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Press Release: Impact of benefit sanctions raised by anti-cuts group

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:46
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Press Release: Impact of benefit sanctions raised by anti-cuts group

Contact: James Beecher 07734 058789

Local campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts will:

1.       Host a screening of “I, Daniel Blake” by Ken Loach at The Prince Albert on Wednesday 29th March, followed by a Q&A (7-9.40pm) – and,

2.       Hold a stall outside Stroud Job Centre Plus on Thursday 30th March to coincide with a National Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions (12noon-2pm, gathering for a photograph at 1pm).


Ken Loach’s film “I, Daniel Blake”[i] – winner of Outstanding British Film at the BAFTAs and the Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival will be screened Wednesday 29th March at The Prince Albert in Stroud[ii]. Entry to the film is free, and accompanied by talks about local people in similar situations to those featured in the film from Stroud Against the Cuts, Stroud Citizens Advice and The Homeless Period Gloucestershire. Donations toward the campaigning and support work provided by the organisations will be collected.

The film follows Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) - a 59-year-old widowed carpenter as he navigates the benefits system when a heart attack leaves him unable to work. Despite his doctor's diagnosis, he is denied benefits. As Daniel undertakes an appeal, he develops a bond with a destitute, single mother (Hayley Squires) who's struggling to take care of her two children.

The screening has been arranged ahead of a National Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions, organised by the Unite Community union for people in and out of work[iii]. 100,000 people have had their benefits stopped by sanctions in the last 12 months. Unite Community say “These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as: Arriving minutes late to a meeting, not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job, and missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.” Members of Stroud Against the Cuts will gather outside Stroud Job Centre from 12noon-2pm on Thursday 30th March to hand out information, in solidarity with actions around the country.

James Beecher, spokesperson for Stroud Against the Cuts, said: “Half a million people have had their benefits stopped by sanctions in the past year, many of whom have been plunged into poverty  - unable to heat their homes or even eat. We’ve heard horror stories from people using the local Job Centre, and want to ensure people applying for benefits are aware of their rights, and that more fortunate people in our community are aware of the impact of the government’s policies”

Sally Pickering, chief officer at Stroud Citizens Advice – who will speak before the film screening and answer questions after it, said in January: “There’s definitely been an increased demand for our services. Half of the issues we encounter are money related – we all have them in different forms, many people have never experienced issues with money like debt before but then a life changing experience happens such as divorce or illness and things get out of hand.” [iv]

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:50
 

How to appeal against a reduction in your housing benefit (bedroom tax)

Monday, 22 September 2014 14:13
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Help for people hit by the bedroom tax

Are you a council or Housing Association tenant? Has your Housing Benefit been reduced because of the bedroom tax (under-occupancy charge)?

About 400 people in Stroud have been affected since April last year, losing up to a quarter of HB.

There’s a chance that you may be able to get your bedroom tax rent arrears wiped, reduced and/or capped, but to have the best chance, you need to act now (before mid October).

Act now - you’ve nothing to lose

Submit an official appeal on the 2-page form ‘GL24’ NOW (http://bit.ly/1wh6SrG) and give it to the council.

Need help?

We can help you get hold of the forms and fill them in. We will be arranging drop-in sessions at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud GL5 (dates & times to be confirmed). Or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call Cllr Caroline Molloy on 07931 302507.

Want to do it yourself?

It must be on this official form (even if you’ve already written). Reasons you can use in an appeal include:

·         The room is too small to count as a bedroom

·         I do not use the room as a bedroom, but for another purpose

·         I need the room because someone in my household has disability / health issues, because I have my kids or carer staying part-time, because I have experienced domestic violence.

Use these expert websites suggested wording on how to fill in each section of the form:

http://bit.ly/1owIiOk (NOTE - in Section 4, put in April 2014 as the date, not March 2013)

http://bit.ly/1tBiXpN (See p3 and 4 and pick the arguments that apply to your own situation)

 

There’s no guarantee of success, but tenants across the country have successfully overturned their bedroom tax using these arguments. If the council doesn’t agree your case, the next step is to go to a tribunal hearing. If that happens, the tribunal will pay your expenses and we will ensure you have someone to go with you. Judges have been sympathetic to tenants. There’s no charge for this, so you’ve nothing to lose by trying.

What else can you do?

In addition, you could ask the council for the application form for ‘Discretionary Housing Payment’ to make up the shortfall. So far, not enough people in Stroud have claimed this money. If you applied but were rejected, write to the council asking them to ‘reconsider the decision’- and let us know (using the contact details above).

What else are we doing?

The bedroom tax is a government policy. But Stroud Against the Cuts are working with Green Councillor Caroline Molloy to push Stroud Council to change their policy so that people falling into rent arrears due to the bedroom tax are not at risk of losing their homes. If you appeal it may help our wider campaigning against the bedroom tax.

