Draft Benefits Cuts Feature

Aim

The plan is to write a UK / Sheffield feature on this issue, but to also make it slightly broader than just cuts in Incapicity Benefit — try to cover Labours history of cutting benefits of different groups of people and the way they seem to be picking them off one at a time starting with some of the most vunerable first...

Background

In 1999 asylum seekers faced cuts and in May this year citizens of the new Eastern EU countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) became the first EU citizens to have the right to live here but have no right to any state support if they are jobless and homeless (this is true?) — work or get nothing.

Now the target is the 2.7 million people on incapacity who the government are trying to force into work using their Pathways to Work scheme.

more stuff needed...!

Mainstream media reports

During the 80s claims for Incapacity Benefit were encouraged to keep politically sensitive unemployment figures down:

during the 1980s, the old Department of Employment was happy for people to claim sickness benefit instead of unemployment benefit. It issued quotas to jobcentre managers to keep unemployment down

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/economics/comment/0,11268,1591042,00.html

Blunketts "eight principles of welfare reform" http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4325664.stm

Analysis

New Labour started off in office by cutting Lone Parents benefit. http://www.labournet.net/other/0409/disability1.html

The impetus to force lone mothers into low paid work or face losing their benefit has its origins in an uneasy alliance of liberals promoting 'opportunity' and authoritarian Christians promoting the 'traditional family', says Irene Bruegel http://www.redpepper.org.uk/cularch/xwelfare.html

As with the case of asylum, government policy sets out to stigmatise and scapegoat the most vulnerable in order to legitimise cuts in social spending and attacks on democratic rights... A steep increase took place between 1981 and 1991 as the Conservative government carried out a major dismantling of heavy industry and mining. Many of those made unemployed were left with obsolete skills, their health ruined by years of intensive and hazardous work. The increase in the number of people moving off unemployment benefit and onto disability benefit also helped to massage the official unemployment figures. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/jul2001/ben-j19.shtml

Newswire material

Activists in Sheffield have organised a national conference on proposed cuts to Incapacity Benefit: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/10/324930.html

And they plan a small protest on Saturday: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/10/324978.html

In Manchester a refugee died in September after setting fire to himself in desperation of having his benefits cut. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/manchester/2003/09/276672.html

BLUNKETT has to be stopped from further illegal attacks on lawful claimants http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/10/325318.html

News reports on 'beenfit fraud' are untruthful, misleading, illegal http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/10/325406.html

BENEFIT CLAIMANTS ARE FACING MORE INTIMIDATION! http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/02/305617.html

PCS Union in massive row over benefit direct payments http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/02/304633.html

Blair to trash incapacity benefit http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london/2004/10/299216.html

Precarity: New forms of exploitation, new forms of resistance at Beyond ESF http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/299066.html
Topic revision: r3 - 13 Oct 2005, ChrisC
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