Save our welfare state! Cheshire West Against the Cuts.

The following hot-off-the-press flier text of interest to people with and without disabilities, families with disabilities/children with disabilities who may be joining with others in support of the strike action this Thursday. The writer Richard Atkinson works full-time –  has multiple sclerosis and offers some answers to the question: “Why is it important for disabled people, their families and friends to support and be supported by the nationwide rallies on Thursday?” – (Town Hall Chester 12.30 p.m. and DVLA office picket 8.00 a.m see map) Richard’s initial copy (which may be updated as new information comes to light) follows here:

“CHESHIRE WEST AGAINST THE CUTS – SAVE OUR WELFARE STATE!

 The Coalition government is systematically dismantling our welfare state. Since 1948 everyone has assumed that help and support would be available for the elderly and for disabled people, for people who become sick or disabled for children and for people who become unemployed. The new welfare state was rightly heralded as An End to Fear – basic security for all in return for national insurance payments. 

By 2014 all this will be gone. The only help and support available will be:

  • strictly means tested
  • strictly policed, with spot fines for any errors you make in your claim, privatised medical assessments imposing impossible criteria and privatised ‘work for your benefit’ programmes
  • at much lower levels than at present in many cases, especially for the most severely disabled and for people in work. 

From April 2011 levels of tax credits for families and disabled people in low paid work have been cut back – with more to come. Housing Benefit, for rent, and help with mortgage interest payments having also been cut back making decent housing unaffordable for many. 

From April 2012 hundreds of thousands of people who were forced to leave work by long term health conditions will lose all their benefit payments (incapacity benefit and contributory employment support allowance). People with a working partner or with any other significant income or savings will get no  extra help after their first 12 months illness.  

From April 2013 disabled people claiming Disability Living Allowance will face privatised medical assessments (by ATOS) applying new criteria which will offer help only with very basic functions like dressing and eating.  Even people who are blind, deaf or paralysed will qualify for reduced, if any, help. 

Even emergency payments (crisis loans) and payments to people leaving residential care (community care grants) are being abolished. 

All that will be left is a miserly system, administered distantly without human contact, and working on the assumption that anyone who tries to claim state benefits is a potential criminal. And tens of thousands of jobs in the present system are under threat. Overall, the coalition government is planning to reduce expenditure on benefits and tax credits for people aged 16-65 by over one-fifth by 2014. 

Meanwhile the rich grow richer: top executive pay and bankers’ bonuses are rising without restriction, companies get away with billion pound tax dodges.

COPY ENDS. Written by Richard Atkinson in an individual capacity.

For more information on the Cheshire West Against the Cuts Coalition – which includes people in paid work and out, trades union members, parents, members of political parties and none –  join the cheshire west against the cuts facebook group.

Update: for further analysis of what is happening in the special needs jungle right now – check out Guerilla Mum’s blog at this link: http://guerrillamum.wordpress.com/

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Strikers and those in solidarity including NUT members and supporters from the general public will rally on Chester Town Square at 12.30 p.m. see map under the Cheshire West Against the Cuts coalition umbrella. The rally is the first of it’s kind for twenty years. Children, teachers, carers, parents and grandparents will be gathering there too – together with people with disabilities, their communities and familes – those campaigning to save the NHS and turn the tide on the devastating cuts to disability and welfare benefits  (see previous post). […]

    Reply

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