Archives For February 2014

Taken from Boycott Workfare:

Another high street chain has now been exposed as using workfare: Peacocks have taken on workfare placements instead of hiring staff. 

London Boycott Workfare is taking action on Sat 1st March. We invite other groups to pay a visit to your local store too and put the pressure on for Peacocks to pay its staff!

This person’s story shows how this practice means job applications are ignored when free labour is on offer instead. Another report has come in that the Sutton store has 10 workfare placements at one time. Please find out what’s going on at your local store too and let us know!

Image: Boycott Workfare

Image: Boycott Workfare

Protest at a store on Saturday 1st March!

Can’t make it to a store on Saturday 1 March?

Let Peacocks know what you think on their social media channels:
Facebook | Twitter: @peacocks

I started claiming in last August, and since then have been sent on several work placements.

In December of last year I had an interview for Christmas temp work at Asda (though in the end I didn’t undertake it). One of the interviewees was someone who had been on a work placement there. At the start of the placements, people are told they will take you on a temporary contract after completing the placement, but this person had to go through the same process as everyone else.

In December I also undertook a work placement within a local Holiday Inn branch that was tied into a ‘Sector Based Work Academy’ I was referred onto and that was organised by a local college and I believe jobcentre supported. They have also now however been placed onto the ‘work experience’ list available from my jobcentre.

A few months later, I was asked to put my name down for work experience again. Our local branch of Peacocks hadn’t long reopened. They had been advertising vacancies for some time and so within the first week of the shop being open I had put my CV into the store for consideration.

It wasn’t very long after filling in the paperwork for the store that I was given a call to arrange my placement. Initially I was given three days a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. But then when I came in for my first day I was told that I had the Friday as well.

This pushed my total time within the store to 32 hours. Barring the two managers and one high level supervisor no one else in the store worked anywhere close to those hours. I was also initially asked to come in from 9.30-5.30 but then this was changed to 9am.

I had been told that Peacocks was hiring however there were no more vacancies mentioned. I was on there with two other people and often there wasn’t really enough work for all three of us to do. Most of my time on the shop floor was spent tidying stock and on delivery days sorting deliveries. I was given no other tasks or any training that would be beneficial such as using the tills.

During conversations I found out the manager never looked at CVs that had been handed into the store.

I have been undertaking a training course with a local company. A week after I had finished my placement and went back I found out one of the other people taking training at this place had been taken into this placement as well.

Instead of offering paid work to people, they seem to be able to staff their stores with a constant flow of work placements. Meanwhile, despite having applied to the store for a job as soon as it opened, I ended up working longer hours than staff for no pay. If companies can keep getting staff and not paying them, how are people like me ever meant to find paid work?

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After a year of hard work from an avid team of campaigners and supporters, the WOW petition (War On Welfare) gained over 100,000 signatures and as a result the idea of a cumulative impact assessment on welfare reforms and amendments will be debated in Parliament today.

Image: WOW Petition

Image: WOW Petition

Campaigners have planned a vigil outside the House of Commons from 10:30am this morning to lobby more MPs. Find out more at the event page here and don’t forget to tune in from 11:30 to hear the debate.

This has been a great campaign for a much needed debate, so make sure you show your support (which you can find out more about via the WOW petition website) and join the conversation on social media.

In the meantime, re-cap on this wonderful speech given by WOW petition supporter and comedienne Francesca Martinez at the People’s Assembly last year:

It’s been a busy week for news, and plenty of non-news too. But fear not, Thomas Barlow is here with his second weekly instalment of Barlow’s Digest, to sort the worthy from the not and decipher what is happening from the lies and bullshit. Let’s crack on.

Liberty

When they screw you, they like to screw you from two directions.  A law to promote fracking will also permanently infringe on our rights, thanks law gazette.

Pesky Human rights are clearly getting in the way of the filthy rich getting stinking rich, Theresa May admitted, in a rare moment of honesty
Sorry, I meant to say, goddamn Europeans!  Holding us to a law that we wrote to stop any further genocides in Europe after the Second World War! We’ll have no rights for Humans if that’s what we want!

