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 the forcing of lone parents with young children to sign on, along with increasing privatisation of public services. Lucrative contracts were given to private providers such as Atos, Maximus and A4E to bully claimants off benefits. At a time when trillions of pounds could be found for illegal wars and bank bailouts, the poorest and most vulnerable in society were being blamed for a crisis they didn’t create.
Since 2010 this assault has intensified and broadened enormously, using the austerity scam as the perfect excuse for cuts and outsourcing. To justify their actions and turn us against one other, the millionaires in government and the media demonise and then target one vulnerable group after another – unemployed and disabled people, lone parents, young people, low paid workers, migrants, and now pensioners.
A decent, public social security system is in the interest of all of us, whether we are in work or unemployed, frail or able-bodied. The attack on benefits is at the heart of a mass assault on all our rights – employment, housing, healthcare, education, social security and justice. Benefit cuts don’t only affect the unemployed and other claimants, but everybody who is working. Benefit levels are the floor of our wages, and cuts and workfare 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.
Brighton Benefits Campaign is not a single interest or welfare rights group – we don’t provide individual solutions to the current attacks on our living conditions. Instead, we believe that it is only with a collective response to these attacks through developing a broad campaign of benefit claimants, workers, trade unionists and anybody else who wants to fight back that we can actually change things. The odds against us may seem insurmountable but with solidarity we can fight back.
If you want to get involved come along to a meeting or contact us:
Twitter: Brighton Benefits @BrightonBenefit
or via the form below