Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts: UK Round Up

with 11 comments

News is coming in of protests and actions around the UK as part of the National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts called for the 24th January.

With a call to focus on the poverty pimps set to make hundreds of millions out of benefit reforms, many groups have chosen to target Atos Origin, the company responsible for the punitive medical testing of disability and sickness benefits.

In London a Party and Picnic has been called in Triton Square near Euston from 2pm.  Bring music, drums, whistles, banners, food to share and brighten up the faceless corporate wasteland that is home to poverty pimps Atos Origin Ltd.

In Livingston,not far from Edinburgh, protesters will be visiting Atos Origin’s Scotland Office.  Visit the facebook page for more info, and be there from 10am.

Atos will also be the scene of a protest in Leeds called by local claimants and West Yorkshire Solidarity Federation.  Be at 1 Whitehall, Leeds from 10 am then a group will be visiting notorious poverty pimps A4e at noon.

Even the Shires are revolting with a Protest Against Disability Cuts to be held in Lydney, Gloucestershire.  Meet outside the Co-op at 1pm.

A call has gone out for protests in Burnley, whilst Hastings activists will be laying a trail of Red Drops from Hastings to London.

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Written by Universal Jobmatch

January 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

11 Responses

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  1. Jobcentre Plus to axe 9,300 jobs

    Jobcentre Plus is to axe 9,300 jobs by March 2013 as sweeping budget cuts begin to bite the very service aimed at getting people back to work.

    The news comes as official unemployment figures out on Wednesday are expected to show the number of people of out of work jumped by 45,000 in the three months to November, to 2.49m.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Jobcentre Plus was grappling with a 25pc budget cut that would lead to thousands of roles being shed nationwide over the next few years. DWP, which is also faced with 25pc spending cuts following October’s Spending Review, said it hoped the majority of job losses would come from so-called “natural turnover” – not replacing contractors whose assignments are coming to an end. Some voluntary redundancies will need to be made, however.

    The plans leave a question mark over the Jobcentre’s ability to help millions of people find jobs when it is under immense pressure to cut costs. A row over working conditions at seven Jobcentres, including Manchester and Glasgow, has already provoked a 48-hour strike due from this Thursday.

    Unemployment is expected to hit a 17-year high this year, rising from 7.9pc to about 9pc, or 2.7m, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

    A DWP spokesman said the cuts were aimed at making job centres “cost effective” and would not affect frontline services. He said: “As staffing levels reduce, we will need to reduce the size of our contact centre and benefit delivery centre networks. These are back office functions in the sense that customers do not need to visit them. Our Jobcentres will remain central to our operation. The Government’s reforms will transform and strengthen the support for people to get back into work.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8267501/Jobcentre-Plus-to-axe-9300-jobs.html

    The Torygraph

    January 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  2. A row over working conditions at seven Jobcentres, including Manchester and Glasgow, has already provoked a 48-hour strike due from this Thursday.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/8267501/Jobcentre-Plus-to-axe-9300-jobs.html

    The Torygraph

    January 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    • Suffolk Coalition For Public Services:

      Saturday Jan 22nd Stall for leaflets and petitions. Opposite Boots in Tavern Street, Ipswich. 11 am to 12.45 pm
      Student Protest March 1 pm Assemble Behind Old Co-Op in car park (I don’t have any other details to hand)

      Sunday Jan 23rd UNISON post card delivery in St Margaret’s Ward.
      Meet at the crossroads of Norfolk Rd and Suffolk Rd.
      (near Cemetery Road)

      Andrew Coates

      January 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

  3. ATOS have been hitting us recently

    http://157.203.149.11:15871/cgi-bin/blockOptions.cgi?ws-session=4228325161

    % Information related to ‘157.203.0.0 – 157.203.255.255’

    inetnum: 157.203.0.0 – 157.203.255.255
    netname: ATOSORIGINUKNET
    descr: Atos Origin
    descr: 4 Triton Square, Regents Place
    descr: London, NW1 3HG
    country: GB
    admin-c: LAW3-RIPE
    admin-c: nr4539-RIPE
    tech-c: LAW3-RIPE
    tech-c: nr4539-RIPE
    status: ASSIGNED PI
    mnt-by: SEMA-UK-AS-MNT
    mnt-lower: SEMA-UK-AS-MNT
    mnt-routes: SEMA-UK-AS-MNT
    source: RIPE # Filtered