The most invidious attack on our liberty is the attack on our minds – we don’t need to be radically and physically oppressed if we are divided, distracted and misinformed.

Economics (not boring I promise!)

Don’t get a job – it is for bovine idiots!

There are better critiques than this rather right wing US one out there, and we will return to this subject over the coming weeks, but economics is not just about nations and global trading, it is about you!

The dignity of work.

And remember if you are worried about the burden you pay for others to live scot free, the people at the top are the REAL SCROUNGERS!

Image: 24 Dash

Image: 24 Dash

If the UK was a village of 100 people, a few people would be jobless,  one may be so disabled they can’t work, and maybe one of that lot would be taking the mick, and they would all be easily looked after by a little food off our table.  In comparison, our stinking greedy village overlord would have a gang of bullies stealing nearly everything we had, in hundreds of sneaky ways and then hiring people to tell us what scum each other was.

Tax Justice?  Hmmmm…

Oh don’t forget that UKIP are a party of the rich, scummy landlords!

Environment

Chevron reminds people of the economic benefits of Fracking after killing a man, then offering the community Pizza vouchers. Jesus, no matter how hard we try, Americans always manage to be more tasteless than us…

Science is telling is to revolt

Distraction of the week

Ukraine

As per usual, we cannot get an honest source of information, so we are clueless as to most of what is actually happening.  What we do know is that it is messy, there are fascists involved heavily, but also radicals and liberals.  I Acknowledge does the best run down.

But maybe we shouldn’t care (http://www.philosophersmail.com/040214-what-kiev.php)

And in Venezuela where the corporate media have been caught lying about two attempted right wing military coups and a host of other things, the media is avoiding even touching the protests there.

Good News

A policeman actually gets convicted of something!

Managing to wobble between sanctimonious and pop culture drivel, it is still hard to suppress a little joy that Vice is launching a news channel, with some of the excellent reports and videos that it has already done being used in montage here. 

And Here.

Honestly, please treat yourself to ‘This is what winning looks like’, for what state Afghanistan is really in – it is not an overly emotional, heart strings puller, just a great inside look.  You’ll love the US Army Major by the end…

Russell Brand dealing with inanity deftly yet again

A street entertainer holds his own when challenged by full bore racist pricks Glasgow AFA, you know what they look like…

Kid does science experiment

Salford make it into LA news

A doctor strikes a small blow for science (btw people – science is a METHOD, not an invisible force that powers Frankenstein monsters)

Anarchists blow shit up again!

And some more.

A man in debt demolishes his house and drops in front of his bank (who said we’ve got nothing to learn from Bulgarians!)

GREATER MANCHESTER NEWS

As I am a proud (adopted) Mancunian, I thought I would include a little local news that may not make the nationals.

Parties were thrown all over Salford as Hazel Blears announced she wouldn’t be standing again in 2015, after narrowly avoiding deselection by the (pretty militant) Salford Labour party. It took a lot of bribes to keep her in that time, clearly she didn’t have that much left in the account any longer…

Though in even better news, a former Class War member is standing in Salford as well, more on Class war in coming weeks…

The campaign to save the roots of the Carribbean carnival is under way.

Lots of news from Barton Moss (in Salford – which is its’ own city. Yes i know. Salford!) where local protectors are single handedly holding up the Fracking industry in the UK –

Local Schoolgirl arrested

2 Week adjournment from eviction

Local Hacienda legend Dave Haslam rocks it for Barton Moss

Get involved with writing energy strategy for our locality

Thomas Barlow

Access to Justice In The UK

kamsandhu —  February 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 20.50.04 Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 20.50.26 Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 20.51.48 Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 20.52.13 Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 20.52.30

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

1) Controversy as ATOS wants to back out of ‘fit to work’ contract

Thousands demonstrated against the French healthcare company ATOS in a national protest on Wednesday, following the suffering and deaths of thousands of sick and disabled people attributed to the Work Capability Assessment provided by the company.

