Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Welfare Reform Bill - URGENT - please take action by Wednesday

> From: Global Women's Strike <http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=womenstrike8m@server101.com>
> Date: 10 November 2009 22:28:40 GMT>
To: http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=romaynephoenix@mac.com> Subject: Welfare Reform Bill - URGENT - please take action by Wednesday>

Reply-To: http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=womenstrike8m@server101.com> >

Dear friends,> > URGENT -- please take action by the end of Wednesday>

> Welfare Reform Bill -- protection for children under five overturned by MPs> >

MPs supporting the government tonight brutally overturned the amendment won in the Lords, which protected single parents of children under five from losing benefit for not doing “work-related activity”. Single parent families could have their benefit cut by 40%. This is an outrageous attack on single mothers who are looking after children full-time. 236 MPs voted against the government, and some made clear that mothers’ caring work is a vital contribution to society. It should be recognised not penalised.> > Please write to the Lords who backed the amendment to urge them to keep this important protection for children, and let them know the strength of feeling in the community on this issue. Personal statements from mothers, fathers and carers are most convincing.> >

Lord Freud, the Conservative Lord who led on this amendment, will raise it again when the Bill goes back to the Lords on Thursday at 11.30am. We have another chance of defeating the government on their uncaring policy.> > Fax number for the Lords: 020 7219 5979 (mark for the attention of the Peer you are writing to.)> >

(As time is short, please send your letters direct, don’t rely on us to forward them, but do send us a copy at http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=womenstrike8m@server101.com Fax 020 7209 4761)> >

Please write to:> > Conservatives> > · Chris Scott http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=scottcg@parliament.uk >
Conservative Office, House of Lords – has undertaken to pass on emails received by end of Wednesday.> > ·
Lord Freud> http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=freudd@parliament.uk> Fax: 020 7219 5979 – mark attention Lord Freud> Tel: 020 7219 4907> > ·
Lord Taylor of Holbeach CBE> Tel: 020 7219 4051> http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=taylorjl@parliament.uk> > ·
Baroness Morris of Bolton OBE> Tel: 020 7219 5353> http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=whitbycollins@parliament.uk> > >
Liberal Democrats> > · Baroness Celia Thomas> Tel: 020 7219 3586 > http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=thomascm@parliament.uk> > ·

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope> Fax: 020 7219 5979 – mark Attention Lord Kirkwood> (no email)> >
Crossbench> > · Lord Northbourne> Tel: 020 7219 3884 > Fax: 020 7219 5933> http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=northbournec@parliament.uk> > >

> Sent: 09 November 2009 12:59> Subject: Welfare Reform Bill: Urgent - today: contact your MP and Minister Yvette Cooper> > Welfare Reform Bill:> Mothers, carers, people with disabilities,> victims of domestic violence …> win important changes in the Lords.> But some may be overturned on Tuesday> when the Bill returns to the Commons.> Join us to press MPs to keep them.> > Many important concessions have been won. Testimonies from those affected, among a wealth of letters and evidence from organisations, including ours which campaigned for months and lobbied in person and in writing, were taken up by Peers and journalists, forcing the government to shift. The government has publicly agreed to some of the changes, but some remain under threat. > > The Bill is coming back to the Commons on Tuesday 10 November. > ACTION YOU CAN TAKE:> Phone and/or email your MP and Yvette Cooper, the Minister for Work and Pensions, to urge them to keep the changes below> and to condemn the worst measures in the Bill.> House of Commons tel: 020 7219 3000

Find your MP> Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP> Secretary of State for Work and Pensions> House of Commons London SW1A 0AA> http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=coopery@parliament.uk> Please copy your email to us at http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=womenstrike8m@server101.com> > > Most under threat:> > · Single parents of children under five are entitled to care for our children full-time without losing benefit for not doing “work-related activity”. We need to press MPs not to overturn this. No mother should be forced to go out to work if she feels her pre-school age children need her.> > > Changes likely to be approved:> > · Single mothers/parents of children aged three to six. Single parents on Income Support will be able to keep £50 earnings, up from £20. No “work-related activity” will be compulsory outside school hours, childcare or term-time. Mothers won’t have their benefit cut for missing “job seekers” appointments due to family responsibilities. The government reaffirmed that under current rules, parents with school-age children claiming Job Seekers Allowance can reject jobs that do not fit within school hours, they do not have to work full-time. > > · Parents. Jobcentre advisers and “back to work” staff must have regard for the welfare of the child in what they tell parents to do. > > · Carers. Single parents will be exempt from job seeking if their disabled child under 16 receives any rate of Disability Living Allowance for care. Previously, the government said the parent must work if a child is on the low rate for care.> > · Women fleeing domestic violence. A three-month exemption from job seeking. Though not enough for recovery and settling distressed children, it is an improvement over the previous discretionary decision by Jobcentre staff.> > · It is illegal for anyone to be pressured into medical treatment. Jobcentre or “back to work” staff will not be able to tell disabled people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (including people with mental health problems) that they have to take their prescription or undergo surgery. The government previously claimed that some people are “wilfully keeping themselves unfit for work”. People with drug and alcohol problems can be required to attend assessments and “motivation” sessions, but cannot lose benefit for refusing rehabilitation or treatment. > > Despite these changes, the Bill takes away many of our rights: > > It abolishes Income Support. This is the main benefit which acknowledges unwaged caring work by single mothers and other carers. > > It wipes out entitlement based on need and brings in US-style workfare. Couples with young children must both seek work. Almost all claimants of working age must look for a job or engage in a “work-related activity”. Those who cannot find a job will have to “work for their benefits”, i.e. for £1.60 an hour. Forcing more people to chase scarce jobs, while allowing employers to bypass the minimum wage, lowers everyone’s wages. Councils looking to cut costs are already preparing for workfare staff. Those of us who do not or cannot comply are threatened with destitution. Asylum seekers were the first to be made destitute, and this inhuman standard is being extended to others. > > It introduces compulsory joint birth registration even where the father is violent. If the mother has no official proof of his violence (a common situation) she will be forced to give his name. Mothers of newborns should not have to worry about going to court to stop the father abusing his parental rights to persecute her and the child.> > It expands charging for disability services. Some disability groups welcome “the right to control” budgets for services, in the Welfare Reform Bill. However, the new percentage charging system is discriminatory. People with more severe disabilities have greater needs and so are allocated a bigger budget. For them, the fixed percentage is a larger amount of money. Local authorities are allowed to set their own (higher) percentage. They will deduct charges at source before funds are paid out, leaving people to make up the missing cash. This is instead of charging separately, which allows older and disabled people not to pay charges they can’t afford, or to query when their income or disability expenses are wrongly calculated. > > We are determined to defend our entitlement to benefits and free high-quality services. Many people have signed up to a letter condemning the abolition of Income Support. Add your name. LINK> >
Contact us for more info:> > Single Mothers’ Self-Defence http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=centre@crossroadswomen.net> WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities) http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=winvisible@allwomencount.net> Global Women’s Strike http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=womenstrike8m@server101.com> Legal Action for Women http://uk.mc250.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=law@allwomencount.net> > Tel: 020 7482 2496 www.allwomencount.net www.globalwomenstrike.net

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