    person: nick rourke
    address: 3300 solihull parkway,birmingham business park,
    address: birmingham
    address: west midlands b37 7yq
    e-mail: nick.rourke@sema.co.uk
    phone: +441216275303
    mnt-by: CARRIER1-MNT
    nic-hdl: nr4539-RIPE
    source: RIPE # Filtered

    person: Lee Wright
    address: Atos Origin UK
    address: Furlong House
    address: Queens Drive
    address: Nottingham
    address: NG2 1AL
    address: United Kingdom
    phone: +44 115 988 4334
    e-mail: lee.wright@atosorigin.com
    nic-hdl: LAW3-RIPE
    mnt-by: SEMA-UK-AS-MNT
    source: RIPE # Filtered

    % Information related to ‘157.203.0.0/16AS21369’

    route: 157.203.0.0/16
    descr: ATOS Origin IT
    origin: AS21369
    mnt-by: SEMA-UK-AS-MNT
    source: RIPE # Filtered

    Atos Worried?

    Work Programme

    January 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

  4. The battle against benefit cuts and “poverty pimps”

    Disabled people and their allies are fighting back against cuts – shame on the rest of us if we do not fight with them.

    Of all the obdurate lies peddled by the Conservative party in the run-up to the last General Election, perhaps the most callous was when Tory disability spokesperson Mark Harmer told key representatives of Britain’s millions of disabled and mentally unwell citizens “I don’t think disabled people have anything to fear from a Conservative government”. It turns out that disabled people have a great deal to fear.

    Despite a fraud rate of just 1%, the government is determined to toss 500,000 people who currently rely on sickness benefits into the open arms of the bleakest labour market in a generation, to cut already meagre disability stipends to starvation levels, to confiscate mobility scooters and community groups from the most needy, and to remove key services that make life bearable for thousands of families with vulnerable relatives. The party assures us that someone’s got to pick up the tab for the recklessness of millionaire financiers. So, naturally, they’re going to start with the disabled and the mentally ill.

    Disabled people, their friends, family members and allies, have much to fear – and much to fight. Today has been designated a national day of action against benefit cuts, and resistance groups across the country will be staging protests and spreading the word about how the government’s plans to dismantle most of the welfare state and privatise the rest will affect them. Housing benefit cuts mean I’m probably going to lose my home,” says Carole, 32, “but the removal of the Incapacity Benefit safety net means that I’m terrified of looking for work. If I’m made to do a job I’m not well enough for and have to leave, I’ll be left penniless. I don’t know what to do.”

    Many of the demonstrations will target private companies like Atos Origin, which have been given government tender to impose punitive and – studies have shown – largely unreliable medical testing of welfare claimants before forcing the sick to seek work that even the healthy can’t get. Campaigns like Benefit Claimants Fight Back are quite clear what they think about these companies – they are “poverty pimps”.

    As Britain’s welfare claimants who are well enough to do so take to the streets, the beleaguered workers responsible for administrating the ersatz and vituperative benefits system have just finished a 48-hour strike over the way their jobs are being restructured to meet increasingly high targets of claimant turnover. “The system is driven towards saving money at the expense of vulnerable people. We want to help people but they’re not letting us,” says William Davies, a 22-year old worker in a call centre that deals with Incapacity Benefit claims. “You get old people phoning up in floods of tears when their relatives have died.”

    “I hate them calls. We’re so limited in what we can say because all our calls are recorded and they watch us all the time. You’re chained to your desk. It’s hell working here,” he says.

    “We have people off sick with stress all the time – I’ve had to take medication for anxiety, and I normally consider myself quite a strong, down-to earth person,” Davies adds. “People come to work in floods of tears, but they’re terrified of saying they can’t cope, because they know just what happens if they have to go on the sick.

    “Nobody wants to have to deal with our system from the other end.”

