DPAC 4th of July 2014 ‘Independent Living Tea Party’

From Disabled People Against Cuts
Event in London at Dept. of Work and Pensions.

DPAC is delighted to extend an open invitation to celebrate Independent Living Day with us on the 4th of July at the ‘Independent Living Tea Party ‘. 
The party will begin at 2pm at the DWP, Caxton House in Tothill Street SW1. There will be fun & games, and entertainment; and of course, some civil disobedience. 
We have come a long way since the demand for Independent Living was first made nearly 50 years ago. Then, as now, IL was our solution for how society supports disabled people to take our place as equals. For how society addresses inaccessible institutions, structures and process it created, which do more to disable people than their impairments ever could. 
There are many strands of Independent Living, and all are under threat. Cuts to:
·                                 Support funding – such Social Care, the ILF & Disabled Students Allowance; 
·                                 Education – in areas like the wholesale destruction of SEN Statements and the continued segregation of disabled children into ‘special’ schools;
·                                 Transport – the withdrawal of Taxi-cards, freedom passes and the halting of planned works to make infrastructure more accessible, amongst a host of other cuts combine to make disabled people second-class citizens in society.
But we have fought this fight before – and won. Our Disabled Peoples Organisations, legal gains and the policy victories we have won previously are testament to the power, know how and skills disabled people have to develop solutions to problems created by society.  We must celebrate these achievements and remind ourselves that each of these successes have had to be earned, no-one ever gave them to us without a struggle. 
So celebrate with us, or alternatively create your own party. Get together with friends and supporters, and create the kind of vibrant, positive spaces we have always created. Bring the noise – bells, whistles, drums, pots & pans etc. Bring food to share. Bring your enthusiasm.
if you are planning your own party, here are some suggestions:
1) Choose your target –
focus on the important issues locally; support, education, transport etc – its up to you. Identify what you want to celebrate and who represents the biggest threat to that locally. Is it your local council or Uni? Is it a transport provider? Or is it someone else?
2) Tell everyone –
yes, EVERYONE. Media, campaign networks, activists, local people. DONT FORGET TO TELL DPAC so we can list and support your action!
3) Be heard, be seen –
make your event loud and proud. Bring music, choirs, drum, bells, whistles. Remind everyone out there that we won‘t be separated from society, we are society. We won ‘t go quietly.
4)  We’re also holding a Twitter Party on the Hashtag
#IL4JULY so that people at the DWP and at other events round the country
can tweet in pictures of their events and we can all join in. Further
details to follow, watch this space.
The famous Boston teaparty led to a revolution against the British government let’s see where our teaparty leads…..

Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham press release over City court summons to tenants

For Immediate release
Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham:                                       
Cathy Meadows 07913476905

Local campaign group calls meeting with Nottingham City Council over bedroom tax pre-court protocol failures. 

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefits campaign have requested a meeting with Nottingham City Council as a matter of urgency amid concerns that the Council are failing to follow the pre-court protocol for tenants hit with the bedroom tax.  They are concerned that the council is not engaging with tenants who are in bedroom tax arrears, not giving them the information they need, and not trying to make arrangements with them before taking them to court.  In the most recent example a tenant who is less than four weeks in arrears and whose arrears have been decreasing since January, has received a court summons for possession of their home from the council.

This is the second time the campaign group has requested in writing, a meeting with councillors, as well as previously making a verbal request.
Notes for Editors
[1] The council are applying to the court for Possession Orders, which give them permission to evict residents who can’t keep up with Bedroom Tax and/or Bedroom Tax arrears payments.  Social housing landlords must follow a pre-court protocol.  Tenants have the opportunity to put their case at the court hearing but do not receive legal aid to fund a solicitor to represent them in court. 
To contact Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham contact:

07521 569 622 / 0791 347 6905
https://twitter.com/defendbenefits tweet us defendbenefits

Trade Unions Unite For Militant And Sustained General Strike Len McClusky Announces

In a genuinely historic move, every trade union in the UK has signed up to a sustained general strike against austerity which could begin in the next few days Unite leader Len McCluskey has confirmed.

Read more: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/trade-unions-unite-for-militant-and-sustained-general-strike-len-mcclusky-announces/

UCU strike and NCAFC

ucu_strike_2014Members of the University and College Union, UCU (the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK), are joined with Unison, Unite and EIS on strike today for fair pay. Visit: http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk
for details and live updates. The one-day strike will be followed next week by a third 2-hour strike of UCU, two having already taken place in 2014, action which is due to escalate unless there is negotiation. Local action is taking place at higher education organisations University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. Local action has included pickets and ‘teach-outs’ in the city centre. At University of Nottingham, Unison and Unite members are not out due to local agreements.

Update: UCU members at Aberdeen, Bradford, East London, West of Scotland, Greenwich, Staffordshire, the Leeds College of Art, Manchester Met, Nottingham Trent, Robert Gordon and Queen Mary UL are all being called out on Monday 10th Feb for a full day strike because management has been docking a full days pay for a 2 hour strike.