Shortly after, it came to light that ATOS wanted to back out of it’s £500 million contract before it’s end in 2015. ATOS stated their main reason for doing so would be the number of death threats and verbal abuse they have received, which has angered protest groups and campaigners who have fought for years to expose suffering at the hands of ATOS.

Image; The Guardian

Image; The Guardian

A statement released by the WOW petition, Black Triangle and Disabled People Against Cuts said:

“The bizarre exit strategy ATOS have developed in identifying apparent physical threats on Facebook despite the growing lists of real deaths caused by the WCA regime is an outrageous insult to all those that have died and all those that have lost family members through this regime. It is an insult to those left without their homes, without money and needing to go to foodbanks. It is an insult to every person who has suffered worsening physical and mental health through this inhuman regime.”

Read the full statement here.

2) Public health emergency declared as one in six GPs asked to refer patients to food banks

One in six family doctors have referred a patient to a food bank in the last year, a new survey has found. Doctors have said that they have seen patients come to them with illnesses caused by not eating, or have been affected by the delays in benefit and welfare reforms leaving some without food for weeks.

Pulse magazine found in a survey of 522 GPs, 16% had referred a patient to a food bank in the last 12 months, and many now held vouchers for their local food bank and contacts for local support groups.

With rising living costs and cuts to wages and benefits, GPs and academics have described there to be an emerging ‘public health emergency’, with evidence from this survey backed up with hospital diagnoses of malnutrition, which has doubled in the last five years.

Foob Bank usage has risen 465% says Trussell Trust Image: dailyrecord.co.uk

Foob Bank Image: dailyrecord.co.uk

Read more about this here.

3) People could be charged for challenging sanctions and benefit removal decisions

People stripped of their benefits could be charged for challenging the decision with an independent judge.

A leaked document obtained by the Guardian from the Department for Work and Pensions about their finances said “introduction of a charge for people making appeals against [DWP] decisions to social security tribunals.”

Critics say the charge would hit the poorest hardest and could serve to reduce the number of challenges made despite the fact that 58% of those who wanted to overturn benefit sanction decisions in independent tribunals have been successful.

Read more about this story here.

4) David Cameron calls his welfare reforms a ‘moral mission’

The Archbishop of Canterbury became the latest Church figure to speak out against the government’s welfare reforms last week, branding them ‘punitive’ for leaving more and more people hungry and destitute.

However, on Wednesday the Prime Minister hit back in an article in The Telegraph, defending his reforms as part of a ‘moral mission’:

“Of course, we are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around.”

“That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit.

“But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone – they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.

“Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart too of our social and moral mission in politics today.”

Read more about this story here.

Image: Lifeunhindered.com

Image: Lifeunhindered.com

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

The following is taken from the Parliamentary website, and details a request for information and how to submit evidence and experiences of the Employment Support Allowance & Work Capability Assessment for an inquiry by the Work & Pensions Committee. The Deadline is 21st March.

Image: iStock

Image: iStock

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced in October 2008 for claimants making a new claim for financial support on the grounds of illness or incapacity. It replaced Incapacity Benefits, Income Support by virtue of a disability and Severe Disablement Allowance.

Background

ESA is paid to people who have limited capability for work (who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)), and people who have limited capability for work related activity (who are placed in the Support Group).

The majority of claimants applying for ESA are invited to a face-to-face assessment to help determine whether they fall within either of these two groups or whether they are fit for work. This assessment, called the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), is carried out by Atos Healthcare under its medical services contract with DWP. Atos produces a report following the WCA and this is used by the DWP Decision Maker, alongside any other additional evidence, to determine whether the claimant should be placed in the WRAG or the Support Group, or is fit for work.
In April 2011, the Government began reassessing existing Incapacity Benefits (IB) claimants to determine their eligibility for ESA using the WCA. The Committee published a report on Incapacity Benefit Reassessment in July 2011.

