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Welfare Abolition Act – LCAP raid the DWP

March 10th, 2009 · post by tommy · 2 Comments

On the morning of March 9th 2009, a group of determined London coalition against poverty (LCAP) campaigners raided Adelphi House in Central London, in response to the recently proposed ‘Welfare Reform Act ‘. The building, which houses the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was blockaded at both the front and side entrances between the hours of 11am and 2pm.

After a failed attempt to locate the DWP office where the bill was written, the building found itself in lockdown, seriously disrupting the functionality of the tenant companies, and escalating the pressure on the government to repeal the proposed legislation.

The ‘Welfare Reform Act’, renamed by campaigners as ‘The Welfare Abolition Act’ is due to be passed very soon, provoking LCAP to call a week of action. The proposed reform of our welfare rights will introduce a number of Draconian changes, including:

  • Introducing a compulsory work for benefits system in a US-style workfare scheme
  • Privatising more of the JobCentre Plus to companies which will be paid more the less benefits they award.
  • Increased punishments for claimants
  • Cuts on carers’ allowance
  • Forced 2-parent registration on birth certificates, including for survivors on violence

After jumping the security barriers, the campaigners were met with a small amount of force from security personnel, but no great deal of physical aggression was exerted from either side. Protesters then distributed information about the new bill throughout various offices in the building before re-joining the blockade at the front – and later the side – entrance to the building.

In the lobby of Adelphi House, protesters – divided into two groups, those dressed as bankers, and those who remained normally clothed – staged a mock altercation, with one side’s tongues lodged firmly in their cheeks.

The demonstration ended at around 2pm, when the police – who had been surprisingly vacant until that point – began exerting pressure on the demonstrators after a third team left to block the side entrance and fully prevent easy access. After the campaigners moved to let a blind woman through their line, the police moved in to re-open the barrier and the resulting scuffle ended with the activists deciding to leave in high spirits and defiance.

This was an effective demonstration, highlighting an important social issue, and should therefore be heralded as a successful act. LCAP’s week of Action against the proposed bill is set to continue and last until the 15th.

→ 2 CommentsThis entry belongs to the following categories: News · notes of resistance

2 responses so far

  • Shaun posted:
    Mar 25, 2009 at 11:23 pm. Comment #1

    Dont see what the big deal is. This country has a problem with benefits, people living on them for their whole lives and not working while other hard working people pay for them. This includes the society of teenage pregnancies and giving them free housing and care for doing nothing more than bein irresponsible. People need to take responsibility for their actions.

    Privatising the jobcentre is of course bad. But the rest of this bill, why would you fight against it? You obviously have no experience of any of the issues its trying to combat. I grew up in a country with no benefits system what so ever. Life hasnt been easy, but it builds your character. Protecting lazy people is foolish.

  • Tom posted:
    Mar 31, 2009 at 10:51 am. Comment #2

    Hi Shaun,

    You imply that pregnant women should not receive housing? You think pregnant women, or young families should sleep on the streets?

    Of course, you do not say this honestly, even though it is the implication and the logic of your position. In fact, young families housed by the state will spnd a long time in hostel accomodation, which is so expensive that it is virtually impossible to work (if you don’t work, you can get housing benefit). In other words, the state creates a poverty trap, and a disincentive to work, for young families housed by the state.

    Structural unemployment is a fact of capitalism, always, and especially during recessions. There are plenty of people who want jobs, who are searching for them, but are unable to find them. Why should people who are unemployed through no fault of their own suffer? In any case, I am not in favour of people having to take bad jobs bceause the alternative is starvation. I am in favour of there being, more, better, better paid jobs – and collective class struggle to achieve them.

    Furthermore, I understand that the reason that many people give up on a meanginful life, and instead resort to reliance on social security is because they have no confidence in their ability to lead a meaningul life under the present social conditions – a perception which to a large extent reflects the real lack of meaningful jobs and other opportunities for them. I am in favour, not of coercion at the barrel of starvation, but of a society constructed in such a way as to present encouraging alternatives to the young people who now decide that teenage pregnancy is their best option.

    This is perfectly possible in similarly ecoomically developed countries – income supports significantly higher than a minimum wage income in this country are the norm in western and Nordic Europe.

    Several of the people involved in the action described above.have experience of the issues under discussion. It is sad that some others with such experiences, like yourself, become twisted with bitterness, rather than showing your solidarity for others trying to fght for a better life.