Also see the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for news of student-led actions and solidarity: http://anticuts.com.

Read also: Why the universities strikes are about more than just a ‘measly’ pay offer.

Twitter (good for recent updates across UK, including photos): https://twitter.com/#fairpayinhe


Bedroom Tax Protest at Nottingham Crown & County Court – Thursday 21st November 2013 – 1pm

Stop Bedroom Tax Evictions – Nottingham Court Protest

Nottingham Crown and County Court
Opposite Broadmarsh Bus Station
Thursday 21 November
1 pm – 1.45 pm

On Thursday 21 November, the court hearing will decide whether to grant a possession order* (see over) to Bedroom Tax tenants – paving the way for evicting some of the most vulnerable people in Nottingham

Our campaign has repeatedly asked Nottingham City Council to follow the example of Broxtowe Borough Council and agree not to evict tenants in arrears because of the Bedroom Tax. The city council has refused to do this and have now made a claim for possession against some tenants in Bedroom Tax arrears.

We need to show Nottingham City Council that the people of Nottingham are against Bedroom Tax evictions

Your presence is important. Come along and show your support.

Download flyer: https://nottssos.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/dctbc-11.pdf

Contacts: Find out more about the campaign
Phone: 07521569622 / 0791 347 6905
Email: defendcounciltaxbenefits [at] yahoo.co.uk
Web: http://defendcounciltaxbenefits.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/333226320103342/

Local group lobby Nottingham City Council in Clifton to refuse Bedroom Tax evictions

For Immediate Release – 30/9/2013

Cathy Meadows: 07913476905
Email defendcounciltaxbenefits [at] yahoo.co.uk

Local group declare evictions prevention protocol ineffective and lobby Nottingham City Council in Clifton to refuse Bedroom Tax evictions

Nottingham Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign are lobbying Nottingham City Council to publicly announce that they will not evict people because of Bedroom Tax arrears and that a recent Nottingham Bedroom Tax Eviction Protocol[i] cannot prevent Bedroom Tax evictions.

The group have responded to the Evictions Ptrevention Protocol but they have not had a response from Nottingham City Council. Notices Seeking Possession have been sent by Nottingham City Council to residents in Clifton and St Anns.

The Lobby will be held at Clifton Cornerstone on Friday 4 October at 10.30am.

[i] The Eviction Prevention Protocol was signed by Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Community Housing Association and ASRA Housing Group on 14 September 2013.

Previous release on 23/9/2013: https://nottssos.org.uk/2013/09/30/nottingham-bedroom-tax-eviction-prevention-protocol-does-not-prevent-evictions-but-shifts-blame-onto-the-tenant-press-release/

Nottingham Bedroom Tax Eviction Prevention Protocol does not prevent evictions but shifts blame onto the tenant – Press release (23rd Sept 2013)

For Immediate Release – 23/9/2013

Nottingham Bedroom Tax Eviction Prevention Protocol does not prevent evictions but shifts blame onto the tenant.

Contacts: Cathy Meadows 07913476905
Email: defendcounciltaxbenefits [at] yahoo.co.uk

A campaign group has criticised a new Nottingham Bedroom Tax Eviction Protocol[i] signed by social housing landlords including Nottingham City Council, saying that it will not prevent evictions, it offers nothing that tenants could not already access, and potentially blames tenants it they are evicted.

The report[ii] by Nottingham Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign criticises the protocol for implying that arrears are caused by tenants’ inability to “budget”. It also refers to a UN report which says the Bedroom Tax may be a violation of human rights and the recent announcement by the Labour Party that it will abolish the Bedroom Tax, and concludes that the only acceptable solution to the social, health and monetary costs of the Bedroom Tax is for Nottingham City Council to use its position by publicly stating that it will not evict anyone because of Bedroom Tax arrears and encouraging other Nottingham social landlords to do the same.


[i] The Eviction Prevention Protocol was signed by Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Community Housing Association and ASRA Housing Group on 14 September 2013.

[ii] The report is attached to email (this follows below)

Nottingham Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign response to Evictions Prevention Protocol

Nottingham City Council, Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Community Housing Association and ASRA Housing Group have signed up to an “Eviction Prevention Protocol” to prevent evictions caused by the Bedroom Tax.

Nottingham Defend Council Tax Benefits Campaign opposes this protocol because:
• It will not prevent evictions.
• It does not offer anything to tenants which they could not access anyway.
• It sets up tenants to be blamed when evictions occur.
• It abandons tenants who don’t “engage” when they may be the most vulnerable.
• It uses vague terms such as “engaging” with housing providers and “realistic and affordable.” payment plans, without explaining who defines these terms and what they mean (ie. what is expected from tenants).
• It puts too much emphasis on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), which are temporary, limited, and discretionary.
• It presents the issue of financial hardship caused by the Bedroom Tax as an issue of budgeting, rather than the real issue, which is that people can only avoid rent arrears by using money which is meant for food, fuel, bills, clothes. This implies that if eviction occurs it is the tenant’s fault.