The Committee’s inquiry

In light of recent developments in this area, including the publication of a number of reviews of the WCA, expressions of concern from DWP regarding Atos’s performance in delivering the WCA, and the introduction of mandatory reconsideration, the Committee has decided to undertake an inquiry into ESA and WCAs to follow-up its 2011 report.

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals.

The Committee is particularly interested to hear views on:

  • Delivery of the WCA by Atos, including steps taken to improve the claimant experience
  • The effectiveness of the WCA in indicating whether claimants are fit for work, especially for those claimants who have mental, progressive or fluctuating illnesses, including comparison with possible alternative models
  • The process and criteria for procuring new providers of the WCA
  • The ESA entitlement decision-making process
  • The reconsideration and appeals process
  • The impact of time-limiting contributory ESA
  • Outcomes for people determined fit for work or assigned to the WRAG or the Support Group
  • The interaction between ESA and Universal Credit implementation

Submissions do not need to address all of these points.

The deadline for submitting evidence is Friday 21 March.”

How to submit your evidence

To encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, select committees are now using a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. The web portal is available on our website.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing.

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  • have numbered paragraphs

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to: The Clerk, Work and Pensions Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a web link to the published work should be included.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. It is the Committee’s decision whether or not to accept a submission as formal written evidence.

Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Further guidance on submitting evidence to Select Committees is available on the parliamentary website (PDF PDF 2.41 MB)Opens in a new window.

Some explanation from the very wise Johnny Void on the DWP’s spin on employment figures. In truth, there has been no real employment recovery and there are no jobs.

the void

Graffiti Gov lies bank steal rich laugh A The number of unemployed people has risen by 20,000 people compared with the same period last month despite DWP spin that the numbers out of work are falling.

2.34 million people were unemployed in October – December 2013 compared to the figure of 2.32 million a month earlier.  The rate of unemployment grew to 7.2% of the working age population, whilst the number of people ‘economically inactive’ also rose.

Today’s figures have led to some confusion with the DWP spinning wildly that everything is fine and unemployment is still falling.  The problem lies in the way the figures are presented.  It is true that unemployment has fallen from the previous quarter – meaning there were less unemployed people between October – December 2013 than July – September 2013.  However there were more unemployed people between October and December 2013 than there were between September and November 2013  – suggesting unemployment…

View original post 258 more words

Barlow’s Weekly Digest

kamsandhu —  February 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

Hello, I am Thomas Barlow and once a week (when i am not blottoed or away), I will try and collate some of the more interesting articles and memes floating around to give you a little digest of the week behind – and a glimpse of the week ahead.

RealFare already do an excellent one on welfare. But as all things happening affect welfare, I am going to try and cover some linked subjects, such as Economics (not boring i promise!  Well, maybe…), Environment (yeah, climate change and fracking affect our welfare), Liberty (police repression stops our ability to make the change we need), and I will poke a bit of fun at Distractions of the Week – public debates that waste our time and energy (which 3 weeks out of four will almost certainly be something about immigrants, asylum seekers or how the poor are scum). I will always try and finish on some Good News – either good global news from activists, or inspiring speeches or anything else I can find.

It probably seems fair to tell you who I am and to maybe establish some credentials.  Well, Thomas Barlow is an Anarchist and long time campaigner, who is Equalities Officer of Greater Manchester Community Union, an ardent environmentalist who spent a lot of time working within Climate Camp, a global anti poverty campaigner who lead campaigns on boycotting the world bank, RBS, Shell and Coke. I’m a former worker for CND, GreenPeace, World Development Movement. An anti fascist, pro community, anti-capitalist, pro-working class, anti-war, loves everybody, feminist leftie hippy scumbag.  From Leicester. Blap.

Economics

The recovery is a lie – quite simply.  Treat yourself to a tour round NEF and AAV websites if you have the time after reading this.

Image: Another Angry Voice

Image: Another Angry Voice

Why are the rich getting richer? this is one explanation (though not the only one).

