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Welfare action groups UK gathering – Sat 15th Feb 2014

No Benefit Sanctions No Workfare

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Put the date in the diary! Central London venue will be confirmed soon!

Workfare has gotten a battering from the collective action of people across the UK – Seetec managers have been complaining that they are struggling to find placements to force people onto, whilst the government is depending on the Salvation Army to ‘hold the line’ as other organisations withdraw from the schemes. However, the government is determined to force through welfare cuts with a record number of sanctions for this year and the arrival of parts of Universal Credit (which is essentially one big workfare scheme). Accessing benefits is likely to get even harder than it already is as the government finds more ways to deny people of what is rightfully theirs.

But people have been organising together; as well as keeping up the inspiring workfare campaigning of the last two years, people have been setting up local support and solidarity groups in their areas. In these groups people help each other with claiming their benefits, provide information about their rights, give each other moral support in the face of the continual bullying of Job Centre Plus and take action together, including occupations of Job Centres and housing offices.

Several new groups have been set up in recent months, in Birmingham, Bristol and Lambeth. We’ve been contacted by people from other areas keen to start something there. We thought this would be a good time to organise a UK gathering for local welfare support and action groups, and those interested in starting one up, so that we can come together and learn from each others experiences.

Plans are in their early stages so if you want to get involved in making this happen or would like to facilitate a workshop, then send us an email. The rough plan is to have a series of workshops and skillshares throughout the day addressing various issues – workfare, sanctions, Universal Credit and more – and what we have been doing locally to challenge these and support each other, as well as discussing and planning what else we can do. Please help spread the word to groups and people you think would be interested in coming along and keep your eyes peeled on our blog for updates. Let’s build and strengthen our local networks to combat the Universal Credit, workfare and sanctions at every JCP and ‘welfare to work’ provider.

 

 

 

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David Litherland

There is currently a Judicial Review looking into the legality of Universal Jobmatch. If anyone would like to help by submitting their experience of being forced to share their information etc. please contact noconsentuj@gmail.com. Thanks

Landless Peasant

(From Bradford Telegraph & Argus)

'Number needing food has trebled'

"Alison Gardener, a major at Keighley Salvation Army, says they have been supporting people with food parcels and regular meals for 15 years but have never known demand as great. “I would say it has trebled,” she says..... Alison believes changes in the benefits system are contributing to some of the demand in referrals. “We have had 40 referrals from the Jobcentre over the last two weeks – people who have had their benefits stopped or their claim has been changed. But what happens when winter comes? What happens when it gets cold?” she asks.

But Alison says foodbanks aren’t the answer. She believes people need to be equipped with the skills to cope. “They need the skills to manage what they have.

“The problem doesn’t go away with a food parcel. There will always be people who cannot manage on what they are given if they don’t have the skills or the role models to show them how to manage. We are creating people who cannot manage, so they are teaching their children the same,” she adds. "

HOW, exactly, am I meant to "manage" £56 per week? My fuel bills alone in Winter come to £40 per week. Another tenner for Water, that leaves £6 per week for food, toiletries, cleaning products, catfood, clothes, travel, etc. And if my Benefit gets sanctioned what "skills" do I need to learn to be able to exist on just £27 per week, once my Bedroom Tax and Council Tax have been paid? Can Major Gardener tell me how that is even possible?

When Mjr. Gardener says "role models to show them how to manage" , is she referring to my neighbours who were eating Nettles earlier in the year? Or perhaps my friend who has just hatched a plan to get free food by grate-crashing funerals because he can't afford to eat? Or is she meaning people like my father, who fought for this country and was wounded in WW2 and worked hard and paid taxes all his life, so that I may live in a free country with all the benefits of a decent democratic industrialized society that provides me with a role to earn my keep and save for a better future or enjoy my life? Is it? Or perhaps she means role models such as my Grandfather, who worked in a Mill from age 11 to 70, and the only break he had was going off to fight in WW1 ? Why do I need better role models when the ones I have built this country out of their blood, sweat, and tears, and paid for me to have the right to unconditional adequate State Benefits and a decent standard of living?

It is the actions of this evil, wicked, vindictive, reckless Government of over-privileged rich Tory bastards that are quite deliberately causing the poverty that you are seeing Mjr. Gardener, via their Class War campaign of terror and vile demonization, marginalization and scapegoating of Society's most poor and vulnerable, and through their brutal DWP sanctions to people's only pittance of an income that is already rightfully theirs. Furthermore, YOUR organization, the Salvation Army, supports this evil unelected regime in it's efforts to crush the poor into utter destitution in order to protect the rich. Whose side do you think Jesus would have be on? Would they have sanctioned Him too?

RANT OVER :(