Benefit rights — we’re entitled to survive!

Ahead of the general election, we’re sick and tired of government and Labour politicians hyping up attacks on our disability benefit rights — and PM Rishi Sunak’s plans to squeeze welfare to pay for tax cuts. In any case, the reduction in National Insurance Contributions announced in the Spring Budget, enriches high earners the most. Low-waged and part-time women workers get to keep a little more income, which will be wiped out by higher Council Tax and energy bills.

Here are some photos and press coverage of the UK day of action on 4 March called by DPAC with participation by many claimants and groups. We showed we’re determined to uphold our benefit rights — protesting all together for #No More Benefit Deaths, and fighting individual cases one by one.

WinVisibl;e women holding the banner and placards outside the DWP building.    Tracey wears a photo of Elaine Morrall.  Other placards: Stop all benefit cuts and sanctions.  Hands off Substantial risk to health -- protection for claimants.  DWP Death Worry Persecution -- oppose tightening of WCA! Gill holds photos of her brother David Clapson.  A man holding red Unite Community banner.

On the day of action, WinVisible / Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign women joined Gill Thompson (above left, bereaved sister of David Clapson), Disabled People Against Cuts, Unite Community groups, scores of people who travelled from near and far to protest outside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Disabled mums Elaine Morrall and Jodey Whiting who tragically died, were among those remembered. Mothers should never be cut off benefit!  This is one of the demands of our Disabled Mothers’ Rights Charter.

Errol Graham, who starved to death after his ESA was cut off, was also remembered with a big portrait photo from happier times. A few years ago, we supported his daughter-in-law Alison’s legal challenge that the DWP had a duty to do more to protect claimants with mental distress, but the court sided with the DWP.

Our friends Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty were outside the Jobcentre in Leith with their claimants' information stall and protest as part of the Day of Action.
Our friends Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty outside the Jobcentre in Leith with their claimants’ information stall and protest as part of the Britain-wide Day of Action.

WinVisible helps women win our benefit rights case by case.  We read out from a letter of apology we got from Maximus (CHDA) for mistreating a woman with mental distress who we supported. She won continued Universal Credit disability element by paper-based assessment — after a series of discriminatory incidents against her as a vulnerable claimant.

After the speak out, many people blockaded the road opposite Westminster Abbey.

We were interviewed by Big Brother Watch against the DWP bank spying Bill. Video here.

Camden New Journal 7 March 2024, page 18

Photo of Unite Community members holding four placards in blue and red capitals: No More Benefit Deaths.

Campaigners fearing further benefit cuts take their protest to the DWP

Campaigners warned that the general election build-up is bringing a new attack on welfare as they rallied outside the Department for Work and Pensions, writes Tom Foot.

Women’s disability group WinVisible, and the Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ Group were among organisations to join the demonstration on Monday. 

It came as part of a national day of action ahead of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget that was expected to hit benefits.

WinVisible’s Claire Glasman said: “The attack on welfare is part of the electioneering that is setting so-called ‘hard-working people’ against the ‘scroungers’.  So we are worried that whoever comes in, there is going to be cuts to benefits.  Keir Starmer has been equally tough on welfare in his speeches, talking about people on long-term illness benefit choking the economy.  We are there to say we are entitled to survive.  We need money to live on.”

Ms Glasman said the cuts would hit mothers, and also see an increase in benefit sanctions.

She said the lives of people with Long COVID and other long-term health conditions would be worsened by the next government.

She said: “People are struggling with the cost of living and care charges.  We want policy changes so it’s not so life-and-death.

“But even trying to lobby your MP these days, it’s so hard.  The MPs are unresponsive, they don’t speak out against the party line.”

Ms Glasman said her group helped many people successfully contest decisions to cut benefits, but that they did not have the resources to fight everyone’s case.

Mr Hunt did not mention the disabled once in his budget speech yesterday.

Links to more press reports

Similar protest in Ireland

Politicians and activists rally against ‘ableist’ government proposals on disability allowance

Campaigners fear some disabled people could be forced to work when they cannot.

The Journal, Ireland

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