Environment

A bit about the fracking stitch up.

And bytheway Climate Change is real.

Liberty

The protest site in Barton Moss, aimed at stopping fracking in Salford, tells a new story of police injustice almost every day  – the GMP (Greater Manchester Police)(being a particularly cruel breed of bastards) blithely press on, now matter how many times they get caught.

The ‘nudge unit’, who psychologically manipulate the British public ‘for their own good’ have just been privatised.  Nice.

This is why there is no point in liaising with the police.

Oh, and this.

Watch what you say to the doctor.

Distraction of the week

To put into context how ridiculous the coverage of the floods was, we should not only enjoy these pictures of politicians looking baffled in wellies, and soldiers without wellies  but also remember that in 2007 25,000 homes were flooded in Yorkshire alone from floods which devastated the North. 1,000 homes were affected in Somerset. Just saying.

Image: Buzzfeed

Image: Buzzfeed

The fact that the floods were actually used as a platform for Nigel Farage (a man who gets an inordinate amount of airtime representing a party that has less MPs than the Green Party) and other establishment idiots to deny climate change and slag off helping people in countries that our government and weapons industry has helped to devastate over the years, was stunning double win for the wankers in charge – as highlighted by the excellent Media Lens. And rebutted nicely by the African Union.

Not really.

Of course it was actually gay marriage’s fault.

Debates Coming Up

Watch out for a lot of bullshit that is about to be chatted about Venezuela

And grovelling toss about the royals

Good News

Owen Jones – the lovely chap that he is – has put forward a hopeful and reasonable manifesto for what we should be working towards.  It is essentially the Green Party manifesto, but it is nicely written…

A GP is fighting the privatisation of the NHS (messages of support would be nice!).

Rowan Atkinson gives a good speech.

Tom Watson murks a Labour scab

Lorde’s Grammy acceptance speech was cool.

“As Canadian journalist Naomi Klein has argued in her book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, ‘free markets’ were slickly marketed in the 1980s and 1990s with the idea that they would deliver individual freedom and prosperity for all.[15] Klein also wrote that the use of military violence to facilitate the spread of ‘free markets’ in the field-testing stage from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s has continued into the 2000s. Her view is supported in Eugene Jarecki’s documentary Why We Fight, which compellingly showed that America fights wars to make the world secure for its corporations.[16] So, get reading and viewing! (Lorde giggles and half the audience rises to their feet applauding. The other half remain fixed in their chairs. Some reluctantly clap).

“Thankyou soo much everyone for giving a shit about our song, ‘Royals’. May you all find the balls to help construct a world based on resilient community, bona-fide freedom, and peace. To do that, we will need to redeploy the psychopaths that currently run the world to the planet’s prisons.[17] Peace cannot happen with reconciliation. That was Nelson Mandela’s mistake.[18] The first step to peace is justice firmly served.”

 

John Oliver shits on big tech.

Media Freedom is being fought for Europe wide.

Anarchists blow stuff up (this is actually something we hate happening, and getting blamed for, but it is still kinda funny…).

Labour doesn’t need Scotland (so Go Independence!).

And at least Valentine’s day is over.

Thomas Barlow

Tomorrow will see a National Day of Protest against the French healthcare firm ATOS, with over 65 demonstrations happening all over the country at ATOS centres.

atos-e1390924724560

ATOS are given £100m a year to administer the Work Capability Assessments, as part of the coalition’s programme to move people off benefits, through more difficult criteria rather than assessments of need.

The WCA uses a few basic questions to assess the extent of a person’s ability to work. Questions asked include whether a claimant is able to walk 200 metres and whether they can lift either arm above their head. The claimant is then given a score of between 0-15, with 15 as a high rate of disability and 0 as minimal. These scores are then used by the Department for Work and Pensions to assess whether to ‘award’ a claimant the Employment and Support Allowance.

