PRESS RELEASE: Disabled activists and UK Uncut plan ‘daring and disruptive’ protest against Welfare Reform Bill
For Immediate Release
Tel: UK Uncut Media Phone: 07415063231 / DPAC: 01926842253
On Saturday 28 January, activists from Disabled People Against Cuts(1), Disabled People’s Direct Action Network(2) and UK Uncut(3) will occupy an area of central London in a ‘daring and disruptive’ act of civil disobedience in opposition to the government’s Welfare Reform Bill.
The target of the action is being kept secret, with UK Uncut calling on people to meet at Holborn tube station in central London with a charged Oyster card, ready to travel to a secret location. They will use social media to guide people to the target.
The action has been organised by people directly affected by the Welfare Reform Bill. Disabled activists from as far afield as Cornwall and Edinburgh are travelling to London to take part. They will be joined by people from other activist groups including UK Uncut, Occupy London and Black Triangle. The action will also be supported by many more people from home, who are unable to attend the protest due to disability or illness.
Recent reports have shown that as a result of the bill 500,000 families stand to lose their homes while others will become ‘imprisoned in them’(4). Nearly half a million people would lose their Disability Living Allowance, including disabled children(5). People with terminal illnesses would be forced into work, and 3.2 million will be put through demanding tests that have already pushed some to take their own lives(6). According to their own research, the government’s flagship reform will push 100,000 children into poverty(7).
The government has defended the bill on the grounds that it needs to cut the deficit. However, the activists point out that much greater amounts of money are lost through tax dodging by the super-rich each year, money which could instead continue current welfare provision. In January, Private Eye revealed a further £2 billion tax dodge by Vodafone, in addition to the £6 billion scam revealed in 2010(8). The most recent dodge by Vodafone is greater than the cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which will affect half a million people.
Richard Whitehurst of DPAC said:
“These vicious cuts have already led to at least 31 disabled people committing suicide and many more are now talking about it as they feel they have no future. In the 21st century, in one of the richest nations in the world, disabled people should not be forced to live in fear every day of their lives.
Cuts to disabled people’s benefits and services will not save money but will ultimately cost the taxpayer far more as pushing disabled people into destitution and withdrawing care services will lead to an increased demand for NHS care. With the cap on benefits some single disabled people living in London will be left with only £25 a week to meet all their needs for food, heating and all other costs after paying their rent.”
Laura Miller of UK Uncut said:
“At least £25 billion of tax is avoided every single year by super rich companies and individuals, far more than the government hopes to save through this devastating bill. The government are choosing to inflict suffering on sick and disabled people rather than tackle rich tax dodgers, because they think the socially disadvantaged are invisible – that they won’t or can’t make a fuss – and the rest of us don’t care. We’re going to show them that they’re wrong.”
“Anybody could get ill, have an accident or loose their job. Any one of us could need welfare at some point in our lives. The government are destroying our safety-net. Disabled people have been at the front of the fight against the Welfare Reform Bill, we should all be supporting them because they are protesting for all of us”
1 – Disabled People Against Cuts is a UK based organisation fighting for justice and human rights for all disabled people. http://www.dpac.uk.net/ | http://twitter.com/Dis_PPL_Protest
2 – http://www.facebook.com/groups/directactionnetwork/?ref=ts
3 – UK Uncut is a grassroots anti-austerity direct action network. The announcement of the action is available at http://www.ukuncut.org/blog/message-from-the-invisible
4 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2011/dec/14/welfare-reform-families-lose-homes & http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/16050
5 – http://www.mencap.org.uk/news/article/half-million-disabled-people-may-lose-benefit
6 – http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/latest-news2/medical-test-for-dla & http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/31/consequences-benefit-changes-mental-health
7 – http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/22/housing-crisis-benefit-cuts?intcmp=239
8 – http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&