    The withering of the welfare state is not just a party game. The gradual erosion of the principle, formalised in the Attlee settlement, that people who are unable to work and support themselves should not be left with nothing to live on, did not start with this government. Labour formalised the process in 2008, mounting grandiose campaigns against “welfare cheats” and flogging off support services to private companies whose express purpose was to deny benefits to as many people as possible – including, in several cases, terminal cancer patients. The argument, put forward by many commentators, that punitive welfare reform can’t be that bad because ‘Labour started it’, is the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and humming to block out the angry cries of a million human beings deprived of their dignity.

    This is more than a party game. For New Labour, the financial intimidation of the sick and vulnerable was, in part, a desperate appeal to the prejudices of voters in marginal seats, a strategy tried and tested by PR professionals in Clinton’s second term who later came to work for the Blair/Brown administration. Bullying people off benefits, however, is about more than just votes. It’s part of a creeping cultural shift towards a public consensus that there is no room in this society for the weak.

    In this country and across the developed world, labour is precarious, competition for jobs and adequate pay is fierce, workers are under terrific pressure, and anyone who cannot keep up with the rat race, whether through sickness, mental ill health or physical disability, is mistrusted and shamed. “My clients frequently express more shame that they are not able to work than over the perceived inferiority of their bodies,” comments an anonymous disability worker. “In a materialist society, apparently, the ultimate failure of the disabled is that we don’t make money.”

    We like to think of ourselves as a nation where, if anything, ‘political correctness’ has gone too far, but our attitude towards people with disabilities and mental health problems has barely improved in twenty years. A recent survey revealed that four out of five employers would prefer not to take on anyone with a history of mental health problems. Meanwhile, rather than question the terms of a target-driven labour market whose precarity routinely drives workers to the edge of mental and physical breakdown, ordinary people are taught to kick down savagely at any fellow citizen who can’t keep up.

    This is not just about a culture that puts profit before people. This is about a culture that has begun to believe, on some deep and terrifying stratum, that if one cannot turn a profit, one is not really a person at all. Disabled people and their allies are fighting back in whatever way they can. Shame on the rest of us if we do not fight with them.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2011/01/benefit-cuts-disabled-work

    New Statesman

    January 25, 2011 at 2:09 am

  5. To us, it’s an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it’s the heist of the century

    In David Cameron we have a leader whose job is to quietly legitimise a semi-criminal, money-laundering economy

    ‘I would love to see tax reductions,” David Cameron told the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, “but when you’re borrowing 11% of your GDP, it’s not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn’t.” Oh no? Then how come he’s planning the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory?

    If you’ve heard nothing of it, you’re in good company. The obscure adjustments the government is planning to the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 have been missed by almost everyone – and are, anyway, almost impossible to understand without expert help. But as soon as you grasp the implications, you realise that a kind of corporate coup d’etat is taking place.

    Like the dismantling of the NHS and the sale of public forests, no one voted for this measure, as it wasn’t in the manifestos. While Cameron insists that he occupies the centre ground of British politics, that he shares our burdens and feels our pain, he has quietly been plotting with banks and businesses to engineer the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle to the ultra-rich that this country has seen in a century. The latest heist has been explained to me by the former tax inspector, now a Private Eye journalist, Richard Brooks and current senior tax staff who can’t be named. Here’s how it works.

    At the moment tax law ensures that companies based here, with branches in other countries, don’t get taxed twice on the same money. They have to pay only the difference between our rate and that of the other country. If, for example, Dirty Oil plc pays 10% corporation tax on its profits in Oblivia, then shifts the money over here, it should pay a further 18% in the UK, to match our rate of 28%. But under the new proposals, companies will pay nothing at all in this country on money made by their foreign branches.

    Foreign means anywhere. If these proposals go ahead, the UK will be only the second country in the world to allow money that has passed through tax havens to remain untaxed when it gets here. The other is Switzerland. The exemption applies solely to “large and medium companies”: it is not available for smaller firms. The government says it expects “large financial services companies to make the greatest use of the exemption regime”. The main beneficiaries, in other words, will be the banks.

