Welfare rights in this country are slowly being eroded. Most of us have at some stage the need to be on benefit of one description or other. Others of us are stuck in a situation not of our own making where we are trapped by poverty, family break down or disability and the result of government policy that restricts us from being able to break out of a benefit trap.
Instead of realistically helping members of our community who for whatever reason need to be on benefits the government is now firmly on the attack. While the bankers are rewarded for their mess we are attacked for choices not of our own.
If you are unemployed, a single parent, sick or disabled, in temporary or insecure work or on a Jobcentre Plus scheme the new Welfare Reform Bill aims to make your life a whole lot harder.
As has been quoted elsewhere
“Being unemployed isn’t our fault and we’re sick of being treated like we’ve done something wrong when we’re using the Jobcentre.
We believe that by coming together and standing up for eachother we can get the rights we are so often denied when we’re claiming what is rightfully ours.”
Norfolk Community Action Group aim to take co-operative action to help individuals with their claims; to improve treatment in job centres and to collectively fight against welfare abolition.
Keep an eye out for news of a public meeting on the subject soon. Transport will be provided for people who can’t afford to travel.
WELFARE NOT WORKFARE
• We want solidarity with and from people in low-income, temporary and insecure work. These are the jobs that ‘work-for-your-benefit’ would replace.
• We want caring to be recognised as important work in society. Single parents are already working and benefits are their entitlement to a social wage.
• We want justice for people with severe or enduring illnesses. The drive to get people off incapacity benefits and Employment and Support Allowance and into work is making people more ill with stress. Only we know what we are capable of and it is wrong for conditions and sanctions to be imposed on us to force us into unsuitable work, unwanted “work-related activity” or “motivation sessions” which press us into their programmes of treatment for addictions and other conditions.
• We want the right not to work. People not in waged work contribute loads to their communities. We do not want to be forced into mind-numbing, insecure work that leaves us no better off, or worse off than on benefits and definitely not at £1.27 an hour!
• We want free, high-quality, public services to support older people and people with impairments/disabilities. People should not have to become employers managing ‘individual budgets’ in order to access the care they need.
• We want to stand in solidarity with migrant workers. Just as unemployed people are pitted against people in work, so migrant workers are pitted against us. We believe that we must stand together and demand all of our rights together.
• We want to fight privatisation of the Department for Work and Pensions. Attacks on DWP and Jobcentre Plus workers are attacks on our rights to access welfare. We will support the PCS’ fight against cuts.
• We want an end to the apartheid system of benefits, healthcare and housing for asylum seekers. UK Border Agency support should be scrapped — where people are forced to survive on incomes far below benefit levels – which are already set at subsistence level. No slum housing and dangerous and dirty hostels, dispersal, or vouchers.