BEYOND BREAKING POINT – The crises in benefits & housing – meeting & workshops – SATURDAY 20 JANUARY -12.30-4.30/5.00pm at GARAS – 111 Barton St, Gloucester GL1 4HR

Unite Community is organising a meeting and workshops to discuss the effects of current government and council policies on the low paid, unemployed, the disabled and carers – and draw up a strategy for fighting the Tories. Speakers include: members of Unite Community, housing campaigners, Disabled People Against Cuts and Suzanne Muna, UNITE Executive member & housing workers’ representative, and local activists.

The facts speak for themselves:

Universal credit & poverty:

  • 3.9 million children living in poverty
  • net income of the poorest 10th of the UK population down 38%
  • 14 million – over 20% of population live below poverty line
  • 8 million of these poor people are in employment!
  • One in four working people earn less than the living wage
  • Over 120,000 people have died due to cuts and suicides related to cuts & sanctions
  • Poverty among children & pensioners has substantially risen for first time in 20 years
  • More & more people face benefit sanctions. 300,000 people had their benefits stopped suddenly stopped in the last 12 months
  • Nearly half of people on Universal Credit now have rent arrears
  • 50,000 ‘motability’ vehicles taken from the disabled. Changing Disability Living Allowance into PIP pushed 85,000 people into poverty, Universal Credit will not be any different.

The housing crisis:

  • House prices now 14 times the average salary
  • 600 families a day face lose their homes 41,000 evictions last year
  • 120,000 children living in temporary accommodation
  • With private rents spiralling, insecure tenancies are a major cause of homelessness
  • Long waiting lists for social housing – virtually no new homes being built
  • No. of households in temporary accommodation up 60% since 2010
  • No. of rough sleepers has soared by 134% since 2011.
  • The average rough sleeper dies before the age of 50

For many people the choice is to heat their homes or eat. Cuts to in-work benefits mean that around 3 million families will lose on average £1,300 a year. Meanwhile the bosses and MPs have seen their incomes soar. The gap between rich and poor is bigger than ever. These are not just statistics – behind them there are real people struggling to get by.

Perhaps you’re one of them? If you’re affected by changes to the benefits system & Universal Credit, work capability assessments or sanctions, if you’re disabled, a carer, a low-paid worker or jobless, this event will interest you.

The housing crisis is the net result of a decade of austerity, putting profit before people’s needs, wage restraint, zero hour contracts; public service cuts, privatisation; the sale of council housing & services; attacks on the benefits system and property speculation & “gentrification”. Nothing symbolises the effects of Tory policies & their callous system more graphically than Grenfell Tower. Many councils are failing across the board, betraying the people who elected them. The new Housing and Planning Act will make things worse as it changes the definition of affordable housing and could be used to benefit property developers and speculators. Council-owned homes and property is being sold off – often for ridiculous prices. Our event will touch on many of these issues. We want to organise and campaign, working with the unions and the community to defeat the Tories and their attacks on the working class.

Universal credit

DROP-IN from 12.30 to get info or talk to activists about issues that concern you. We will try to get you the advice/information you need. Join us for tea/coffee/snacks. Find out about Universal Credit which will be rolled-out in Gloucester in February and ask questions – if we don’t have the answer, we will find people to advise you..

Leading members of UNITE the Union – Suzanne Muna National Executive, Unite Community members and local campaigners talk about their experience, how to fight the cuts, organise against austerity and what we can do to help people affected by Tory policies.

WORKSHOPS where people can express their views, explain their problems & get advice and information: CONCLUSIONS – Next steps

The housing crisis

DROP-IN from 12.30Meeting 1.30 and discussion groups…to 4.30/5.00 pm, where you will be able to MEET local campaigners and trade union activists,

HEAR UNITE national executive member speak on the background to the housing crisis, new legislation, how tenants can organise and the union’s charter on housing

– James Collett speaking what’s behind austerity & the attacks on people on benefits

– Debbie Smith, Glos Labour councillor/housing activist / Housing campaigners from Bath Unite Community



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