Welfare Reform Act is built on a sham
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
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
Kate warned that it will drive people
into debt and rent arrears, creating problems for social
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
"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."