On Saturday 28th January in central London, a group of disabled, sick and elderly people are going to engage in a daring and disruptive act of civil disobedience, and they’ve asked for our support. Meet at 11.30am at Holborn tube station with a charged Oyster card, ready to travel to a secret location. Look here for accessibility information, and here for the press release.
Britain isn’t perfect. But our welfare state offers something that everyone can be proud of. It’s a comforting thought that if tomorrow you lost your job, your home or even a limb, society would be there to help you through it.
At least until now. The government’s Welfare Reform Bill is just weeks away from becoming law and is the biggest threat the welfare state has faced in its history.
The Bill will take vital lifelines from the most vulnerable people in society. Right now, 500,000 families stand to lose their homes. Others will become imprisoned in them. Half a million will lose their disability allowance, including disabled children. People with terminal illnesses will be forced into work, and 3.2 million will be put through cruel tests that are pushing some to take their own lives. Millions of people – pensioners, low waged workers, the disabled, sick and unemployed – will fall deeper into poverty.
The government’s excuse for all this? The deficit, of course. Yet it continues to turn a blind eye to the £25 billion in tax dodged by corporations and rich individuals every year, a sum greater than the projected savings of the entire Welfare Reform Bill. Vodafone’s brand new £2bn tax dodge alone could pay for all of the cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which affects 500,000 people.
Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and Co. are choosing to inflict suffering on sick and disabled people rather than tackle rich tax dodgers, because they think the poor and vulnerable are invisible – that they won’t or can’t make a fuss – and the rest of us don’t care.
On Saturday 28th January, let’s show them that they’re wrong. A group of disabled, sick and elderly people are going to engage in a hugely daring and disruptive act of civil disobedience, and they’ve asked for our support.
Meet at 11.30am at Holborn tube station with a charged Oyster card, ready to travel to a secret location. The government are going to discover that the vulnerable can be very visible indeed, and that the rest of us do care.
The Lords have already shot down some of the government’s most damaging proposals. Our aim now is to shame the government into withdrawing the bill completely and instead create a welfare system that protects us all. Let’s make sure everyone knows that Cameron would rather make millions of sick and disabled people’s lives a misery than collect the tax from his millionaire mates.
See you at Holborn.
Thank you to everyone who pointed out problems with the accessibility of this action. We’ve tried to change some things to make the event more accessible and inclusive. We’ll also try and build these lessons into planning for future actions. Disabled people have been leading the battle against the Welfare Reform Bill, as they will be on Saturday.