11 March 2013
A brilliant Benefit Justice summit on Sat 9 March launched united opposition to benefit cuts. Tenants, disabled peoples organisations, trade unions and others grabbed the idea of a joint campaign and poured in ideas and plans to make it happen.
Anti-bedroom tax groups in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Swindon joined DPAC and Mental Health Resistance Network members, were fired up to build grassroots campaigns that challenge councils and other landlords to pledge no evictions or legal action for arrears due to benefit cuts.
Benefit cuts will hit around 27,000 people in Newcastle,Tenants Federation chair Robert Buckley said, taking £83 million a year from the City. PCS union committed their support for Benefit Justice joint action by unions and campaigners.
Action plans include 16 March bedroom tax protests in 40+ places – see Green Benches link for list. We are fighting all the benefit cuts; though some including Labour activists call for partial changes or a moratorium on the bedroom tax, we will join forces where we can.
Councillors against Cuts have invited Benefit Justice to their meeting in Birmingham on 16 March.
Budget day 20 March was the other focus for joint action, with a call for Benefit campaigners to make local links with PCS strikers, join the picket lines and speak at local rallies and the big London protests 12-2pm opposite parliament and 5.30 for protest march to Downing Street.
Regional and local Benefit Justice events are planned and another bigger national summit 11 May will assess where we’ve got to and what’s needed to kill off these vicious attacks on benefits.