Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting 18/11/15

November 16, 2015


There will be an open meeting of Brighton Benefits Campaign on Wednesday 18th November.  Meet in the bar of the Old Ship Hotel at 7.30pm.  We will use one of the side rooms.  This is an accessible venue.

We will be discussing a variety of issues including Council Tax Reduction, tax credit cuts and local workfare exploiters. Also planning actions to come.

Facebook event


Stop the Council’s Tax Attack!

October 18, 2015

Tax attack

Council Tax Reduction scheme 2016-17

Brighton & Hove City Council proposals mean much higher bills for people on benefit

Before 2013, Council Tax Benefit covered the cost of council tax for people on some benefits. This was in recognition that, if you qualify for certain means tested benefits, you can’t afford to pay council tax.

Council Tax Benefit was abolished by the government in 2013, and replaced with a council run scheme called “Council Tax Reduction Scheme”. Since then, the amount of help the poorest households in Brighton & Hove can get with their council tax bills has been cut from 100% to 85%.

The council are now proposing another cut in this help – so that it will only cover 75% of the full council tax bill. Some people will therefore see their council tax bills go up by 67% from April 2016. This is despite the fact that, in real terms, benefits are worth less than they were in 2012, so people are actually less able to pay, not more.

From April 2016, life for people on benefits will get even harder, because the government are freezing all working age benefits and making big cuts to tax credits. The council’s proposal will mean yet another blow for these very same households.

This is deeply unfair. It will increase poverty and push people into debt. It is also not a sensible way for the council to raise money.

The amount the council is owed in unpaid council tax has already increased substantially because they are asking people to pay who are simply unable to afford to do so. Trying to plug a funding gap by billing people who can’t pay the bill is not just unfair and unethical but impractical, and will lead to the council spending yet more on chasing debts. It will also put people under even more stress and strain, which is likely to lead to even more pressure on local services, such as mental health services.



Thursday 12th November


Synergy Centre West Street (opposite the Odeon)

Called by Brighton People’s Assembly against Austerity, Brighton & Hove Green Party, Brighton & Hove Left Unity, Brighton Benefits Campaign, CASE Central

Join us to hear first hand what this will mean for people in Brighton & Hove, and to share your story.  Speakers (details to come) and discussion.



Complete the council’s consultation by October 20th.  Tell your friends – many people don’t know this is going on.  Have a look at our briefing notes for ideas about completing the consultation.

Sign the petition

Spread the word through your networks


National Day of Action Against Pinnacle People – Friday 18th September

September 17, 2015

Hold a local picket

London (action by Kilburn Unemployed Workers)
Brighton (action by Brighton Benefits Campaign)
Bristol – Central
Bristol – Windmill Hill City Farm
St Austell

Take part in the Communications Blockade

Head office:
6 St Andrew Street

website contact form:

10 Minute Mail provides short term anonymous email addresses


0800 088 4000
0207 427 5160

Pinnacle People: ?
Pinnacle Places: 02074 275199

freepop fax provides a free online fax service


Refugees Welcome Here – National Day of Action in Brighton

September 7, 2015


A symbolic event for those who believe that refugees should be welcome in the UK has been organised in Brighton and Hove on Saturday 12th September, through the collaboration of local welfare campaign initiative Enough is Enough and welfare rights advice agency CASE, based in Hollingdean.

This will coincide with a national day of action in support of a major demonstration in London, which has been called in response to reports of refugees who are fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. Rapidly increasing numbers of organisations and individuals are calling on the government to make a humanitaritan and compassionate response and to meet its share of the responsibility to provide protection for those in need.

Brighton and Hove is known for its diverse and welcoming culture. The event on Saturday is for those in the city who can’t travel to London on the day, but who want to make it clear: REFUGEES ARE WELCOME HERE!

“Scarcity is a myth,” Pip Tindall from Enough is Enough stated. “There are enough resources for us all to share, and the rich have been making fortunes through the economic crisis. Now people are refusing to blame each other, and are holding out their hands to those most in need.”

Josephina Salamone from CASE explained. “The best assets for our society and for each of us are generosity and solidarity. What we allow the government to deny to ‘other’ people will eventually be denied to us: first refugees and migrants, welfare claimants and disabled people, single parents, the young and the old… eventually it will be your turn!.”

Other local organisations including migrant support groups are supporting the Brighton event, which starts at 12 noon near the War Memorial.

Enough is Enough is a positive campaign initiative of Brighton Benefits Campaign


Day of Action Against Pinnacle People – Friday 18th September

September 2, 2015


Why are we taking action against Pinnacle People?

Following drastic changes to the social security system introduced since 2009, sick and disabled people have faced a harsh test – the Work  Capability Assessment – designed to throw them off benefits and force them to sign on. Those found unfit to work (many on appeal) are placed in one of two groups entitled to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).  The support group is for those not expected to recover sufficiently to earn a living. The work related group is supposed to prepare sick and disabled people to ‘return to work’.

