Scrap the Tory ‘rape clause’ and all benefit attacks

Scrap the Tory ‘rape clause’ and all benefit attacks

rape-clause

The form

 

The following article about the disgraceful latest attacks on benefit claimants was written by a DWP worker and member of the PCS trade union. A version was published in The Socialist newspaper. The full article is reproduced below.


Changes to Child Tax Credits and the ‘Universal Credit’ benefit system mean that people making a new claim from 6 April will have the number of children they can claim for capped at two. One exception to this is if the third child was born as a result of what the government calls “non-consensual conception.”

However, in order to prove this was the case, there is an eight-page mandatory form that the victim will need to fill out.

Dubbed the “rape clause,” it will require the claimant not only to name the child the exception will apply to, but also have a “third-party professional” fill out part of the form.

This represents a new low for the government.

Disgracefully, the exemption will not apply to claimants who still live with their rapist – despite a British Crime Survey finding that 45% of rapes happen within current relationships. Attacks can be extremely difficult for victims to disclose, let alone prove.

In evidence presented to the House of Lords, the manager of the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre said: “We have more than 30 years’ worth of empirical evidence that tells us that the most dangerous time for a woman and her children is at the point of leaving an abuser. In the UK a woman is murdered every three days by a partner or ex-partner.”

This latest attack on women compounds the threat to women posed by the Housing Benefit cap, which could close two-thirds of the already insufficient number of women’s refuges.

Women and children need material support to escape abusive relationships and live stable, independent lives. The Tories’ rape clause punishes victims and will endanger lives for the sake of reducing the bosses’ tax burden. 

This vile Tory government has shown time and time again that there is no limit to how low it will stoop to in its attacks on the working class and the most vulnerable in society.

Our previous article reported on the callous measures to remove eligibility to Personal Independence Payment – a benefit designed to help with the extra costs of living with care or a disability – from 160,000 people, saving £3.5 billion.

Cuts to the weekly rate of Employment and Support Allowance for those in the ‘Work-Related Activity Group’ will see claimants losing almost £30 from their payments – measures the government claim are beneficial as they will incentivise people to find work!

The heavy-handed nature of the sanctions and conditionality regimes in the benefit system have really been brought to the forefront with the release of Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake, which showcases the miserable living conditions faced by so many in Britain today.

A recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on living with a disability in Britain today says:

“It is a badge of shame on our society that millions of disabled people in Britain are still  not being treated as equal citizens and continue to be denied the everyday rights non-disabled people take for granted, such as being able to access transport, appropriate health services and housing, or benefit from education and employment.  The disability pay gap is persistent and widening, access to justice has deteriorated, and welfare reforms have significantly affected the already low living standards of disabled people.”

It is clear that capitalism isn’t working – we need to fight for the transformation of society along socialist lines, to ensure it is run in the interests of the majority, not the minority.

Under a socialist programme, everyone would be guaranteed a decent job, housing, and education, with the full support there for those who need it most.

Under capitalism, not even these basic demands are possible for so many people. If the system cannot afford these, then we cannot afford the system.

The Socialist Party says: scrap the rape clause. Reverse all benefit cuts and fund secure, genuinely affordable housing for all. You can’t fight domestic violence without also fighting the cuts.

“Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories” – Dave Nellist

“Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories” – Dave Nellist

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Dave Nellist presents petition calling on Council to fight the cuts

We are pleased to share the below letter published by the Coventry Telegraph this week by Dave Nellist, former Militant Labour MP and Socialist Party councillor in Coventry. This week a petition organised by young service users will be presented to the council against youth club closures as part of an ongoing campaign against the “Connecting Communities” scheme.
“Cuts that Coventry Council are planning will radically worsen public services in our city, but in fact are entirely unnecessary.
Saying that governments of both hues over the last 10 years have originated the cuts is not enough.  Local councils do have alternatives to reducing proper library provision, to cutting youth clubs and funding for children’s centres, to reducing bin collections.
Coventry Council has increased its reserves from £41m six years ago to £95m today.  That’s five times the planned cuts for the next financial year!  The Council has lent millions of pounds to private businesses (for example to a hotel and for student accomodation) – that money should be being used to defend the city’s public services that everyone in the city relies on.
Labour council leaders held a national meeting on 17th February at Warwick University.  They could have drawn up a coordinated plan of resistance to pressurise the government to  restore money stolen from our towns and cities.
Unfortunately, it seems that if council leaders have a strategy it’s limited to waiting for the next general election in 2020 for a change of direction.  By then, 70% of council services will be gone, and thousands of local jobs will no longer be available for school leavers.
And anyway, on present form, with Labour councillors cutting service after service, there’s little incentive for people to vote Labour locally, and no guarantee of a general election victory in three years time.
Bluntly, Labour councillors ought to grow a backbone and stand up to the Tories, whilst there are still public services left to defend.”