The protocol says housing providers will request a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) for every tenant suffering financial hardship who “engages” with tenancy sustainment teams.

• The term “engaging” is not explained. What exactly is expected of tenants, and who decides whether tenants are “engaging” or not? Many tenants affected by the Bedroom Tax are some of the most vulnerable people in society, who may lack the support to be able to deal with the additional stress caused by the Bedroom Tax.
• Tenants are already free to request DHPs themselves or through advice agencies and there is no guarantee that requesting a DHP will mean a tenant will receive one. Some tenants have received a DHP in repect of bedroom tax arrears while others have been refused. Furthermore, DHPs are temporary so tenants have to apply repeatedly with all the uncertainty that entails.

The agreement states that Credit Union accounts which help tenants to prioritise rent and other bills are also being offered to tenants facing court action.

• All tenants are already free to open Credit Union accounts – at a cost of 50p per month – so the agreement is not offering anything new.

The protocol states that affected tenants will be expected to set up and keep to an affordable payment plan.

• A tenant in Bedroom Tax arrears faces a weekly demand for rent which they cannot afford. The protocol does not explain how such a tenant would suddenly be able to afford a payment plan to pay off their bedroom tax debt.
• The protocol does not acknowledge that arrears would continue to accumulate since the bedroom tax is ongoing and that this would lead to eviction.

The protocol does not acknowledge the extreme emotional and monetary hardship being experienced by those households who are not yet in arrears. Households can only pay bedroom tax by cutting down on food, fuel, transport, clothes etc. We know of households who are experiencing extreme hardship and poverty – the protocol does not address this.

By emphasising budgeting, priorities and advice the protocol implies that bedroom tax arrears is caused by tenants’ inability to budget and lack of information. This is clearly not the case. Arrears are caused by tenants being asked to pay towards rent (and council tax) from living expenses meant for food, fuel, clothes, transport etc. Budgetting solutions are unsustainable and set up tenants to fail and be blamed, putting huge pressure on households and leading to evictions.

The social health and monetary costs of the Bedroom Tax, which are hitting vulnerable households, communities and the social housing sector, are unacceptable and unsustainable. A recent UN report says that the Bedroom Tax may be a violation of human rights, and the Labour Party have now announced that they will abolish the Bedroom Tax. In view of this, the only effective way of protecting households from eviction is for the council to use its position to implement a no evictions policy and to encourage other social housing providers to do the same.

Nottingham Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign calls on Nottingham City Council and all Nottingham Social Housing Providers to:

Publicly state that they will not evict anyone because of Bedroom Tax arrears.
Recall all notices of seeking possession and eviction notices relating to bedroom tax arrears.
Acknowledge that Bedroom Tax arrears are not caused by tenants inability to budget.
Use all of its DHP budget (including reserves it is permitted to use) to reduce Bedroom Tax arrears (at August 2013 only one fifth of the budget had been used).
With other social landlords and campaigners persistently explain and publicise the social and monetary costs and unsustainability of the Bedroom Tax to Central Government.
Demand that Central Government take responsibility for this policy and the potential damage to the social housing sector, by demanding it makes up the shortfall in rental income to social housing providers caused by bedroom tax arrears.
Demand that Central Government abolish the bedroom tax.

Bedroom tax opposition ramps up in Nottingham – group now forming in the Meadows [plus benefits advice links & drop-in advice session this afternoon]

Report from Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign: The public meeting yesterday evening (10th April) in the Meadows to organise against the Bedroom Tax was well attended. There were about 7 people from the Meadows there, the rest being from the general Notts campaign, from advice centres and just people who are interested in getting involved (23 in all).

Someone from St. Ann’s Advice Centre began by outlining the nature of the Bedroom Tax and how it affects people; a member of the Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign then followed with more information about that. The floor was then opened up to everyone to speak. Local residents told the meeting about how they were affected and why they were there, and the visitors offered their support and knowledge. It was emphasised that the role of the citywide Nottingham campaign would not be to ‘save’ Meadows people but to support them in setting up their own local group which would then liaise with the general Nottingham one – the idea being to repeat this in the rest of the city.

Read on for full report: http://nottsbedroomtax.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/meadows-public-meeting-report/

See also: http://www.facebook.com/NottsAgainstTheBedroomTax

A drop-in advice session will also be held today, Thursday 11th April at Queens Walk Community Centre, Meadows, Nottingham from 2pm-6pm which is a general benefits advice session by Meadows Advice Group, part of Advice Nottingham http://www.advicenottingham.org.uk/. Advisors will be on hand to discuss how the Bedroom Tax and other Benefit Cut Issues are affecting you and what help you can get.
Advice Nottingham was recently set up to link advice across the city: http://www.adviceuk.org.uk/projects-and-resources/resources/collaborativeresources/casestudies/advicenotts

Skip to content