Brighton Benefits Campaign meetings

April 12, 2017

Day of Action Against Sanctions 2017

Following a productive organising meeting last night, Brighton Benefits Campaign will be holding regular meetings again to plan actions including the relaunch of the Enough is Enough campaign against all benefit cuts.

The next meeting is on Thursday 27th April at CASE Central, 4 Crestway Parade Hollingdean BN1 7BL, starting at 7pm.

Contact us on brightonbenefitscampaign@riseup.net if you want more information.




One Day Without Us – stand with migrants!

February 19, 2017


Since the June referendum, both EU nationals and non-European migrants living in the UK have come under enormous pressure. Inflamed by anti-migrant hostility from the media and politicians, racism and prejudice are being openly expressed, accompanied by a steep rise in hate crimes – including murder.  Benefit claimants – the unemployed, disabled people, lone parents and the low paid – have now been joined by migrants as scapegoats blamed for all our ills, rather than the corporate greed, grasping landlords, feckless bankers, media tycoons, tax dodgers and all those profiteers who are driving the gulf between rich and poor ever wider and destroying our society.

Our government of millionaires and landlords now plan to use Brexit to launch a further assault on the rest of us. Human rights and environmental protections can be cast aside, as once again profit is put before people. Three million EU citizens who have made their homes in the UK face losing their rights. One million are threatened with deportation.

We cannot just stand by and allow this to happen. On the UN World Day of Justice we are inviting migrants from across the world to take part in a nationwide Day of Action to show how important migration is for our society and to defend the principle of free  movement.  This is also a great opportunity to convince more MPs to join the opposition to a headlong rush into Brexit disaster.

We invite British-born citizens to stand alongside the men, women and children who are our doctors, nurses, carers, students, teachers, farm workers, scientists, shopkeepers, restaurant staff, taxi drivers, writers, workmates, classmates, friends, neighbours, family and partners. Whatever your nationality and place of origin join us and make February 20th a day of protest, solidarity and celebration.

For 24 hours, take time out from your normal activities. Close your business, leave your classes, march or have a party, hold a meeting or a rally. Take the day off work if you can. Wear badges and armbands, put up posters or give out leaflets, make placards. Hold mini demos at lunch or tea-time, have a five-minute silence, stand outside your place of work for ten minutes or an hour or more. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Let people know who you are and what you do.

Britain was created by migration. Whether you are an immigrant or not, whether your family arrived 4, 40, 400 or 4000 years ago, join us in celebrating and defending our multi-cultural society, our  migrant colleagues, neighbours, friends and fellow citizens, and the  human right to free movement.


Public meeting: Migration Ethnicity & the aftermath of the referendum

September 30, 2016


We live in a society created by migration, a land populated by people from many places who arrived over millennia, individuals and communities who came to find a new life, to work or to trade, to flee war and oppression, brought here as servants or as slaves. The flow has never been one way and emigration, whether voluntary or enforced, increased with colonialism. Yet until the turn of the 20th century there were virtually no restrictions on migration or free movement, despite constant wars and conflict, and large numbers of migrant workers, traders and communities from all over the world settled in London and other cities.

This changed with the 1905 Aliens Act (primarily intended to keep out Jews from Eastern Europe fleeing persecution). Restrictions have proliferated ever since,   usually as a reaction to popular fears driven by media scare-mongering, as well as incitement from the political right, and all of it more or less racist. More anti-immigrant legislation has been enacted in the last decade than ever before.  Now with the Brexit vote we are faced with a potential lockdown on free movement of any kind, alongside a rise in hate crime and racial abuse directed not only against EU citizens but anyone who might be seen as ‘foreign’.

Why has this happened?  There is evidence that a rise in rampant nationalism is directly related to social decay, as people become frustrated and angry at being  unable to access a decent life. Over the past decade the rights of ordinary people – employment, housing, healthcare, education, justice, social security – have been increasingly denied with the introduction of ‘austerity’ and the giving of trillions in public money to bail out banks.

Yet we see the blame falling not on feckless bankers but on migrants, benefit  claimants, disabled people and the poor. Nationalism is a useful tool to divide and rule, to misdirect attention from those actually responsible – the millionaires and capitalists who put private greed before public need, who pay low wages and exact high rents, who run the media as well as the government. Is it any surprise that they encourage the rest of us to blame each other?

At the same time, the Brexit vote has highlighted endemic deep-rooted prejudice within our society, and not only in working class communities faced with social meltdown. Racism is institutionalised, fostered by ignorance and narrow education, maintained by a culture of blame and lowest-common-denominator national pride, and inflamed by the media and the right.