Coventry protests as Parliament debates Trump state visit

Coventry protests as Parliament debates Trump state visit

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Coventry once again joined nationwide protests against the proposed state visit of Donald Trump, organised to coincide with the parliamentary debate which was prompted by close to 2 million people signing a petition against the state visit. The protest was called by Coventry Stand Up To Trump.

Dozens of people joined the protest, with many more hearing the anti-Trump message as they left work in the city centre. Speakers from Coventry TUC, Coventry Against Racism and others talked about Trump’s divisive agenda and why it must be stopped.

Socialist speakers pointed out how Trump is a symptom of a sick capitalist system, and through his actions he is actually uniting more people together as they join up to oppose him.

The Socialist Party will look forward to continuing the protests against his state visit and putting forward a socialist alternative to Trump and his system.

No Trump UK visit: protest in Coventry 20th Feb

No Trump UK visit: protest in Coventry 20th Feb

Donald Trump’s racist, bigoted policies have shocked and angered millions of people, leading to massive protests across the world. Further protests across the UK have been planned for February 20th, when Parliament debates the petition against the planned state visit. Coventry Stand Up To Trump has called a protest at 5pm at the Godiva Statue in Broadgate.

There has been speculation in the press that the state visit may be moved to Birmingham rather than London to prevent major protests. Birmingham has a large Muslim population and has already seen massive protests against Trump – we can assure Theresa May and the government that whenever and wherever Trump visits, there will be protests against him and his vicious racism.

Book your place on the Coventry buses to national demonstration to save our NHS!

Book your place on the Coventry buses to national demonstration to save our NHS!

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Join the demo to say no cuts, no closures and no privatisation!

Saturday 4th March will see tens of thousands of ordinary people descend on London to protest against the destruction of our National Health Service which is under threat from cuts, closures and privatisation.

The march is being organised by Health Campaigns Together and is now being backed by unions such as UNITE, PCS, UNITE, CWU and many more. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has also announced his support and will be attending. Buses are being organised from Coventry, and we urge everyone to attend!

To book a place on the buses or to get more info, fill in the form below or text Kieran on 07709 598942

Please also like the Facebook page of Coventry NHS SOS to keep in touch about future events and meetings!

Surge of resistance to Trump hits Coventry 

Surge of resistance to Trump hits Coventry 

Protest in Coventry city centre

With less than 24 hours notice, hundreds of people joined emergency protests in Coventry and at Warwick University against Donald Trump’s ban on people travelling to the USA from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Protest at Warwick University

These protests were part of a massive display of resistance across the UK, uniting with millions across the world. They follow the women’s marches on January 21st, when millions protested around the world – 100,000 people demonstrated in London alone. Over 1.7million people have also signed a petition against Trump’s planned state visit to the UK.

Tim Bliss from Warwick Socialist Students speaking at the protest

Trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners and Socialist Party members spoke at the protest in Coventry, stressing the need to build a movement against racism and austerity, and for a socialist alternative to the rotten capitalist system that breeds them.

Have you signed the petition against Trump and want to build the movement against him and his policies? If so fill in the form below!

Racist former Coventry BNP candidate convicted of racial harassment

Racist former Coventry BNP candidate convicted of racially aggravated harassment

Mark Graham, from Coventry, jailed for race hate crimes

Mark Graham – pic from Coventry Telegraph

The following was sent to us by a local socialist following the news that Coventry racist and former BNP candidate Mark Graham was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court last week to 4 and a half years imprisonment for a campaign of race hate letters over a period of several years.

Letters were sent to high profile black, Asian and some white people including the mother of Stephen Lawrence and the Archbishop of York.

Over a period of 13 years Graham sent over 400 letters to more than 100 people.

Many letters were also sent to black workers in Coventry. The letters were the most vile, threatening and abusive letters imaginable oozing hate. The affect of these anonymous letters on local workers should not be underestimated.

I was line manager to two black workers who received letters at their work place for a period of years. I can personally testify to the blind hate that oozed from them.

It is of great credit to those workers that they were able to dismiss them as the work of an unbalanced racist and continue to attend work.

Anyone receiving these letters would be in fear of personal attack, as we saw with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox where another racist was responsible.

In one instance Graham sent a letter containing talcum powder to a local gym owner claiming it was anthrax, causing the evacuation of an area of the city.

Graham, of Everdon Road in Holbrooks, had previously stood for the city council as a candidate for the racist British National Party.

Although like the killer of Jo Cox he undoubtedly has personal issues, he has also clearly been influenced by the racist propaganda of fascist organisations.

We must be clear. In our Two Tone city – the city of peace and reconciliation – there is no place for racism. Whilst Trump targets Muslims in the US we can expect racists to rear their heads here as well.

We must oppose Trump and also the likes of the BNP and EDL here who attempt to sow division. Black, White and Asian people are all suffering from the austerity and the widening gap in wealth.

Socialists fight for united action to defeat the racists and to create a socialist world where all have a decent life.