Thousands of disabled people and people on "sick" to lose benefits on the 30th April

As part of the Governments Welfare Reform Bill (now an Act), Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be limited to 12 months.  This comes into affect from the 30th April 2012 and for the first time is to be aplplied retrospectively.  This means that anyone who has been on Contribution based ESA for a year or more by April 30th will lose this benefit on April 30th.  For many this means relying on a partners income for others it means taking a cut in income while having to go on income based ESA.  The biggest losers are couples.

National day of action against ATOS

ATOS healthcare are the private IT company tasked with kicking sick and disabled claimants off benefits by classifying them as fit to work using an automated program. The Brighton Benefits Campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts organised the local contribution to the national day of action against ATOS, which saw around 25 people assemble in Brighton, street theatre depicting the computerised 'fit for work' assessment and a short march to the nearby ATOS building.

Scope to shut down DIAL UK, make all staff redundant

West Yorkshire Solidarity federation has been passed the following information which directly affects one of the locals members.

News has just come in that Scope (essentially a national non advice giving organisation) is going to shut down DIAL UK following an earlier merger.  This will affect disabled people’s advice services at a time when the need is greater.  Added to this experienced staff are being dumped.  Scope will claim that it has no option following cuts in funding, but they are still managing to pay their chief exec thousands.

We have been told the following:

Equal opportunities - New Labour style

Remploy employs over 5000 disabled staff in specially adapted premises, receiving £111 million in government funding. In May last year, the government announced the closure of many factories, with between 500 and 2000 job losses.

These factories provide a safe place to work for many disabled people unlikely to find “mainstream” employment. The government pretends that it is now opposed to segregated workplaces for disabled people, but the real reason for closing the factories is cost.

Union activists called for industrial action, most Remploy workers are union members and over 80% voted for action.

West Yorkshire Solidarity Federation members joined a demonstration in Bradford in January where Anne McGuire, Minister for Disabled People, was loudly heckled.