The government say the assessment is designed to find out what a person can do rather than what they can’t, but the assessments leave a huge gap of understanding in whether a person can take on work. Evidence from investigations and claimant experiences show the tests are discriminating and are motivated by the desire to move people off benefits by re-defining the criteria for the ESA rather than supporting them into work if they can.

The cost of ATOS

The government has been handing over £100m a year for ATOS to carry out the assessments nationwide. But, ATOS had breached it’s contract even before it was signed. ATOS had promised they would provide, with 22 sub-contractors, 750 testing centres up and down the country to enable easy procedures and a maximum 60 minute travel distance for all claimants. However, the number of sub-contractors had dropped to 8 at the time of signing the contract, and the DWP has failed to reveal exactly how many of the centres they have provided.

Occupy News Network

Occupy News Network

Appeals

Appeals against ATOS have revealed a broken testing system which unneccesarily puts sick and disabled people through stressful procedures. Around 2/5 decisions made by ATOS are appealed against and around a third of these appeals overturn the original decision.

Earlier last year, the tests were branded ‘farcical’ for telling nearly half of those with progressive diseases, such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, that their condition would improve.

The appeals could be costing the taxpayer a further £50 million for some clearly inexcusable decisions.

Discrimination of those with mental illness

Mental health charities such as Mind, Re:think Mental Illness and the National Autistic Society along with some disabled claimants, won a lengthy battle against the Department for Work and Pensions at the beginning of last year. The charities and support groups helped to give evidence on behalf of those they helped, against the WCA in a case that lasted two years. The Upper Tribunal ruled that the WCA disadvantaged those with mental health problems.

However, the DWP and ATOS appealed against the decision which was upheld at the end of last year, at the expense of more of the taxpayer’s money and a continuance of the testing system which was discriminating those with mental illness.

Lives

Put simply, ATOS testing has been fatal for thousands of sick and disabled people in the UK. In the year 2011-2012, 10,600 disabled people died within six weeks of their claim ending.

The DWP has refused to release the data for the year 2012-2013.

This number is likely to be higher. And this refusal of release of information is hiding the true extent of the deaths ATOS testing is causing, in a bid to save face for the government at the expense of people’s suffering.

Still, there have been many examples in the media of negligent decisions at the hands of ATOS:

“Lyn’s husband was seriously ill for 24 years with a badly injured back, a heart condition and diabetes.

“She said Atos decided he was “capable of limited employment” and his benefit was cut, leaving them with just £71 a week. He appealed but was told a ruling would take almost a year.

“David didn’t have a year. He was later diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live.

“In the short time he had he battled to reverse the decision. “He kept saying ‘I wish I could win this case before I die’,” said Lyn, 57.

“David got a very rare form of cancer, it took his sight and his hearing, then finally his life. But months before that Atos took his dignity. His doctors and specialist nurses wrote to the firm but never received a reply.”

“David, 57, was called to his Jobcentre late last year. Lyn said: “They just took his blood pressure. They never checked his back or asked about his diabetes and the terrible ulcers he had on his legs.

“We were told it would take 10 months to hear the appeal. Well it’s 10 months now, David’s dead and we still haven’t heard a word.”

Daily Mirror

So on Wednesday 19th February, a national protest will take place against the treatment and huge number of deaths at the hands of ATOS.

81

Image: Community Press Group

A short statement by the founder of the website atoskills.tk in reply to Atos:

“Atos have issued a statement on their website with reference the demonstrations   This statement alludes to the fact that the Company (Atos) were merely following DWP orders and that they are aware that their actions have deeply affected lives, an understatement in view of the deaths.  Atos in this statement seek to shift blame as many have done in the past in Court trials with the excuse ” I was only following orders” this is reminiscent of Nuremberg.

“Thousands have died and Atos played a major part in the policy actions of those deaths. It is unacceptable to state we were only following orders whilst taking millions of pounds for that action and knowing it was deeply affecting lives to the extent it caused major fatalities. I will agree that they are not alone in being culpable but the statement is an admission, in part, of responsibility.

