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 accompanying to benefits appointments and assessments. Below is the text of a leaflet which ECAP has produced and is distributing at showings.
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 ASSESSMENTI 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 SANCTIONSDire hardship, hunger and people being driven to food banks is unacceptable. We need to organise to make sanctions unworkable.
- GOOD QUALITY SOCIAL HOUSING FOR ALLToday housing is a commodity – 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
The Scottish Government – our demands for devolved welfare
- Stop the transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment NOW
Claimants are losing benefits in the transfer from DLA to PIP (30% on DLA not getting any PIP as at April 2016) – the Scottish government MUST halt the DLA – PIP transfer while devising the new system. Additional help for people who already lost out on the transfer, e.g. through an enhanced Scottish Welfare Fund.
- No private companies to be used in Personal Independence Payment (PIP)assessments The primary evidence should be from the claimant’s GP and medical specialists, and input from the claimant.
- Lifetime awards of PIP for people with long-term conditions and degenerative illnesses
- Appeals against refusal of PIP to go straight to appeal to independent tribunalScrap the compulsory mandatory reconsideration stage which largely functions to deter appeals – as portrayed graphically in I Daniel Blake (the Social Security body can still change their mind and make an award once they see the claimant’s appeal)
- Restore the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) mobility criteria for PIP and restore benefits to those who have lost outAutomatic reinstatement of mobility benefits lost through the eligibility criteria being dropped from walking 50m to walking 20m. In the new system the less restrictive rules on mobility to be restored.
- Cover sanctioned claimants for lost benefits
- Increase Carers Allowance to the level of Pension creditThe Scottish government plan to increase this benefit from 62.10 to the level of JSA (73.10) is only a small step in the right direction. It should be significantly increased, e.g. to the level of Pension Credit (155.60).
- Carers Allowance – End Means-testingCarers Allowance should no longer be means-tested, should not be counted as income for other benefits and must not affect the benefit of the person being cared for.
- Discretionary Housing Payment to fully cover loss to all hit by new Benefits Cap
- Pay decent level of benefitsBenefits should be increased annually iin the same way as the State Pension triple-lock – the higher of inflation, the increase in average earnings or 2.5%.
- Respect claimants right to be accompaniedThe right to be accompanied and represented at all appointments to be a legal right, and notices to that effect displayed in all benefits offices
- All benefits lines to be free to phone
- Universal Credit
– Make payments fortnightly not monthly
– Make payments to individuals to avoid abusive/ controlling partners keeping all the household benefits
– Pay benefit to cover Westminster cuts to Child Tax Credits and to cover benefits cap cuts.
– End discrimination against under 35’s renting privately, pay the full housing element
Plus we need to ensure the Scottish Government keep their promise for no compulsion or sanctions connected to the Work Programme/ employability schemes
LETS GET ORGANISED
The horrific nature of the benefits system, accurately portrayed in I Daniel Blake, is due to deliberate government policy to force people to accept low-paid insecure jobs. The assault on welfare is part of a global austerity attack by ruling classes to make the majority pay for the crisis of a chaotic profit-system.
It’s in the interests of all working class people, white collar, blue collar, zero-hours workers, migrant workers, unemployed, disabled, lone parents, claimants, everyone…. to create a movement to resist benefit cuts and austerity.
It’s clear widespread action is needed to change the policies of the heartless Tory government. In Scotland, the SNP talk against austerity, but the cuts by SNP Councils and the cuts in Education show a different story. We need to be prepared to back up our demands on the Scottish Government with action.
We need to support each other in our dealings with the benefits system. Never face them alone! You have the right to be accompanied at all benefits appointments and at all sickness and disability benefits assessments.
Take a friend, relative or advisor with you to any problematic jobcentre appointment and to all sickness/ disability benefits assessments. For such assessments it’s vital to prepare well, starting with how you fill in the form. At the appointment your accompanier needs a list of all the ways in which you are entitled to points and make sure all are covered and agreed by the assessor. See our section on “Benefit Medical Exams”. Contact us about informal training for accompanier.
We encourage the formation of community solidarity groups to resist benefit cuts, organise solidarity accompanying and when needed organise solidarity call-outs against sanctions, workfare and other attacks. We need to build a counter-power to beat the DWP bullies.
Contact Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty to get involved at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and find us on Facebook & Twitter
NOTE: The screenwriter for I DANIEL BLAKE, Paul Laverty, met ECAP as part of his research, and ECAP and ACE are thanked in the film credits.
Facebook for We are all Daniel Blake in Edinburgh organising community screenings of the film
Website for We are all Daniel Blake in Edinburgh