Stop the Evictions of Families & Children!

11 families and 42 children face eviction from their privately rented homes in North Edinburgh due to the Benefits Cap – some have already been evicted and are in appalling homeless hostels.  This injustice is affecting families throughout Edinburgh, Scotland and Britain.

DEMONSTRATE AT EDINBURGH COUNCIL MEETING, CITY CHAMBERS, HIGH STREET

THURSDAY 29 JUNE, 9.30AM ONWARDS

North Edinburgh Parents Fight Back are organising this demo with support from other local groups like "Power to the People" and from ECAP, and ask that as many people come along as possible. This show of support is crucial in the fight for fairer housing.

CUTTING DISABILITY BENEFITS KILLS - Week of Action 23 – 30 June 2017

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT

 - STOP THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE

 - 48% ARE LOSING BENEFITS

Edinburgh demo/ lobby

4.30pm - 5.30/6pm Mon 26 June

 At Ben Macpherson MSP's surgery

 Leith Library, 28 - 30 Ferry Road, EH6 4AE

Scotland-wide demo

11.30am onwards Thurs 29 June

At Scottish Parliament, Holyrood - to coincide with First Minister's Questions

All Disability Living Allowance claimants are currently being re-assessed for Personal Independence Payments, even those who were awarded DLA for life. In the course of this re-assessment, 25% lose all this benefit, and receive no PIP at all. 23% lose some of their benefits, being awarded PIP at a reduced rate. (1)

SCRAP THE BENEFITS CAP – TORY OFFICES OCCUPIED!

 Occupation of Ruth Davidson's officesOccupation of Ruth Davidson's officesMothers and children facing eviction and their supporters occupied Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson's Edinburgh offices on 7th June to demand an end to the benefits cap. At least 11 families and 42 children face eviction from their privately rented homes in North Edinburgh due to the Benefit Cap drastically cutting their Housing Benefit, resulting in rent arrears.

Some of the families have already been evicted and been housed in appalling homeless hostels and bed and breakfast accommodation. Many more families in Edinburgh and throughout Britain are in this situation, and unless urgent action is taken immediately many more families will become homeless.

On the morning of 7th June the demonstrators entered and took over Davidson's constituency offices at 29 Roseburn Terrace for almost an hour. The North Edinburgh Fights Back banner and numerous placards were displayed in the office as the women and supporters condemned the callous Benefit Cap policies and stressed their determination to prevent any more evictions. Notices to quit have been issued for two more families for 19 June – the women and supporters are demanding Edinburgh Council provide accomodation in suitable flats in north Edinburgh well before the eviction date.

Stop the evictions! Everyone has the right to a home!

Demo inside the Council North OfficeDemo inside the Council North Office

Families from North Edinburgh facing eviction due to the Benefits Cap are taking action to insist on their right to a home.  On 18 May dozens of people took over the Edinburgh Council City Chambers building as the Council held its first post-election meeting. 

People occupied the Council North Office in Pilton on both 16 and 17 May to demand the Council grant decent accommodation to Melissa and her three children, evicted by her private landlord.  She had only been offered totally unacceptable homeless hostel accommodation.  Local groups Power to the People and All About Me were joined by activists answering the solidarity call by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.

Due to the benefits cap setting a maximum limit on benefits received, many families’ Housing Benefit has been drastically cut, meaning families have the impossible task of finding up to £200 extra per week for rent.  In Greater Pilton alone at least 11 families and 42 children are facing eviction by their private landlords. Some families, already evicted, have been split up, and housed in dirty and unhygienic temporary hostels, lacking cooking and clothes washing facilities, sometimes outside Edinburgh, eg Bathgate.

The women have applied to Edinburgh Council for Discretionary Housing Payment but the Council has not come near to covering the amount needed, and has recently reduced payments.   Private landlords are profiting from extortionate rents, then brutally evicting tenants who cannot afford to pay.

"WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED"

Protestors flooded into the City Chambers on the Royal Mile on 18 May, packing the public gallery and then taking over a corridor immediately next to the Council meeting.  “We shall not be moved”, “The John Maclean March” and “You cannae chuck our bairns oot the hoose” rang out from the choir among the women’s supporters.  Councillors refused to hear a deputation from the women  - angry protesters denounced the politicians as they filed out of the city chambers.

Confronted by the women and supporters in the Council on 18 May, local councillor and Labour Group leader Cammy Day promised Melissa and family would be granted a suitable flat in north Edinburgh.  People are determined that this promise will be kept – or more action will be taken.

Protesters occupying part of City Chambers building on 18 MayProtesters occupying part of City Chambers building on 18 May

STOP SANCTIONS DEMO IS A SUCCESS

 

Despite officials from Unite The Union trying to cancel Unite involvement in the protest at HIgh Riggs jobcentre - reportedly due to a request by the local PCS who said one of their workers had been threatened earlier in the week by an individual - the 30th March Day of Action against sanctions went ahead with two successful demos in Edinburgh.

25 - 30 folk from ECAP, We Are All Daniel Blake, Unite the Union Community branch and other organisations gathered at High Riggs Jobcentre in Tollcross for an hour and a half, leafleting and talking to claimants signing on there. Claimants signing on stopped to talk, tell of their experiences with sanctions and being disqualified from ESA - and express support for the demo.

