[g8-sheffield] Support the SWAN motion to council this Wednesday - 2pm

JasonGmail lejasonman at googlemail.com
Sun Oct 1 20:50:34 BST 2006

Hello all,

Please support the Sheffield Welfare Action Network (SWAN) motion to the
full meeting of Sheffield Council (proposed by Bernard Little of the Green
Party) this Wednesday. It would be great to have as many people as possible
attending the public gallery to contribute to the debate. It is about the
Welfare Reform Bill and how it is being implemented in Sheffield as part of
Pathways to Work and the New Deal. Please note you do not have to speak
unless you want to.

Meet Wednesday October 4th, 1.30 onwards for 2pm

The Bill will see disabled people threatened with the loss of benefits and
forced into unsuitable work or medical treatments, on top of abolishing
housing benefit. The bill fails to address major issues such as incorrect
medical assessments and discrimination by employers.

Incapacity is not a lifestyle choice!

The SWAN meeting for Wednesday evening has been cancelled as people were
doubtful they could make both events and the motion is the most important
thing. Please please come down to the Town Hall if you can, the more the
better. If you need more details, get in touch. The motion we are presenting
is below.

Best wishes,

07956 384142
Sheffield Welfare Action Network
sheffieldwelfare_an at yahoo.co.uk

That this Council:

(a) recognises that as Sheffield is one of the pilot Employment Consortia
the Welfare Reform Bill will have a large impact upon the people of
Sheffield and this Council;

(b) notes that the Department of Health's recommendation on Fair Access to
Care (2003) states: "Councils should recognise that individuals are the
experts on their own situation and encourage a partnership approach to
assessment. They should help
them prepare for the assessment process and find the best way for each
individual to state their views";

(c) notes that instead of engaging Incapacity Benefit claimants as partners,
the Welfare Reform Bill will be prescriptive, with Claimants of the proposed
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) losing control over their return to

(d) notes that the level of fraudulent benefit claims is at 1% (+- 0.5%,

(e) is concerned that:

i. there is no new money for the Employment and Skills Strategy to ensure
employment, medical treatment and other support provided will be adequate
and suitable;

ii. over half of Personal Capability Assessments for Incapacity Benefit are
currently found to be incorrect on appeal, yet there will be no proper
provision for an improved medical assessment process under the new system;

iii. Personal Advisors will be under pressure to meet targets of putting
6,500 incapacity benefit claimants back into work in the Sheffield region by

iv. Personal Advisors threatening benefit cuts will force claimants into
inappropriate treatment, unsuitable levels of work, or employment that is
wholly unsuited to their capacities;

v. the threat of benefit cuts will cause claimants fear and stress, reducing
the likelihood of long-term (re)engagement with employment or voluntary

(f) believes there is more to be gained for Sheffield, both financially and
socially, by welfare reform that promotes a trusting system that supports
the individual needs of claimants;

(g) notes that rather than being "work-shy", many claimants currently find
it difficult to gain employment as 60% of  employers themselves acknowledge
they discriminate against potential employees with some form of disability,
especially varying health conditions and mental illness;

(h) will refuse to implement any policy that involves conditionality, where
claimants will be threatened with benefit sanctions;

(i) will commit, as part of its equality and diversity policy, to tackle
discrimination experienced in employment by people with disabilities or ill

- e-mail: sheffieldwelfare_an at yahoo.co.uk
- Homepage: http://www.swansheffield.org.uk

Coalition Against the Welfare Reform Bill
e-mail: cawrb at welfare-reform.org.uk
- Homepage: http://www.welfare-reform.org.uk/

Labour Conference lobby report

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