How do we stop this? By mass education, by challenging prejudice and lies, by countering abuse and hate-crime at every opportunity, by organising to defend communities and individuals under attack, and most of all by the development of solidarity. Solidarity with workers wherever they come from and with all those  struggling for their rights. We may feel helpless as individuals, like a tiny cog in a vast machine, but brought together we can create change. In the final analysis we all have a common interest, and a common humanity.

Join us in finding out the facts, hearing the experiences of migrants and others, and working together on strategies for the future.

Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/101479910299882/


Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting

September 24, 2016


Wednesday 28th September
6pm CASE Central

Discussion of the Voluntary Charter with Mike Aiken
Synergy Centre update
B&HCC renewed Council Tax attack
Action against welfare deaths with DPAC


Day of Action – Tuesday 6th September: NO MORE WELFARE DEATHS!

September 5, 2016


Tuesday 6th September

12 noon Crown House Upper North Street


During its last term in office, the Labour government introduced the Work Capability Assessment, administered by infamous poverty pimps Atos. It was supposedly ‘a test of what you can do, not what you can’t’ … The result was that many disabled people were forced off the benefits which enabled them to live. Those who failed could be put through a stressful appeals process, and if successful, dragged back within months to be tested again.

In the years since, successive governments have overseen accelerating benefit cuts as part of the destruction of the welfare state and other public services. Cuts have caused increasing physical and mental ill health, and rocketing numbers of deaths and suicides among disabled claimants. At the same time the millionaires in parliament and in the media have determinedly scapegoated claimants to justify bullying them into hunger, homelessness, hopelessness and destitution, resulting in a rise in hate crime.


Join Brighton Benefits Campaign and Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts in saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! In work or out of work, disabled or not, we all have a right to live decent lives. Social security was intended to aid us in doing so when we can’t earn a living ourselves. It’s a right not a privilege or a reward.

No more deaths



Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting

August 22, 2016




4 Crestway Parade Hollingdean BN1 7BL

Planning actions: anti-workfare pickets, demos with DPAC etc
Upcoming events including local public meeting on migration
Information & discussion

All welcome


National Day of Action Against PIP

July 12, 2016

DoA v PIP poster

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is the replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA).   DLA was intended to provide support for the extra costs of being disabled, enabling disabled people to live a life on more even terms with non-disabled people. The DLA system worked well, but the entire PIP system is rotten to the core.

Just as the Work Capability Assessment was intended to throw disabled people off benefits and onto the dole queue, the whole purpose of making the change from DLA to PIP is to remove their entitlements to vital support.

This is not about saving public money.  Private companies Atos and Capita are making a killing from conducting sham PIP assessments which are seeing thousands of claimants having their benefits refused, their incomes slashed and their motability cars removed.  Reports of the shoddy nature of the assessments are growing every week.  Although the success rate at appeal tribunals is high, it is taking up to six months or longer for cases to be heard, leaving those most in need struggling to survive.

Over the last eight years, increasing numbers of disabled people  have been forced into destitution or worse, just to fulfil the aim of successive governments out to serve their wealthy friends by destroying the welfare state, slashing taxes and forcing millions of ordinary people into virtual slavery.  The attack on the disabled is part of a mass assault which affects the rights of all of us.

Whether or not you are disabled, whether or not you are on benefits, we invite you to join Brighton Benefits Campaign & Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts in taking action against the poverty pimps who are doing the government’s dirty work for huge profits.





Anti-workfare demo at the Synergy Centre tomorrow

June 10, 2016

Saturday 11th June – meet at 10am Clock Tower

We are sorry that MAIS and the Free University are still going to be using the Synergy Centre for their event this Saturday.  We understand they have had problems finding an alternative suitable venue.

However the Synergy Centre has only recently come into existence.  Before it opened, groups and campaigns found venues to hold their events where deliberate use of unpaid labour was not an issue. Or where the issue was speedily resolved when it was brought to the attention of the venue management, as happened with the Brighthelm.

The Synergy Centre is unrepentent about its involvement with Seetec and the Community Work Placement scheme, and sticks by the anti-claimant rhetoric of its website.  We will continue to encourage all other left and anti-austerity groups to boycott the Synergy Centre until this situation is resolved.

Stop Workfare at Synergy


Emergency Housing & Temporary Accomodation residents meeting

May 29, 2016


Wednesday 8th June

7pm Friends Meeting House Ship Street Brighton

Meeting for residents in Emergency Housing & Temporary Accommodation in Brighton & Hove

Emergency and Temporary Accomodation is a scandal, provided not by the council itself but by companies who can make many hundreds a month for each shabby damp room, far more than they would get in rent on the open market!

The council is failing to provide people in need with secure, supportive and habitable accommodation.  There are bedbugs in Grand Parade, suicides and drug overdoses, families and people with mental illnesses living in unsuitable conditions with shit cooking facilities and sometimes no ability to wash clothes.

