* Unemployed people are being forced to work without pay.
* Disabled people are being deprived of their entitlement to benefits through the devastating Work Capability Assessment process.
* People can now be left destitute for up to two years through benefit sanctions.
* The right to housing is under attack: Housing benefit cuts are set to make thousands homeless. The right-wing called for evictions in response to the riots, even before courts had found people guilty.
* Private companies stand to make millions through bullying claimants on the Work Programme.
* Legal aid cuts make it harder to challenge bad treatment.
* The only benefit that was available to people under 18 – EMA – has been abolished by this government.
* Single mothers are being forced to be job-seekers when their children are at an even younger age.
* Asylum seekers are forced to survive on incomes far below benefit levels, which are already set at subsistence level.
* The full impact that the Universal Credit will have is yet to be understood.
But people across the UK are organising to defend welfare. The Boycott Workfare campaign recently forced the “Making Work Pay” conference to relocate at short notice. Atos, the private company responsible for depriving hundreds of thousands of people of sickness benefits, has had many of its offices occupied, costing it thousands of pounds. Claimants are sharing information on how to challenge the bullying and discrimination that is rife in the new set-up.
This gathering is open to everyone who wants to take action to defend welfare. We are a claimant-led network – our response to welfare reforms is led by people who feel their effects the most – but the attacks on welfare will affect us all whether we are in work or may need welfare as parents, if we become unemployed, due to sickness or disability, or as pensioners.
We plan to run the day with lots of discussion and chances to share ideas and information in workshops and an open space session where we can set the agenda on the day. If you can offer a workshop or would like to propose something for the agenda, please get in touch.
Please help make the day happen:
* Let us know you can make it!
* The network does not have any funding, so if your group or union branch can make a contribution to the costs of the room or participants’ travel, please help raise funds for it. Groups and individuals may want to approach union branches or organise fundraisers to raise funds for your travel.
* Let us know if you can help with food, childcare or facilitation on the day.
* Forward this invite to anyone else you know who might be interested, post it on your blog or social media; mention it at meetings, and help spread the word!