4 September 2014
Copied from antibedroomtax.org.uk
On 11th September the Anti-Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Campaign is holding a day of protest: say no to claimant sanctions, bedroom tax and benefit cuts.
Government attacks on benefits mean hunger, debt and fear. Ex-soldier David Clapson died hungry and destitute after his benefits were stopped, the latest in a string of deaths and suicides related to sanctions and benefit cuts. The overwhelming majority of referrals to food banks are due to claimants being sanctioned.
Sanctions cutting benefits of disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance, rose by nearly 580 percent between March 2013 and March 2014, and total sanctions rose to over a million last year, from 100,000 in 2010 (DWP figures).
PCS union is supporting the 11 September protests. Research by PCS members working in the DWP revealed that 82% of members felt ‘pressured’ into sanctioning claimants, and 62% said they had made ‘inappropriate’ sanctions decisions.
Protests have forced Government to promise changes: see Review report. But sanctions remain a vicious plank of the Government’s punitive welfare reforms, and are still supported by Labour in parliament.
Join us on one of protests below or organise your own. Demand an end to the Bedroom Tax and link it to the slogan: ‘No sanctions for claimants, No targets for staff’. Build links with local PCS members – contacts for local PCS in DWP
and PCS regions (use contact tab)
The Bedroom Tax is almost dead – we will demand MPs kill it now and up the pressure to beat the sanctions regime too. Let us know any actions you are planning so we can promote them.
Fighting Benefit Sanctions
The government has a policy of increasing sanctions to force people off benefits. More than 800,000 people have been sanctioned
in the last year. Referrals to food banks are mainly due to claimants being sanctioned.
Martin Cavanagh is the PCS Group Exec member for civil servants working in the DWP. The PCS union resolved at their recent conference to oppose both Workfare and Benefit Sanctions. He explained the three central reasons behind the Tories policy of increasing sanctions; Further demonisation of the poor, financial savings for the government, and driving a wedge between claimants and workers.
A PCS survey
of members working in the DWP revealed that 82% of members felt ‘pressured’ into sanctioning claimants, and 62% said they had made ‘inappropriate’ sanctions decisions.
The Kirklees Axe The Tax group have used a banner : No Sanction for Claimants! No Targets for Staff! This attracted claimants and some staff to their stall outside a job centre.
Roger Lewis speaking for DPAC
said that ‘more needed to be done by the PCS.’ But, he insisted, ‘we will not allow the government to divide us. Those working for the DWP alongside claimants have a common interest, we are locked together in a common fight against the Tories.’
‘More will be done from our union the PCS over the sanctions,’ explained Martin.
‘Advice for claimants on how to challenge sanction decisions has now been agreed between our union, the PCS, Unite the Union Community branches, and campaigners against sanctions. That advice will be issued shortly.’
Research has shown that only 1 in 50 claimants who are sanctioned appeal the decision. Of those 90% win their appeal. Forthcoming advice will explain to claimants how they can appeal.
To launch the joint advice and joint campaign, we agreed a day of action against benefit sanctions for Thursday 11th September.
Protests will be organised in every region outside key DWP headquarters or similar high profile government offices.
London. 11am Old Palace Yard Westminster, London. SW1P 3JY