Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Welfare Reform Letter

A vey important letter on the British welfare 'reform' plans, signed by representatives of various groups working in the field, appeared in the Morning Star earlier this week. I felt it was well worth reproducing here -

Where are claimants' voices?

There would appear to be a consensus across the main political paties that drastic welfare reform is needed.
However, one needs to ask where are the claimants' voices in all this? There has been little consultation with the people who will be affected most by these reforms - and, of course, the workers in the Department of Work and Pensions.
In terms of the, in our view, draconian Welfare Reform Bill sadly going largely unopposed through Parliament, over 600 responses were sent to the Work and Pensions Select Committee consultation on the welfare reform green paper.
Yet few, if any, of the fears and concerns of these respective groups have been taken into account in the published Bill.
The latest savage proposals in the Freud review to privatise the welfare system and force individuals "back to work" will ultimately benefit only third-sector private companies who have become multimillion pound enterprises as a result of their government contracts.
These reforms clearly represent the biggest structural changes in welfare since the 1940s - indeed, there are now clear similarities between the Freud proposals and President Clinton's seminal 1996 welfare reforms, which have been such a disaster for poor people in the US.
Many people on welfare benefits, particularly disabled people, have contacted our various groups and are very angry, concerned and distressed about these reforms and wonder what the future holds for them.
JOHN ROGERS (Sheffield Welfare Action Network)
EILEEN DEVANEY (Co-ordinator, UK Coalition Against Poverty)
SIMONE ASPIS (United Kingdom's Disabled People's Council)
STEVE BLAKE (Welfare Reform UK)
COLIN HAMPTON (Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centres)
BOB HOLMAN, MARSHA JANE THOMPSON (UNISON National Young Members Forum, personal capacity)

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