Today is the third National Day of Protest against Benefit Cuts with actions across Britain, including several in London. PCS R&C Euston Branch supports the day of protest and will have a presence at the ATOS Origin Healthcare Assessment Centre protest in Archway this morning.
So, why do employed civil servants support a day of protest against benefit cuts?
- The estimated loss to fraudulent claims is £1.5 billion a year. That’s a lot of money but the estimated amount of benefits which go unclaimed is more than ten times that amount: £16 billion.
- To attack the unemployed for being unemployed at a time when there are few jobs and, thanks to Government cuts, there are fewer every day, is attacking the most vulnerable people in our society, people who have paid in to the welfare state and should be able to rely on it to support them when necessary,
- The attacks on welfare ignore the wider issue: there is an estimated £120 billion tax gap which, if collected, could avoid the cuts to both jobs and welfare.
- Our colleagues and fellow PCS members in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are being put in a position where they have to try to catch people out and reduce the number of claimants rather than helping them back in to work.
We are specifically supporting the ATOS Origin protest because:
- ATOS Origin are a private company which exists to make a profit, not to provide a service. Their assessments aren’t about ensuring people who can claim Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) do so, they’re about reducing the amount of people who claim.
- Most people have a GP. Isn’t somebody’s GP, who knows the person’s medical history, better placed to judge somebody’s ability to work than somebody who’s only contact with them is one interview/assessment?
Benefit cuts don’t just hit disabled and unemployed people: we are also seeing the end of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), attacks on Housing Benefit and cuts to Tax Credits. Millions are being affected while bankers continue to award themselves multi-million pound bonuses and companies use accounting techniques to avoid paying billions in tax.
So that’s why PCS R&C Euston Branch supports the third National Day Of Protest Against Benefit Cuts.
In addition to this morning’s ATOS Origin protest there are also actions at the Daily mail offices this afternoon and in Westminster this evening.