Yester, I went to a brilliant and very moving Palestinian evening, yet when i tried to give out some out flyers for the welfare meeting, a fair few people just shrugged and walked on. Well, aren't people important here as well?. I certainly don't compare the awful trials and horrors people have to face in the Middle East and Africa with those who still have a (rapidly diminishing) welfare state and a peaceful home here. But surely socially aware peple can see misery is misery and that oppresion is present here and should be challenged.
Sheffielders: download the flyer and distribute
End the Silence: End the Disability Benefit Cuts!
Life for those on Disability Benefits in Sheffield and beyond….
Saturday 27th Nov 2004 1pm –4pm
St Matthews Church Hall, Carver St, Sheffield
A Public Meeting to discuss the proposed changes in welfare benefits and to raise awareness of the difficulties, health issues and concerns of those, the disabled and chronically ill who receive these benefits and who have no real voice.
Reform of incapacity benefit is one of the key seven
challenges facing us in the new term.’
‘Like many disable peopled I am terrified of these cuts and changes, it is already a distressing experience claiming such benefits’
A disability benefit recipient
With Guest Speaker
Colin Hampton: Co-Ordinator: Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre
Visual presentation: how disability/chronically ill welfare issues are treated in the media.
We have invited an individual claimant who will
describe what life is like on these benefits and the difficulties in claiming them
= others to be arranged
Time will be available for individuals to tell us their own stories of being on disability benefits in today’s Britain.
Refreshments Available/info stall, etc...
Organised by Sheffield Social Forum and Sheffield Welfare Action Network (S.W.A.N), supported by Sheffield Green Party, the Peace Corporation and others.
Why this meeting is happening..
During the Summer, we became aware of a number of
stories, highlighting the prevalence of
disability benefits and specifically that of
incapacity benefit. They were along the lines of
‘millions of scroungers receiving massive benefits
while doing nothing’. Our intuition was that a big
purge on welfare was coming, particularly on the chronically ill with ‘invisible’ disabilities, we were right!: Andrew Smith, the Works and Pension minister partly resigned because of the cuts. The new ministers, Milburn and
Johnson being hatchetmen have no such scruples and as
a report in The Telegraph documents, ‘everything is up
for grabs’ and the Observer reports:
Fewer carrots, more of the stick’
Alan Milburn will have a new target in his sights: the
2.7 million people who claim incapacity benefit
‘Downing Street is drawing up plans for a crackdown on
the sickness culture which has left almost three
million Britons on long-term benefits, arguing that
many have been left to languish and could be helped
back to work’
Recently in Hungary, Blair even described disabled benefit recipients as layabouts and that the money should be taken off them to pay for decent folks pensions. No 10 has started using language like 'hard working families' to demarcate these paragons of virtue from those on welfare.(shades of Clinton)
These proposed changes/cuts coming on top of many years of changes/cuts by stealth may be the final straw for the well being of disabled/chronically. It is very very hard to get such benefits ‘at present’ and we know of many very ill people who have been refused.
Unfortunately the media is now really running with the issue. Recently, Tonight with Trevor McDonald had a half hour special on ‘disability benefit fraud’. However, about 4 years ago the former DSS Social Policy Unit after 3 years research found that there was an estimated underclaim for DLA/AA of around 40% and over 200,000 claimants come off DLA each year since they have only had a temporary disability due to for example an industrial accident or illness that responds to treatment, including surgery. In real terms claims for IB are only slightly up on what they were 20 years ago.
Our big question may be: in the fourth richest country why are they
attacking the most vulnerable and why is there such a lack of interest from progressive forces and indeed the general public in such issues. Remember, anyone can become ill or disabled……?
How can we/you change things/What can you/we do?
Write to your mp
M’p do take notice, particularly of individually written letter and the volume of such letters
Write to the media, put disabled/chronically ill welfare issues on the radar
Take action, lobby/protest outside your mp’s office, govt buildings, media buildings,
Join welfare benefit discussion groups
Excellent independent site here