We then moved to nearby Argyle House on Lady Lawson Street where Maximus carry out the degrading Work Capability Assessments, and ATOS do PIP assessments.  The notorious "If you exploit us, we will shut you down" banner was proudly on display making a much welcome return. And Rhythms of Resistance made a powerful and catchy appearance.

STOP BENEFIT SANCTIONS - DAY OF ACTION

DEMONSTRATE
– STOP BENEFIT SANCTIONS
- NO TO THE CUT IN EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE
- ABOLISH THE WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT: pay ESA on the basis of a GP
sickline

Thursday 30th March 
10.30am High Riggs Jobcentre, 20 High Riggs, Edinburgh EH3 9HU
12 noon Maximus assessment centre, Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Street,
Edinburgh, EH3 9SJ

I DANIEL BLAKE….

Groups round Scotland and beyond are organising community showings of the new Ken Loach film I DANIEL BLAKE, aiming to involve more people in grass-roots resistance to austerity, including solidarity acccompanying to benefits appointments and assessments.   Below is the text of a leaflet which ECAP has produced and is distributing at showings.

I DANIEL BLAKE......

Shows the horrific reality of today's benefits system. 

The lessons from the film are to support each other, to organise, resist and take action.

We need a movement to enforce these demands:

  • SCRAP THE WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT

    I Daniel Blake shows the callous Work Capability Assessment finding Daniel fit for work despite having had a serious heart attack. Jobcentres are full of seriously ill people being forced to look for work. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) should be paid on the basis of a sick line from the claimant's GP.

  • STOP THE CUT TO ESA (WRAG)

    The 30 pounds per week cut to ESA Work Related Activity Group benefit must be cancelled

  • END BENEFITS SANCTIONS

    Dire hardship, hunger and people being driven to foodbanks is unacceptable.  We need to organise to make sanctions unworkable.

  • GOOD QUALITY SOCIAL HOUSING FOR ALL

    Today housing is a commmodity – landlords, property companies and investors profit from the demolition of social housing and its replacement by private housing. As I Daniel Blake shows, a process of social cleansing, based on money, is underway.  We need a movement to assert that a home is a human right.

We invite you to get involved with WE ARE ALL DANIEL BLAKE, the network of grass-roots groups organising community showings of I Daniel Blake in Edinburgh

EDINBURGH COUNCIL AND THE LEAK - TWO AND A HALF YEARS, A COLLAPSED CEILING, AND STILL LEAKING….

MUCH of old Muirhouse is gone now, blitzed in advance of the ill-fated Waterfront Project in an orgy of city council vandalism remembered as ‘the Muirhoose Clearances.’ The empty acres that once held hundreds of families in social housing were sown with wild flower seed and hilariously rebranded as ‘the Meadows.’ But this fly-tipper’s dream is soon to be developed with new-builds – over half private and for sale, and only 30% genuine social housing for rent.

The rump of the remaining Muirhouse of old is the cluster of high rises, all named after islands in the Forth - Oxcars, Inchmickery, Birnies, Gunnet, Fidra . . . When Holyrood decreed that all kitchens and toilets in Scottish homes must meet a certain criteria the contract for the Muirhouse high rises was handed to the Mitie mega-corp and the result was a mighty shambles of exploding boilers, broken flushes and leaking pipes until a flood of tenant complaints saw Mitie kicked off the job, though years later council plumbers are still repairing the mega-company’s shoddy work. One 14-story block, Birnies Court, which suffered from the Mitie shambles, then had the further indignity of having the lovely shrubbery at its foot, against the protests of its tenants group, bulldozed and replaced with a ‘recycling depot,’ which soon become little more than a communal rubbish dump.

But 150 feet above the dumped mattresses and cookers and burst bin-bags, things are little better. On the block’s top floor council tenant Eddie M, who has lived in Birnies Court for almost 20 years, has spent the last two and a half years fruitlessly trying to get its leaking roof fixed. ‘The leak was first reported on the Easter Weekend of 2014,’ he says. ‘That was the start of a long, frustrating process of complaints that were ignored or met with lies and deceit. Nothing was done.’ Nearly two years after his initial report the sodden ceiling in the small bedroom came down. Subsequent investigations found that the whole roof was rotten and would have to be replaced.

SOLIDARITY WILL BEAT THE DWP BULLIES

solidarity at high riggssolidarity at high riggsDemonstrators from round Scotland besieged High Riggs Jobcentre on 3rd October to insist the DWP bosses recognise that all claimants have the right to be accompanied to all benefits-related appointments by the person or people of their choice.

This followed the appalling treatment of an ill and vulnerable claimant on 1st September when the management at High Riggs Jobcentre called the police to deny this man his right to be accompanied to a Job Seekers Allowance appointment by his father and an advocate from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.  

Members of Dundee Against Austerity, Glasgow Anarchist Collective, Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, and the Revolutionary Communist Group joined Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh at the protest. Speakers denounced the brutal benefits system, designed to make life on benefits so intolerable that workers will be forced to accept really bad wages and conditions – the attack on benefits is thus an attack on the whole working class, and all need to get involved in resistance. The escalating attack on recipients of Employment and Support Allowance was highlighted, as increasing numbers of very ill people are found “fit for work” and the numbers qualifying for ESA Support Group fall drastically.

ADVOCACY IS NOT A CRIME!

DEFEND THE RIGHT TO BE ACCOMPANIED

BESIEGE HIGH RIGGS JOBCENTRE

MON 3rd OCTOBER  12 NOON – 2PM

Police preventing advocacy

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