“Following orders, knowingly, in committing acts that result in the deaths  of many disabled people is perhaps genocide but can also be equated to contract killing. Atos have acted as hired hitmen of this Government.

“At the bottom of this page you will find a video of Atos staff  training where it is clearly stated Atos assessors were working to targets, they say from the DWP which was denied by that department.

“No threats have been made of disruption to Atos nor to staff members, it is intended as a peaceful demonstration to draw public attention to a travesty that has caused multiple deaths that no one has so far investigated or stopped.

“The DWP’s own data shows 10,600 deaths in an eleven month period during 2011, a cause for concern and investigation at minimum.

“Blood is on the hands of Atos, it’s staff, the DWP and this Government.

“This statement is my own opinion and not one belonging officially to the organisers of the demonstration.”

Here is the video:

Here is the full Dispatches episode the filming was lifted from.

See a full list of demonstrations here.

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

1) One in seven households face eviction due to ‘bedroom tax’

A survey by the National Housing Federation has revealed that two thirds of households affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ since it was brought in, in April, have fallen into rent arrears. Further, one in seven households affected have received eviction risk letters and face losing their homes.

The survey is one of three reports all released on Wednesday, to highlight the negative impact of the ‘bedroom tax.’

The disability charity Papworth Trust, sat that a third of disabled people affected by the bedroom tax have been refused discretionary housing payments which act as emergency financial help. The government had previously promised that these payments would be given to disabled people in adapted homes needing help, as a priority.

The reports came on a day surrounding the spare room subsidy as Labour announced their promise to abolish the tax.

Image: The Mirror

Image: The Mirror

Read more about this story here.

2) Archbishop calls welfare reforms a ‘disgrace’

The Archbishop of Westminster, Britain’s most senior Catholic, has called Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms a ‘disgrace’ which remove even the most basic safety net from those facing hunger and poverty and leaves people with nothing for not filling out forms properly.

Vincent Nichols’ words follow other attacks from other prominent Church figures against the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who is a practicing Catholic.

The Archbishop said:

“But I think what is happening is two things: one is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart.

“It no longer exists and that is a real, real dramatic crisis. And the second is that, in this context, the administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more punitive.”

Read more about this story here.

3) FOI reveals extent of ‘sanctions regime’

The true extent of the government’s sanction regime has been revealed in an Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Minister for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, has repeatedly denied that the new system of sanctioning brought in on 3rd December 2012 does not set targets for sanctions by pressurising workers.

Yet, the FOI revealed that 85% of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants who saw their benefits slashed or removed had never been sanctioned previously.

This calls into question the motives behind the new regulations for sanctions. The Work Programme, thought to have cost around £3-5bn, has been branded a failure which lets down the sick and disabled.

Image: celebpictu

Image: celebpictu

Read more about this story.

4) Water Cannon Public Meeting – Email your opinion in NOW to stop Water Cannon reaching our streets

A public meeting will be held today at City Hall to hear people’s views on water cannon. Many people are attending in protest at this hugely violent weapon being brought to our streets.

The event page says:

“The police are working with the government to attempt to introduce water cannons across England and Wales to deal with “anticipated street protests as a result of ongoing austerity measures”.

“Water cannons don’t just get you a bit wet and cold.

“The high-pressure jet of water is capable of ripping out your eyes. (WARNING! GRAPHIC CONTENT: http://thethirdestate.net/2010/12/the-truth-about-water-cannons/). The police themselves are open about the fact that water cannons are “capable of causing serious injury or even death”.

“On the evening of 17 February 2014, a little-publicised public meeting is taking place at City Hall on the possible introduction of water cannons, hosted by the Deputy Mayor and the Met Police. We need to make sure they understand loud and clear there is NO PUBLIC CONSENT for the introduction of these life-destroying weapons on our streets.”

Tell the public consultation what you think about water cannons via watercannonengagement@mopac.london.gov.uk

Visit the event page here.

Watch the two minute video on the Truth about Water Cannon here:

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass