'Who wants to evict a millionaire?' What you can expect on the day...

Posted on Thu 11th Apr 2013, 9:07pm

This Saturday UK Uncut will be bringing civil disobedience to the doorsteps of some of the reckless millionaires responsible for the unjust and unnecessary cuts devastating people’s lives across the country.

Here’s what you can expect from the day:

 - In London hundreds of people will be gathering at the main concourse of King’s Cross station at 11.30am. They will be heading to the home of a mega-rich politician who is directly responsible for the bedroom tax for a day of resistance. Bring an oyster card zones 1 - 2, water and food to share, comfy shoes, flags, pillow cases, paints, balloons and banners!

- In Brixton, Chelmsford, Birmingham and Manchester, other groups will be taking to the streets to fight back. We also have a few surprises planned…

- We will use civil disobedience that is creative, determined and exciting. UK Uncut has transformed public and private spaces, including high street tax dodgers and banks, blocked roads and bridges and partied outside the deputy prime minister’s house to protest against austerity. Expect more of the same!

- We will be putting our bodies in the way of economic and social injustice. We will be resisting the cuts that are devastating ours and others lives, and bring that resistance to the homes of the politicians who are pushing these cuts.

- We will find ways to get to our target no matter what. It’s important that we look after each other and work together to reach our destination. Follow the pillow cases and UK Uncut on twitter and facebook to get to the target. We always aim to be creative, child friendly, caring of each other while we confront those in power. Please don’t bring loads of booze, we need to be on our toes and we can have a beer later.

- We know for sure what will happen if we don’t act and stay at home: Cameron, Osborne and co will carry on ripping the heart out of the welfare state.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

If you’re coming along on Saturday, as with any protest and act of civil disobedience, it’s important to know your legal rights.

At the London action on Saturday there will be legal observers from GBC who are there to monitor police behaviour – it’s important that you report anything to them that you witness.

GBC's legal support number is: 07946 541511

The Activists’ Legal Project have a model ‘bust card’ – providing simple info about what to do if you do get arrested- these will be given out on the day.

Arrests at UK Uncut actions are rare, but the police response is unpredictable and heightened security concerns from the police because of Thatcher’s death make it more uncertain. It’s important that we are looking out for each other and for the people who come to our actions.

We will have fun, we will make our resistance known and we will look out for each other’s safety.

For more information you can directly contact one of the specialist groups set up to help protesters deal with the police and the legal system.

The Activists’ Legal Project and the Green & Black Cross (GBC) offer legal briefings and resources.

See you on the streets!

Guest blog: Fight the bedroom tax with anger and action

Posted on Tue 9th Apr 2013, 7:14pm




Fight the bedroom tax with anger and action
Guest blog by Frances Ryan

One person can look at something and see it entirely differently than another. Apparently, the ‘bedroom tax’ is one of those.

We all know what it is by now and we all know who it will affect. The majority are disabled. Most are struggling to pay the bills. Some are victims of domestic violence or are parents of abused kids. They’re the people who can least afford a penalty for having an ‘extra’ room in their home and, as an added hit, are the ones most likely to need one.

I’d be interested in the person who can look at that and think it is anything other than wrong.

Some manage to look at the penalty and see it as a way of making things fairer, citing large families currently on the housing waiting list and private tenants who pay higher bills. Because it is the definition of fairness to make the most vulnerable take the brunt of the cuts and the way to make things better for the poor is to set them against the poor.

Some claim Discretionary Housing Payments – subjective, tiny, and without the right to appeal – mean there’s a safety net. The same people listen gladly to David Cameron making grossly misleading statements in Parliament about many having nothing to worry about, when they do, and they are fully aware of that.

Some say it’s not a tax, it’s a cut. Some can hear a human being’s fears of homelessness, choosing between food and heating, and losing access to their children – and claim semantics is what we should be angry about.
 
I’d suggest being angry about something else.

The parents with the adult disabled child, who are barely getting by. They need the box room to store oxygen cylinders, adult sized nappies, and specialist equipment but the Government says it is spare.

The single person with severe anxiety who has lived on their street for almost thirty years. There’s no one bedroom flat within ten miles of her home and she doesn’t know how she’s going to cope.

The husband who sleeps in a different bedroom to his wife because her disability mean she needs a specialist bed. She has bed sores and he’s afraid what will happen if they’re charged for needing the only room the bed fits in. Other benefit cuts are coming this month and they have no luxuries left to lose.

The disabled almost-pensioner who has been assessed by the Government as being physically unable to work, but has been told by the same department that he’ll now have to find some way to make up the short fall in his housing benefit. The council paid for many adaptations to his house and if he has to move out, they’ll have to do it again somewhere else.

The woman who was beaten by her partner and will be penalised for living in the house she was given as a place to be safe. And her six year old son who’s recovering from abuse and can’t cope with having his little sister share his space. He cut her hair off once and his mum faces making her two children share or not being able to pay the bills.

The people I mention are real people, a few who I’ve spoken to over the past couple of months. They’re a small section of the number who have written to me and other journalists, hoping, I imagine, that someone will listen. They’re a handful of the hundreds of thousands in our society who will be made poorer this month as millionaires enjoy a tax cut.

It’s time to be angry about that. It’s time to take action. A day of it in fact, on April 13th.

Find out how you can get involved in UK Uncut's protest against the bedroom tax 'Who wants to evict a millionaire?' on Saturday 13th April here.

Frances Ryan is a freelance writer, predominantly for The Guardian and New Statesman. You can follow her on Twitter: @frances__ryan

Guest blog: We can live without billionaires but not without bedrooms

Posted on Fri 29th Mar 2013, 8:48am


We can live without billionaires but not without bedrooms
Guest blog by Ellie Mae O'Hagan

What do we learn from the top ten names on the Sunday Times Rich List 2012? We learn that the richest people living in the UK are all men. We learn that their wealth is increasing. We learn that the vast majority of them made their money by selling us the basics we need to survive like property or energy, or simply the hazy process of moving money around – ‘investment’ as they call it.

We learn that not one of them, despite the billions of pounds they have between them and their opulent multiple homes, will be taxed for having too much. None of them will be told by the government ‘I’m sorry, but this country is in recession, and we need your money to help us get out of it.’ That conversation will be reserved for single mothers and people with disabilities.
 
The situation is now worse than the government freezing benefits, though that’s bad enough. Now they’re going after people’s homes. Make no mistake about it: the upcoming cap on housing benefit coupled with the bedroom tax will make people in this country, the fifth most prosperous in the world and residence of all those billionaires, homeless.  

What does one say about a government that enables this? Is it uncivilised? Is it incompetent? Is it cruel? Maybe some people reading this will think that it is none of those things. After all, they will think, we can’t take money from those billionaires to prevent the poor from having to leave their homes. If we do that, the billionaires will punish us by taking what little they give us away. Well, if that’s true, what does that say about the rich? It makes them sound like sociopaths. Are these billionaires, some of whom delight in calling themselves philanthropists, happy that the government depicts them in such a way?

When the government of a wealthy country is enacting policies that make people homeless, we can’t stand by and let them. We need to take action – a day of action, if you like. We need to bring these cuts home to the people making them. So let’s do that on April 13th. Let’s pay this wealthy government a visit. See you on the streets.
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