Posts Tagged ‘labour’

South Tyneside Welfare Protest Meeting – Hardest Hit/PSA

3 September 2012

Welfare Protest Meeting – South Shields

On Friday night I attended a meeting held in South Shields Town Hall, jointly held by local Public Services Alliance and Hardest Hit North East Group.  I would say approx 100-120 people attended. They consisted of local councillors, residents, representatives from various unions.

Chairing the meeting was Tina Roche (Unison), with speeches from Iain Malcom, Leader of the Council, David Miliband MP and Peter Bennetts, spokesperson for HH North East. All outlined the huge problems ahead. Tina ensured that more time was given for questions and statements from the floor.

Iain Malcom

Mr. Malcolm covered many issues that would affect our local area. Cuts to services, impact of welfare reform. He also spoke of proposed bedroom tax and abolition of council tax. Huge concerns re social care.

Mr Miliband

Mr. Miliband spoke about 3 warnings – Awareness, Protest and Preparation.

More work needs doing raising awareness of welfare benefit changes, as so many people are still unaware of what is in the pipeline ahead.

Protest – protest voices need to be heard and more grassroots groups, charities, unions need to work together. Protests, petitions, write to MPs outlining how changes are impacting on families.

Preparation – How we need prepare for the Tsunami of change, not just locally but nationally. People will need advice, support and information.

He spoke of the impact of welfare reform on families and the fear of them using loansharks.  A place for credit unions. Impact on local services. Of Alf Morris. Local housing issues.


Comment was made from the floor by Stuart Bracking (DPAC North East) that there should be a 4th point made, and that is Reflection.  Labour need look back on their policies; amend mistakes made, especially with the work capability assessment. I hope to have a statement from Stuart soon to add here.

Lady from floor said that Labour need to be a stronger opposition party, as this is not visible to people.

Peter Bennetts

Peter was excellent. He outlined many of the changes ahead re welfare benefits and held nothing back, describing the fear among disabled people regarding losing their independence.  He spoke of the Hardest Hit rallies already held and informed us of the next event to be held in Newcastle October 27th. Also there will be HH members attending the A Future that Works protest Oct 20th

Participating in the meeting meant I have only managed to note down some of the topics discussed, not all, but will hopefully give you an idea of the issues raised.

Bedroom tax was raised time and time again.

Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment

Loss of DLA could mean a double whammy for families if Carers Allowance is lost too.

Employment Support Allowance and Work capability Assessment not fit for purpose

Cuts to care services will bring added pressure on carers, many of whom are struggling now.

Those in low paid jobs and effect if lose their council tax benefit and need to find money to pay an increased charge.

Loss of Independent Living Fund

Loss of local jobs as council makes cuts

Impact of welfare reform on social care – NHS and social services departments will not be able to cope

Overall the meeting went very well. It was a great opportunity for local people to come together and realise they are not alone.

As a campaigner the biggest issue for me was Awareness. It was mentioned from the front table about how councils, and other bodies/organisations do not want to alarm people too soon about the changes. This was disputed from the floor. Marion, local resident, stood up and said people need informed now. It was waiting too long re welfare reform that meant too little time to fight.

Friday was the start of our local fight and arrangements already in place for further meetings.



Please sign  PAT’S PETITION


We need an election on the cuts

24 February 2011

Letter in the Guardian   24th Feb 2011 supported by  Carer Watch

The government’s implementation of welfare reform is destroying the covenant of care between disabled people and the welfare state (Report, 23 February). The most vulnerable people in our country are being subjected to cruelty. The work capability assessment is not fit for purpose. It is denying employment support allowance to those whom the 2007 Welfare Reform Act deemed it not reasonable to require to work.  

The assessment lacks public and medical accountability. Criteria about what constitutes an “illness” and a “disability” have been increasingly narrowed over the years into a set of descriptors that fail to recognise the complex problems and needs of those who are mentally ill, or who have intermittent illnesses or communicative conditions. 

We want a system that is flexible and supportive of disabled people and which helps people into good, appropriate jobs with decent wages. One that values and supports those who are unable to work, and that insures us all against the misfortunes of illness and disability.

