[matilda] Town Hall Debate on welfare reform

mpower0 at yahoo.com mpower0 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 1 12:56:20 BST 2006





Come and support SWAN at this important council debate

Hello everyone,

Council to debate Welfare Reform Bill at the Town

Wednesday October 4th 1.30 onwards for 2.PM

Sheffield Welfare Action Network(SWAN), fresh from
their inspiring protest/lobby of the Labour Party
Conference as part of the new coalition CAWRB * (along
with Sheffield Green Party) has iniatated a debate by
Sheffield City Council on 0ctober 4th on the
implications of the Welfare Reform Bill, a bill that
the council is likely to financially benefit from. 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.
The motion we are presenting is below

Alex Kemp of the NUS has said: "The NUS Disabled
Students' Campaign is very concerned about the Welfare
Reforms proposed by New Labour. We know that
implementation of these reforms would lead to further
abject poverty for disabled people. We know that
disabled people will be forced into work that they
cannot do and do not want to do. Its about time the
government sat up and realised that, as disabled
people, we know what is best for us - we are the
experts on our own lives''.

The council meeting is at 2pm, we urge all our
members, supporters, friends and allies to try to make
the event, Many of SWAN' members and disabled people
have supported your campaigns, no we need your help.
Ideally, we need as many people as possible to attend
the public gallery as this would almost ensure a
debate. Please note you do not have to speak unless
you desire to

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




contact details

07956 384142
 sheffieldwelfare_an at yahoo.co.uk

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

Coalition against the welfare reform bill report

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

(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 work;

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

(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

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 2010;

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 work;

(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 health;

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

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