Demonstration against the Tory emergency budget this Wednesday, 8th July, at 5pm in City Square. On Wednesday the Tory government will be announcing their “emergency” budget – a further £13 billion off already inadequate welfare spending meaning fear and misery for many thousands of disabled, sick, unemployed and low-waged people, plus spiraling homelessness and eviction threats, enforced sell-offs of social housing and more cuts to already overstretched essential public services including health and education. The budget will be greeted with protests all over the country. In Leeds, the TUC and Youth Fight for Jobs and Education have called a demonstration at 5pm, Wednesday 8th July, in City Square. The Facebook events are here and here – please share as widely as possible, and get down there if you possibly can.
The protest is only one part of what we need to do: here are some other events happening this week which we urge you to join and get involved with:
Sunday 5th July, 1pm in Dortmund Square – Leeds Keep our NHS Public NHS Birthday – facebook event here
Monday 6th July, 6.30pm at the Swarthmore Centre, 2 – 7 Woodhouse Square, LS3 1AD – meeting of Leeds Welfare Fightback: campaigning against sanctions, workfare, benefit cuts and low wages.
Thursday 9th July, 7pm at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre in Middleton – Defend the NHS screening of “Sell-off”, a film and discussion with Left Unity about the privatisation and underfunding of health services and how it affects communities in Leeds – Facebook event here
Saturday 11th July, 2pm at City South Retail Park, Tulip Street, Hunslet LS10 2BB – Stop Workfare at B&M Bargains Last Saturday Leeds Welfare Fightback was in Middleton, protesting at B&M Bargains as part of a national day of action called by Boycott Workfare. B&M recently won a government award for their use of workfare, putting JSA claimants to work without wages whilst cutting paid jobs and reducing paid staff hours. We got lots of support from local shoppers, and heard some shocking stories about scandalous practice by the company – including failing to pay wages due to long-term employees. Clearly a nasty outfit all round, and already well-known for exploiting and cheating their staff. We won’t be dropping the pressure on B&M – they have several stores in Leeds, and they all deserve a visit! This Saturday it’s the turn of B&M in Hunslet – please join us outside the Retail Park on Tulip Street at 2pm – or if you want to travel there with us by bus come to the Corn Exchange at 1pm. In the meantime, why not visit your nearest B&M store and make a complaint to the manager? They may not use workfare in that particular store, but complaints and protests all over the country will help damage the name of the brand and put pressure on them to change their ways. You can also complain in writing via the B&M website https://www.bmstores.co.uk/contact – why not drop them a line now?
A request for information (confidential, of course) from tenants affected by the bedroom tax
As we all know, the re-election of the Tories means that the bedroom tax is still with us. Whilst opposition to the policy is bound to increase, we know that the pressure on local authority budgets (including progressive reduction of money allocated to Discretionary Housing Payments) is bound to result in eviction threats to many of those in debt – not to mention the rise in ill-health due to cold and hunger which we are bound to see amongst those those struggling to pay their rent by cutting out essentials. On top of this, we expect to see a rise in debt and eviction threats (mainly in the private rented sector) due to the lowering of the overall household benefit cap, adding to the problems caused by the lowering of the cap on Local Housing Allowance in 2011.
To help in the campaign against these cuts and the resulting threats against tenants, we need information about how people are being affected: how the council and other social landlords are dealing with tenants in arrears, how Discretionary Housing Payments are (or are not) being allocated, and how private tenants are being affected by the range of benefit cuts and sanctions. Please get in touch with us if you have information you can share with us – or if you feel we can help or support you in any way. We also want to hear from anyone involved in a local tenants and residents association or similar organisation, so that we can share information and strategies, and begin to form solidarity networks in our neighbourhoods to help defend against eviction threats and other threats to social housing provision.
Hope to see some of you soon!