Jon Cruddas MP Labour, Dagenham & Rainham,

Neil Coyle Director of policy, Disability Alliance,

Anna Healy Labour, House of Lords,

Gavin Hayes General secretary, Compass,

Professor Jonathan Rutherford Middlesex University,

Professor Peter Beresford Brunel University,

Steve Griffiths Researcher and Consultant,

Rhydian Fôn James The Broken of Britain,

Frances Kelly, Rosemary O’Neill Carerwatch,

Alison Wiles, Anna Kennedy, Carole Rutherford co-founders, Act Now – Autism Campaigners Together

Alan Wheatley – Green Party spokesperson on social security and care services

17 January 2011

I find it quite frankly laughable that Labour’s Disability Spokesperson should say that ConDem policy on disability benefits “is driven entirely by economic factors”  unless she means neo-liberal economics ideology.

Compare and contrast the wisdom of her judgement with the fact that the current Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud was originally headhunted by Tony Blair as a welfare reform guru, despite the fact that the then Mr David Freud knew absolutely nothing about the benefits system.

Green Party policy toward disability benefits is incorporated into Citizens Income policy.

Alan Wheatley
Green Party Spokesperson on:
Social Security  – Care Services

“The Beginning of Something Big” –

17 January 2011
About 100 anti-cuts campaigners, (blogpreston has it at 60, but I reckon there were easily more than that) braved high winds and freezing rain to demonstrate their opposition to the raft of cuts being pushed through by the government, by Lancashire County Council and by Preston City Council, yesterday, (sat 15th January 2011).
Glynis Murphy, a family carer spoke about the enormous savings that family carers deliver to the government every year by caring for their disabled family members at home. It made no sense to make the job of family carers even harder by cutting the resources available to them.
read article in full here
and also BlogPreston

Campaign to protect Disability Benefits

26 September 2010

Come join our campaign to protect the Disability Benefits.

ESA campaign

Join the discussion forum

Carer Watch response to 21st Century Welfare reform

Cuts to Welfare

19 September 2010

The government is consulting on its plans for Welfare Reform in a consultation called 21st Century Welfare

These are the questions

1. What steps should the Government consider to reduce the cost of the welfare system and reduce welfare dependency and poverty?

2. Which aspects of the current benefits and Tax Credits system in particular lead to the widely held view that work does not pay for benefit recipients?


Benefit cheats -Isn’t it time politicians picked on someone their own size?

28 August 2010


by Peter Beresford, professor of social policy at Brunel University and chair of service user network Shaping Our Lives

As with all wars, in the government’s ‘war on benefit cheats’, the first casualty appears to be the truth. The evidence has long shown that at least as much money in benefits – and probably a lot more – is saved because of people’s reluctance to claim their entitlement, than is lost through bad administration and abuse. Now a new sense of division and oppression is developing in our society. I listen to people working in the private sector baying for public sector pensions to be reduced, rather than making the case for their own to be increased.

Read full article here

Budget fightback – Save DLA

24 June 2010

Please come join us build this campaign to to protect Disability Living Allowance here

Support from groups

Responses already coming in include…


Well done Laura Sandys

15 June 2010

Picture 9

Last night Laura Sandys, who won the Kent seat of Thanet South at the general election delivered her maiden speech in the Commons.

At the start of Carers’ Week, she took the opportunity to highlight the importance of government supporting those who selflessly care for relatives..

see full article here

Carer Watch response to White Paper Social Care

15 April 2010

Carer Watch acknowledges the White Paper on Social Care, “Building a National Care Service”, for the importance it places on vital issues that will affect our society as a whole. Whilst elements of the paper hold true, we believe the starting point to be incorrect. Any proposal suggested to date, if implemented, would not be sustainable long term, without the strong foundation that family carers provide. They are the base that any new National Care Service must build upon. Both the NHS and Social Services rely heavily upon families shouldering the main burden of care now, and will do even more so in the future.

The most glaringly obvious omission in the White Paper is the ……..  read in full  here

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