the bedroom tax lobby meeting was occurring just before an opposition day devoted entirely to fighting the Bedroom Tax in the commons. Needless to say, the motion to end the Bedroom Tax was defeated 252:226 [http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2013/november-/mps-debate-abolition-of-the-bedroom-tax/]. The aspect of this timing that the chair, Mr Lavery in particular, was keen to impress on the assembled activists was that this motion was only brought forward because of the vociferous nature of our campaigns against the Bedroom Tax, which are now gaining the attention of such papers as the Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/20/protests-grow-over-benefit-cuts]

Shaun O’Regan from Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign, among others, also viewed the related debate in the commons, mentioned above. He noted that the lobby meeting ‘surprised the Labour politicians about how angry we are, not just about the bedroom tax, but all the other cuts’. He added that the ‘shameful Lib Dems and Tories’ who spoke in favour of retaining the Bedroom tax in the Commons debate ‘made us more determined to go aay and build for the Southwark Benefit justice demonstration on the 25th of January 2014.’ Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign have also been instrumental in lobbying Harriet Harman, whose fierce opposition to the Bedroom Tax has recently been reported by the Independent [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-cleggs-promise-of-bedroom-tax-review-is-a-sham-says-harriet-harman-8930911.html]

The Southwark campaign have also obtained the following response from their local council. [link to file]. The following Guardian Article published on the 18th of October illustrates the injustice of Southwark Council, who had issued 5,800 summonses. [http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/18/thousands-court-council-tax]

Councillor Richard Livingston issued a response (text below), in which he explains both his abhorrence for the ‘particularly brutal’ Bedroom Tax, and explains how he is helping effected households in his Livingston ward, ‘using all the Discretionary Housing Payment money we receive to keep families in their homes by bridging the gap created by the Bedroom Tax, we are also finding extra money from other tenants through the Housing Revenue Account.’

 

A great deal of credit for the occurrence of the meeting on Tuesday 12th must be offered to the grassroots groups who seem to have caught the ear of the Labour shadow cabinet, not least Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign. Here is what some of those activists contributed:

Much of the ire voiced in the meeting was eloquently summed up by Mr Robert Punton of DPAC, who described empty promises as ‘wind in the air’ and whose standing ovation was reported by the Morning Star: [http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7614-bedroom-tax-provokes-stormy-scenes-in-Parliament#.UoYhXXBK8-c]

‘Robert Punton DPAC activist and advocate of Birmingham Anti Bedroom  was infuriated by the crass disregard in which the panel of Labour MP’s quoted that they where here to listen to the people suffering under this bill, but spent 90% of 2 hour preaching party rhetoric at an increasing angered impassioned audience.

 

Once Mr Punton got the opportunity to speak he told the greatly decreased panel, (because contrary to their promised to listen once they delivered their speeches they flooded out of committee room on mass) until the Labour Party turns it’s words into actions, then all their promises of post 2015 are just hot air on the wind!  They must demand their Labour Council colleague who told Councils to refuse evictions and tear up arrear bills.  Labour MP’s oho are true Socialists must join campaigning groups such as DPAC OCCUPY. UK UNCUT, ANNONYMOUS, UNIONS & PEOPLES ASSEMBLY  on the streets to demand Social justice for all.  The sentiments expressed throughout Mr Punton where echoed and expanded upon from other speakers from floor from all sections of society and communities the length the country.

 

Until Labour wash away “new” Labour ideals and return to the true principles or grandparents generation a free NHS welfare rights not charity and a playing level field which treats all equal, they need to bring the Party back to the people NOT expect the so titled underclass to move to them.  Until they do they will remain unelectable as far the targets of the Coalition are concerned

The actions of the Labour Party over next two weeks months will determine the true credentials and prospects of whether they truly deserve the chance and responsibility to govern us in 2015.  If they honestly support the growing unrest being represented by Grassroot groups such as DPAC, UK UNCUT & OCCUPY they will turn their hot air into action.

Will they prove to us they are part of Solution or just collaborators in the problem which is the Coalition.  Will they cut back or join us fighting back!

They need to realise that the peoplesunrest escalating and desperately cornered people will vote for change not in the ballot box but in the street and on the road.

The people are doing community advocacy through DIRECT ACTION!’

The fact that the motion to end the hated bedroom tax was defeated in the commons is a disheartening blow to all of us, but on the other hand, the fact that it took place at all means that the opposition are listening to at least some of our cries. Moreover, the media coverage of the day gives us some small consolation that our voices will be heard.

 

It is difficult to know even whether Mr Lavery’s response to one question, that he desired an end to the Work Capability Assessment, and not just the replacement of ATOS, was something which actually reflects the thinking of his entire party. One thing is certain, they want our votes, and the energy and enthusiasm of our grassroots campaigning to back them in 2015. Whether the Labour party deserves our support perhaps remains to be seen.

