National Lobby of Parliament and Rally
4th December 2006
11am to 5pm
Bring your Voice
Bring Your Friends
Bring Your Questions
Welfare Reform not Welfare Destruction!
Rally will be opposite the St Stephens Entrance to Parliament, from there we want groups and individuals to go and lobby their MPs, and challenge them about their position on the Welfare Reform Bill. Event starts at 11am (main speakers 1.00 pm) to give people a chance to come along as they have time, during their lunch etc.
Challenge the Bill…
After the vibrant lobby by the newly established Coalition at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, which heard speakers including Alex Kemp, national officer of the NUS Disabled Students’ Campaign and John McDonnell MP, CAWRB has arranged a Lobby of Parliament and a Rally outside it, to let the Government know that we oppose the current Welfare Reform Bill.
These reforms are the most significant in sixty years, in many ways redefining the relationship of the state to disabled people claiming benefits. If passed the bill will bring in a form of US-style workfare, it will see disabled people threatened with the loss of benefits and possibly forced into unsuitable work or medical treatments, a massive intervention by the state into an individuals personal health, on top of abolishing housing benefit in the private rented sector. In the present bill, even when someone is “unable to see, unable to hear, unable to stand, unable to dress, even incontinent of bowels four times a month,” they will not be exempt from the provisions of the Bill! The Bill fails to address major issues such as incorrect medical assessments and discrimination by employers. CAWRB is also very concerned about the involvement of major charities and their potential conflicts of interest. Many disabled people are very concerned and very angry about these changes. We say that the disability benefits regime is almost unbearable now.
Helping Disabled People?
The current Welfare Reform Bill is clearly not based on helping people but on the Government’s desire to meet arbitrarily set targets. This is evidenced by its own Green Paper on the subject, which lays out its aims as Target Numbers by which it wants to reduce the ‘current stock’ of benefits claimants.
Positive Welfare Reform
Disabled People are not against welfare reform, but what we want is reform that puts the needs of the individual first, helping us to live independently and actively within society.
Welfare reform needs to help people feel they are valued by society, not pitied, frowned upon as ‘spongers,’ or degraded. Benefits should support us as and when needed and always include us as equals. CAWRB is in the process of developing a manifesto for
positive welfare reform.
Bernard Little has said:
"The whole of our benefit system is built on the myth that if we are not in
paid work we are up to no good. Swinging the lead. Shirking. Pretending we
are ill. And this cruel myth hits the most vulnerable the hardest. We need
to have a far more flexible benefit system that breaks down the barrier
between paid and unpaid work. That recognises the reality of life with its
ups and downs, good days and bad days, our sickness and health. A benefits
system that recognises that we are all different."
CAWRB is a wide network of self-organised groups, with over 40 different organisations of Disabled People so far affiliated and with more joining daily.
For more information and the latest news go to
Phone 01362 850130