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National Delegate Conference Bournemouth 19-22 June 2012

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Welfare Reform Act is built on a sham

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden
Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith
UNISON will work with homeless charities and housing federations to campaign against the changes to housing benefit and for the retention of local advice and support services.

The union will also campaign for the retention of housing services within local authority control wherever possible.

An amendment from Aberdeenshire ensured that UNISON will produce publicity materials to heighten awareness amongst members and the public of the impact of the legislation on staff, housing provision and vulnerable claimants.

Moving the amendment, Kate Ramsden, Aberdeenshire Branch, slammed the Welfare Reform Act as another attempt by a Tory led government to justify the increasing inequality in our country by demonising the poor, the disabled and the elderly and saving money while they are at it.

"The whole Welfare Reform Act is built on a sham and it is very hard to see how it can work in practice."

Kate warned that it will drive people into debt and rent arrears, creating problems for social landlords, including Local Authorities and Housing Associations and for the other Local Authority services that will be left picking up the pieces.

Kate said, "The wider public, and many of our members are still not fully aware of the dire implications of the Welfare Reform Act. Many - even those who may be directly affected - still don't fully appreciate the profoundly negative impact it will have on all those who receive benefits, with increasing poverty for many and rising homelessness or the impact it will have on housing provision"

"It is too late to stop the Welfare Reform Act but at least we can make sure that we monitor its impact and campaign to mitigate the worst effects of it and to keep services local and accessible if at all possible."

Edinburgh's Duncan Smith, who works in Housing, said: "The introduction of Universal Credit is not simply a tidying up of a complex benefit regime, rather it is another attack on workers' living standards.

"It also threatens the jobs of many members in Housing and Revenues and Benefits - people who give valuable face to face advice to people often in housing crisis and distress.

"Contact by phone or internet is no substitute for this human contact... We need to fight these changes to keep a local face to face service for the public."







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