Postscript: Media Coverage

Here’s Alan Wylie’s blog about the day: http://diaryofaloonyleftie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/bedroom-tax-meeting-in-parliament.html

Also present was Ros Wynne Jones, who live tweeted throughout the event

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ros-wynne-jones-bedroom-tax-2785516

Coverage of the commons debate

–          http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/live-bedroom-tax-protest-debate-2783462

–          http://www.channel4.com/news/bedroom-tax-labour-lib-dems-vote-commons

–          http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-7614-bedroom-tax-provokes-stormy-scenes-in-Parliament#.UoYhXXBK8-c

–          http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/12/ed-daveys-speech-to-energy-firms-telling-them-not-to-be-greedy-politics-live-blog

–          http://www.itv.com/news/2013-11-12/iain-duncan-smith-to-miss-bedroom-tax-debate-in-commons/ (describes us as “a number of protesters!)

Letter to Southwark Benefit Justice Campaign from Councillor Richard Livingstone

I am sorry I cannot be with you today. As you know the fight for benefit justice has many fronts and so this morning I am at a meeting alongside the Citizens Advice Bureau and other voluntary organisations in Southwark to lobby Job Centre Plus about the explosion in the number of benefit claimants who have had the totality of their benefits removed through sanctions, in what often appears to be an arbitrary way.

The Bedroom Tax is a particularly brutal piece of legislation that fails to understand the realities of, and pressures on, social housing.  As a local Councillor I have had to deal time and time again with cases of families with disabled members whose needs are ignored in how the Bedroom Tax is applied, with separated families where the access rights of the children to one of the parents have been compromised as the room that they stay at the weekend has been declared surplus by the DWP. Or the cases where Southwark Council has decided that a family needs three bedrooms, that family is suddenly being hit by the Bedroom Tax as a result of the DWP applying a new set of harsher criteria.

Government talk about the Bedroom Tax being in incentive for families to downsize their homes to the minimum that they need. But where are these homes going to come from? Like the rest of London, we have acute housing problems in Southwark. The waiting list for a council home in Southwark has 20,000 families on it. We estimate it would take ten years to move every family affected by the Bedroom Tax to a new home that government deems to be the right size. And all this, of course, is before you consider the physical and emotional upheaval of having to leave the family home for something smaller.

We are trying to help families caught up in this as much as legally possible. In particular, we are not only using al the Discretionary Housing Payment money we receive to keep families in their homes by bridging the gap created by the Bedroom Tax, we are also finding extra money from other tenants through the Housing Revenue Account. Once again, the government is making sure that it is the poor that have to pay for the poorest.

 

The Bedroom Tax is an obscenity. I welcome the commitment of Rachel Reeves an our next Labour government to repeal it and wish you all well in the Lobby today.

 

Councillor Richard Livingstone

Cabinet member for Finance, Resources and Community Safety

Labour councillor for Livesey Ward

Nov 152013
 

Join Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association and Disabled People Against Cuts for an outrageous, creative and inclusive protest against fuel poverty deaths on November 26th at 11.30am in Central London. Meeting point – well it’s a secret, for now.

On November 26th, the number of people who died last winter from cold homes will be announced. But we won’t stand for any more unnecessary deaths caused by price-hiking, polluting, profiteering, tax avoiding energy companies. So …join us as we take to the streets in central London to target one of the main energy robbers driving fuel poverty.

As the Big Six energy companies hike up prices we are told the only answer is to put on a jumper, leaving millions of us to choose between heating and eating. While the energy companies spread the lie that ‘green taxes’ are to blame, we know that the real problem is the privatisation of our energy for profit and the skyrocketing cost of dirty fossil fuels.

So bring your kids, neighbours, grandparents, your warmest jumper and your latest energy bill — and come join the fightback for the alternatives: warm, insulated homes and clean, affordable energy. It’s time to bring down the Big Six and put power back in people’s hands.

Meet outside Royal Exchange by Bank Station for short march to destination target.

See you on the streets.
#justicenotjumper

fuel poverty pic

Oct 162013
 

We learned yesterday that the bedroom tax may not save as much money as the public were told. In fact it seems that savings were likely to be £160m less than the official projections of £480m for the first year, according to real data collected by four housing associations since April through a model used in 2012 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to assess the likely impact of the policy.

But we are missing the real story here. What the report written by Professor Rebecca Tunstall at the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy tells us is that the projected savings were only possible if none of the affected 660,000 households responded to the policy by moving to a smaller home http://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Testing%20DWP%20Assessment%20of%20Impact%20of%20SRS%20Size%20Criterion%20on%20HB%20Costs%20University%20of%20York.pdf.

In other words, the bedroom tax was only going to be cost-effective and produce savings if none of the affected households moved. Why did the government make the assumption that nobody would move? Because it knew that there were not enough 1 and 2 bedroom houses to move into.

But let’s look at the implications of this assumption:

·         The government knew there was a shortage of one and two bedroom houses

·         The government knew that most affected households included a disabled person

·         The government knew that people would fall into arrears or cough up their £14 per bedroom because they had no choice

·         And the government knew that when it talked about fairness and overcrowding it was being disingenuous.

The bedroom tax had nothing to do with fairness as claimed, because the government knew the policy would hurt the poorest and those least able to defend themselves, nor did it have anything to do with helping overcrowded families move into bigger houses, because the government assumed that was never going to happen.

This has to be the most ruthless, manipulative, callous and mendacious government of all time.  

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