Despite the protection given to sick people on ESA under the law, it has come to light that Pinnacle People (who have the lucrative contract to conduct work-focused interviews for those in the work related activity group), are pressurising ESA claimants into doing job searches, under the supposed threat of sanctions.

Work related activity consists of volunteering, courses and so on, to make sick people ‘employable’. It does not include an obligation on them to look for work. The law states that people on work related ESA ‘may not be required to look for work’. This means they should not be required to do so, rather than they might not.

Benefit advisers have also reported that people have been made physically and mentally more ill by this incessant and unlawful pressure. Some ESA claimants have actually been asked to do more than healthy JSA claimants!

The bullying of sick and disabled people must stop. Figures just released show that thousands have died after being put through the WCA, and many have ended in destitution or even suicide. The system is not fit for purpose.

Benefits for those unable to earn a living through sickness or disability should return to being based on the reports of claimants’ own doctors or specialists. Private providers like Pinnacle People must not be allowed to make a fortune from poverty. And benefits must not be conditional – they are intended for our needs, not a reward.









Update on the Brighthelm

August 20, 2015

We have now received a reply to our letter from the manager, confirming that the Brighthelm is not involved in mandatory workfare schemes, and supporting our campaign.



Keep volunteering voluntary!

August 18, 2015

Brighton Benefits Campaign recently received reports that the Brighthelm Centre has been making use of people on workfare in their garden. Today we took the Brighthelm a letter explaining the damage that the workfare regime causes – to the individuals forced to work for their benefits under threat of punitive sanctions, to the organisations who become involved in their exploitation, and to the wider community.

We had a helpful conversation with the manager. He denied that they were taking people on workfare, and said that they will ensure they don’t do so in future. We will be keeping our eye on them but this looks like a very good outcome. Hopefully the Brighthelm will also sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.

The Brighthelm is run by the United Reformed Church, which together with other churches involved in Church Action on Poverty produced a report earlier this year condemning the government’s attacks on benefits and particularly the sanctions regime.


An active autumn for Brighton Benefits Campaign!

August 12, 2015


We are now holding regular BBC meetings again.

The next is on Thursday 27th August.  Meet in the bar of the Old Ship Hotel (opposite the pier on the seafront) at 7pm.
All welcome.

Upcoming campaigning includes a day of action against Pinnacle People, local anti-workfare pickets, events against austerity, mental health and the DWP, and much more.

Join us!



Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting

June 24, 2015


There will be a Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting tonight Wednesday 24th June

7pm at Brighton Unemployed Centre in Hollingdean BN1 7BL

Join us in planning new actions and events.




Fighting austerity – taking on the real scroungers!

June 17, 2015

Brighton Benefits Campaign formed in 2010 as a response to the Labour government’s ‘welfare reforms’ which included obligatory workfare for the unemployed, computerised testing of disabled people by Atos, and forcing lone parents of increasingly younger children to sign on, alongside the privatisation of public services, including the NHS and education. Lucrative contracts were given to private providers to bully claimants off benefits.

This assault has intensified and broadened enormously over the last five years, using the financial crisis as the perfect excuse for cuts and outsourcing. To justify their actions and turn us against each other, the millionaires in government and the media demonise one vulnerable group after another – claimants, migrants, lone parents – and the new Tory government are now preparing to target young people and low paid workers.

A decent, public welfare system is in the interest of all of us, whether we are in work or unemployed, frail or able-bodied. Benefit levels are the floor of our wages, and cuts undermine pay and working conditions, health and safety, and the ability to organise. Destroying welfare serves only the richest who never need it, and the bosses, as an army of desperate people are forced to compete for every job.

The attack on welfare is at the heart of a mass assault on all our rights – employment, housing, healthcare, education, social security and justice. The odds against us may seem insurmountable but with solidarity we can fight back.


On Saturday 20th June we will be taking part in a massive national demonstration in the heart of the City of London, right on the doorstep of the very people who created the crisis in the first place – the banks and their friends in Westminster. 

Join us on the train: meet 9.30am at Brighton Station.  Look for the BBC banner!


* * *


The abandoned Barclay’s bank in Preston Circus was occupied after the local anti-cuts demo on June 6th, .  In the UK 112,000 people are condemned to live on the streets without shelter, despite 1.5 million disused buildings.

To bring about a society based on sustaining life, not on sustaining the needs of the market, we have to take matters into our own hands. Radical Bank is about empowerment. It is a space to share skills and reshape ideas around gender, equality, self-sufficiency, ecology and direct action. When you strike one of us, you strike all of us.

Barclays have struck back by obtaining a repossession order, so that they can turn out the people who have restored the space and are making use of it as a community resource and shelter for those without homes, and leave it to disintegrate for the next 10 years.  This seems incredibly illogical, but of course it is the ruling elite defending their right to private property come hell or high water.

More info at Radical Bank of Brighton and Hove


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