    But that’s not the end of it. While big business will be exempt from tax on its foreign branch earnings, it will, amazingly, still be able to claim the expense of funding its foreign branches against tax it pays in the UK. No other country does this. The new measures will, as we already know, accompany a rapid reduction in the official rate of corporation tax: from 28% to 24% by 2014. This, a Treasury minister has boasted, will be the lowest rate “of any major western economy”. By the time this government is done, we’ll be lucky if the banks and corporations pay anything at all. In the Sunday Telegraph, David Cameron said: “What I want is tax revenue from the banks into the exchequer, so we can help rebuild this economy.” He’s doing just the opposite.

    These measures will drain not only wealth but also jobs from the UK. The new legislation will create a powerful incentive to shift business out of this country and into nations with lower corporate tax rates. Any UK business that doesn’t outsource its staff or funnel its earnings through a tax haven will find itself with an extra competitive disadvantage. The new rules also threaten to degrade the tax base everywhere, as companies with headquarters in other countries will demand similar measures from their own governments.

    So how did this happen? You don’t have to look far to find out. Almost all the members of the seven committees the government set up “to provide strategic oversight of the development of corporate tax policy” are corporate executives. Among them are representatives of Vodafone, Tesco, BP, British American Tobacco and several of the major banks: HSBC, Santander, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, Schroders, RBS and Barclays.

    I used to think of such processes as regulatory capture: government agencies being taken over by the companies they were supposed to restrain. But I’ve just read Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands – perhaps the most important book published in the UK so far this year – and now I’m not so sure. Shaxson shows how the world’s tax havens have not, as the OECD claims, been eliminated, but legitimised; how the City of London is itself a giant tax haven, which passes much of its business through its subsidiary havens in British dependencies, overseas territories and former colonies; how its operations mesh with and are often indistinguishable from the laundering of the proceeds of crime; and how the Corporation of the City of London in effect dictates to the government, while remaining exempt from democratic control. If Hosni Mubarak has passed his alleged $70bn through British banks, the Egyptians won’t see a piastre of it.

    Reading Treasure Islands, I have realised that injustice of the kind described in this column is no perversion of the system; it is the system. Tony Blair came to power after assuring the City of his benign intentions. He then deregulated it and cut its taxes. Cameron didn’t have to assure it of anything: his party exists to turn its demands into public policy. Our ministers are not public servants. They work for the people who fund their parties, run the banks and own the newspapers, shielding them from their obligations to society, insulating them from democratic challenge.

    Our political system protects and enriches a fantastically wealthy elite, much of whose money is, as a result of their interesting tax and transfer arrangements, in effect stolen from poorer countries, and poorer citizens of their own countries. Ours is a semi-criminal money-laundering economy, legitimised by the pomp of the lord mayor’s show and multiple layers of defence in government. Politically irrelevant, economically invisible, the rest of us inhabit the margins of the system. Governments ensure that we are thrown enough scraps to keep us quiet, while the ultra-rich get on with the serious business of looting the global economy and crushing attempts to hold them to account.

    And this government? It has learned the lesson that Thatcher never grasped. If you want to turn this country into another Mexico, where the ruling elite wallows in unimaginable, state-facilitated wealth while the rest can go to hell, you don’t declare war on society, you don’t lambast single mothers or refuse to apologise for Bloody Sunday. You assuage, reassure, conciliate, emote. Then you shaft us.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/07/tax-city-heist-of-century?CMP=twt_fd

    The Guardian

    February 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

    • Poppycock, absolute poppycock! The fact of the matter is that the financial services community of the United Kingdom delivers 20% of the entire tax-take of the country. That’s 1 in 5 of all the tax pounds spent on schools and hospitals and everything else comes from this amazingly global business.

      Lord Digby Jones

      February 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

  6. I just discovered there was a protest at A4e Newcastle on the 24 January, makes a change from A4e Edinburgh. Nice to see more groups in other parts of the country protestinbg against providers.

    Here’s the link to the story and a few photos:
    http://northern.indymedia.org/articles/1311

    Funny A4e Photos

    February 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  7. http://www.facebook.com/groups/354186857986135/

    PROTEST AGAINST THESE BENEFIT CUTS!!!

    jessica lane

    June 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm

  8. For very reasonably priced mobility aids such as mobility scooters, wheelchairs, power chairs, walkers etc. feel free to visit My Mobility Care http://mymobilitycare.com

    SCG

    January 12, 2013 at 4:44 am


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