If you are fed up with your living situation then you need to come to this interesting meeting with like minded residents who want to reclaim our housing, improve conditions and put pressure on the council to rethink their policy on Emergency and Temporary Accommodation.

If you have any questions or want to clarify anything then please email daniel@survivorblog.co.uk

It’s time to fight back!  Together we can expose the wrongdoing that is happening and we need your voices and horror stories. See you there!



Workfare at the Synergy Centre continued

May 28, 2016

Synergy workfare 1

Following a meeting between its representatives and those of the Brighton Hove & District Trades Council, Brighton & Hove Green Party and the Brighton People’s Assembly, the Synergy Centre issued a statement BrightoningLivesMay2016 which has been seen by some as a commitment to withdraw from workfare.

Brighton Benefits Campaign has replied to the statement, questioning this supposed commitment (which would not have been forthcoming at all if various organisations had not threatened to boycott the Synergy Centre unless it withdrew).

The Synergy Centre is not simply an odd charity that uses workfare. By hosting and supporting the Brightoning Lives project and by its acceptance of Community Work Placements, it has chosen to be an integral part of the government’s workfare project and its ideology. The reasons are: 

1. Workfare is part of the government’s campaign to demonise claimants and to mystify the real causes of unemployment. The Synergy Centre is happy to contribute to this propaganda, by stating on its website that the benefits system affects claimants’ ‘behaviour’ and makes them ‘stick with unemployment’, and in the statement that workfare is ‘helping people into employment’. The Synergy Centre’s involvement in workfare is entirely consistent with its stated ideological position.

2. The Synergy Centre makes misleading comparisons between the Community Work Programme and other workfare schemes. Previously introduced schemes involved the voluntary sector too. The Community Work Programme is also part of the ongoing government attempt to transform the voluntary sector into a compulsory sector that one day could replace jobs in public services. We are already aware that Jobcentre workers are being substituted by claimants on workfare, and organisations such as the NHS are increasingly relying on unpaid volunteers. By convincing the left that the Community Work Programme is acceptable, the Synergy Centre is helping the government’s project.

3. The Synergy Centre has rescued Seetec from its difficulty in placing claimants, by hosting a project whose aim was to receive claimants from Seetec. One of Seetec’s subcontractors, paid public money to find placements, set up and now runs the Brightoning Lives scheme. This is an alarming conflict of interests.

4. Seetec’s difficulties in placing claimants was the result of over six years of successful campaigning against workfare, which educated people about the implications of workfare, made the government retreat from placing claimants with businesses, and made a large number of charities withdraw from schemes – over 644 having already signed up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary. By convincing people that the Community Work Programme is acceptable, the Synergy Centre is undermining these gains, and sabotaging the ongoing campaign by Boycott Workfare which is specifically addressing the CWP.

5. The statement that Brightoning Lives does not replace jobs and does not make profits is misleading. Brightoning Lives asks clients to pay for their services and also competes with small businesses such as decorators, dog walkers and gardeners. Claimants decorated the Synergy Centre for free, increasing its value. All this would be pure profit because they are not paid for their labour. Also, by their own admission, Brightoning Lives has ‘financial ties to the CWP’.

6. The statement’s claim that claimants can return to Seetec sanction-free is questionable, and in fact is countered by stating that participants “are not forced against their will to attend – from the outset they are given a choice to either remain or return to Seetec to be placed elsewhere.” In other words claimants are given the choice to attend workfare at the Synergy Centre or to perform it somewhere else, or to sit in the Seetec office for 35 hours a week doing nothing. They are not given the choice to not attend at all, and by its involvement the Synergy Centre is helping to prolong this situation. We know that claimants attended the project in fear of sanctions. Some have complained that they have been forced to do mind-numbing and harmful activities eg. cutting brambles without gloves, without any health and safety considerations.

7. The termination of the scheme is not the same as a conscious withdrawal from it. When Brighton Benefits Campaign delegates talked to the Synergy Centre’s directors about ending their connection with workfare and signing up to ‘Keep Volunteering Voluntary’, this was treated with utter contempt. The Synergy Centre’s refusal to sign up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement means that they can ‘withdraw’ from this scheme and enter into another one later. The Synergy Centre is continuing to use workfare as long as the scheme lasts and the fact that this scheme terminates does not change their position in principle.  It is absurd that the Synergy Centre is committing to a ‘transitional’ period that will end in September – why does it take four months to withdraw from a scheme they have only been involved in for two months to begin with?

From everything that they have said, it is clear that Brightoning Lives / Synergy Centre are not committed to opposing workfare, and have instead justified workfare schemes. They have refused to sign the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement, showing contempt for the campaign. They are undermining the war against workfare which Boycott Workfare, Brighton Benefits Campaign, SolFed and other groups have been successfully waging for the last six years.  We will continue to work for a boycott of the Synergy Centre by radical and left wings groups.