 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:09
 

Disability Benefit Cuts Campaign

Thursday, 27 September 2012 09:57
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Stroud Against The Cuts campaigned over August and September against cuts to disability benefits. This was timed to coincide with the Paralympics starting on the 29th August. DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts)/UK Uncut organised the Atos Games at offices around the UK and Stroud was a part of this. SATC protested outside the Jobcentre on Wednesday 29th, despite foul weather, and again in the High Street on the 1st of September. There was coverage of these in the Stroud Life, Stroud News and Journal and The Citizen.

 

 

Thousands of copies of the SATC-produced leaflet, Tree of Rights, have been handed out locally. The group is now planning for how to take this campaign forward. Please contact us with your ideas. The Hardest Hit are working to support people with disabilities to join the TUC march on October 20th in London. You can also sign Pat's Petition before the 1st November.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:11
 

Stroud Against the Cuts leaflet on Disability Cuts:

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:30
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Stroud Against the Cuts leaflet on Disability Cuts:

 (first produced for leafletting during the Paralympics, which have been sponsored by ATOS, the company taking disability benefits away from people)

 

Rear Page - details

 

The ASSESSMENT PROCESS FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS is inaccurate, dehumanising and humiliating, causing pain and distress to disabled people. Appeals via tribunals are costing us all £50m - about half the £100m being spent on reassessment. Assessments have been privatised - companies like Atos are making profits from government money and incentives to fail people. Atos have faced protests over their behaviour, yet are sponsoring the Paralympic games.
 
PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENT (PIP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which will be phased out in 2013. PIP will be based on the flawed medical assessments mentioned above. It is estimated this process is designed to cut out at least 20% or 650,000 people who receive payments to pay for the extra costs of disability and help them stay in work. They are not scroungers. Without benefits their lives will be decimated.
 
AUTISM
Those on the autistic spectrum are particularly at risk as their impairments are “hidden”, and not included in the “tick box” assessments. See: www.autism.org.uk
 
DIRE CONSEQUENCES for disabled people include humiliation, heavier use of NHS services, social isolation, loss of the right to live as others do, and severe depression.
 
WHO ARE THE REAL SCROUNGERS?
The government’s own figures found fraud at 0.5% of all those claiming DLA, with disability benefits having the lowest fraud rates of all benefits. Yet they and the media continually focus on “fraud” and “scroungers”.
The use of these words has tripled in the tabloid press during the last year.
 
Why are we seeing disabled people picked on? Is it because it is easy?
Where is the focus on the £120 billion tax gap? £25 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance, £70 billion in tax evasion by large companies and wealthy individuals, and £26 billion is going uncollected.
 
THE EQUALITY ACT places a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. The Welfare Reform
Act contravenes these aims. The principle of equality and the duty of promotion of equality of opportunity as regards disabled people
are all general principles of EU law and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, the Welfare Reform Act pushes disabled people into poverty and loss of equality. Is it legal?
 
We live in one of the richest countries in the world but it seems we cannot secure basic human rights for all. What reflection is it on our society when disabled people are having their rights and benefits taken away whilst £120 billion in tax is avoided and evaded each year?
 
What we call for:
Scrap the Welfare Reform Act - Full Rights for Disabled People
No cuts to Disability Benefits - No change to PIPs
Keep the private sector and financial incentives out of assessments
For more information on funding cuts and changes that affect people with disabilities, see Disabled People Against Cuts:
www.dpac.uk.net and the Hardest Hit campaign:
 
The government’s cuts disproportionately affect disabled people, but they affect us all. To find out how you can get active locally to defend our rights, and for a version of this leaflet with references and more links, see: www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk
 

Front page - headings

The Tree of RIGHTS!

under attack from the Government axe
 
BROKEN PROMISES
The Government promised to look after the most vulnerable.
 
FLAWED ASSESSMENT PROCESSES
Humiliating and dehumanising – with 50% of decisions overturned at appeal.
 
PEOPLE WITH AUTISM
At highest risk in assessments.
 
BENEFIT CUTS
To people with physical disabilities.
 
BENEFIT CUTS
To people with learning disabilities.
 
DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE
Cut by £2.17 billion - to be taken away from those for whom it is a lifeline to
normal living
 
SCROUNGERS?
The truth? 0.5% of claimants are fraudulent
 
WELFARE REFORM ACT
Whose welfare?
Why are all disability groups up in arms?
 
HUMAN RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABITIES
Where are they?
 
ATOS
French IT company profiting from harmful assessment process
 
REMPLOY
1700 workers axed
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:43
 

Press Release: Campaigners join protests against Paralympic sponsor and disability benefit cuts

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:26
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Press Release:

Campaigners join protests against Paralympic sponsor and disability benefit cuts

Members of Stroud Against the Cuts (1) will stages protests to coincide with the Paralympics in protest at the involvement of Atos as a sponsor (2). The protests will coincide with a nationwide week of protest organized by Disabled People Against Cuts and UKUncut (3), as French multinational Atos is targeted over criticisms of its treatment of people living with disabilities.

 

For the rest of this article click 'read more' below:

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:12 Read more...