Friday 21 July Edinburgh – ATOS KILLS : WE FIGHT BACK – Support the Disabled People Against Cuts Week of Action
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh are calling for action in Edinburgh on Friday 21st July as part of the Disabled People Against Cuts Britain-wide week of action. Gather at the Argyle House Assessments Centres from 1pm.
Friday 21 July
1pm Gather at Argyle House, Lady Lawson St, site of the Assessment centres run by ATOS for Personal Independence Payment and by Maximus for the Work Capability Assesments for Employment and Support Allowance. These profit-motivated companies are making millions from unfairly cutting disabled and sick people’s benefits.
Till approx 2.15pm. Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9SJ
2.30pm onwards – Gather at High Riggs jobcentre (less than 5 mins walk away)
High Riggs and other jobcentres continue to harass people and refer people for unfair sanctions, including claimants on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Till approx 3.30pm. High Riggs Jobcentre, 20 High Riggs, Edinburgh EH3 9HU
We need to resist the assault on social security for people who are sick and disabled. As part of the class war by the rich against the poor, benefits for the disabled and people with health conditions are under attack. People of working age receiving Disability Living Allowance are being re-assessed to decide whether or not they will be paid Personal Independence Payment. 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. (see here page 7 )
Even if people are awarded PIP, they are not secure, due to the way the benefit is periodically reviewed for many claimants. 44% of all claimants who have a planned review of their personal independence payment (PIP) lose out as a result. The proportion of claimants who had their award reduced when their PIP was reviewed rose from 10% in 2014 to nearly 20% in 2016; the proportion of claimants who had their PIP stopped altogether after a planned review rose from 13% in 2014 to nearly 25% in 2016.
Nearly half new ESA claimants are being refused benefit – despite the fact that their GP has certified that they are not fit for work. Figures to September last year show that 47% of Work Capability Assessments for new claims are resulting in a “Fit to Work” verdict. And even many of those who do qualify for ESA now face a benefit cut – new claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA since April have had their benefits cut by nearly 30%, to JSA level.
The assessments are degrading and cause immense stress. We aim to build a movement which can force the government to scrap the Work Capability Assessments and PIP assessments. ESA should be paid on the basis of a sickline from the GP, who after all is the medical professional who knows you best.
NEVER FACE THEM ALONE!
Meanwhile no-one should face these rigged assessments alone. If called in for a PIP or ESA assessment it is essential you seek solidarity. Get support as early as possible, research how you will gain points in the assessment, get advice filling in the forms, if called for assessment be accompanied.
We need to build a presence at these assessment centres so that we can begin to build a power from below to challenge the unfair assessment process.
And in Scotland we need to build a movement to force the Scottish Government to stop the re-assessments of people on the devolved Disability Living Allowance and PIP benefits.
All are invited to join us on 21 July, particularly those directly affected. Disability rights groups are invited to bring their banners and placards, and publications to go on the stall tables.
These cuts are an attack on us all, any of us could fall sick or become disabled. The assault on benefits is aimed not only at claimants but at undermining all workers wages and conditions. In a world of potential plenty we cannot tolerate the rich trying to make us pay the price for the financial crisis provoked by their greed.