*Wed 24th March, meeting at the Clocktower, 10.30am.
With the Welfare Reform Bill receiving Royal Assent before Xmas we are now witnessing a full frontal attack on our wages and conditions. We didn't cause the crisis but that won't stop us from being made to pay for it. New Labour is determined to force every last person in the UK - single parents, sick, disabled or whoever - to compete for non-existent jobs all the while there is no money being invested in actual job creation. Income Support and Incapacity Benefit are being done away with all under the guise of 'helping' people into work. Everyone is aware that few jobs are available and these few are at the minimum wage, which means they rely on being topped up by the state through tax credits just so people can get by, in effect a subsidy to low-paying employers.
Welfare for the rich
The government, however, claims that it is spending money on unemployment. In fact this £1 billion is being given to their business friends through the Flexible New Deal. In Brighton they are: Careers Development Group, Maximus, and Skills Training UK Ltd. Everyone who has been claiming JSA for one year must now take part in the Flexible New Deal. It is a year long compulsory scheme outsourced to private companies whose prime motivation is to make profit out of our unemployment. They are given a lump sum to begin with and then further bonuses once they have placed a claimant in work for 13 weeks and a further bonus at 6 months. A further compulsory component of this scheme is one month of workfare (work for your benefits). That is 40 hrs a week for 4 weeks at £1.60!
These measures will therefore have an impact on all of us. They are designed to increase the competition between those looking for work and to put pressure on those in work. The intended effect is to bring wages down and to make those already working to accept whatever conditions bosses wish to impose, a situation a Guardian journalist last week called 'a race to the bottom' in light of the report into conditions in British food processing factories by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
In Brighton we are launchng a campaign against the Flexible New Deal. Please join us in demonstrating against the FND providers in Brighton who stand to make millions from our unemployment: Career Development Group, Maximus (a particularly odious US company steeped in fraud scandals and corruption), and Skills Training UK Ltd, .
Meet at Clocktower, Brighton 10.30 a.m, Wednesday 24th March
Please see our blog which will be updated shortly with a leaflet against the new deal providers. http://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com/
*Brighton Benefits Campaign
Brighton Benefits Campaign was launched in February 2010 in the face of continuing attacks on benefits and the welfare state and on all those who have to claim benefits. For us this doesn’t just affect claimants, it affects everybody who is working.
We are not a welfare rights group – instead, we believe that it is only a collective response to these attacks through developing a broad campaign of benefit claimants, workers, unions and anybody else who wants to fight back that we can actually change things.