Benefits campaigners from Kingston Right to Work are set to stage a “cut bankers’ bonuses, not benefits” protest against the impact of benefits cuts locally.
Protestors say that cuts to housing benefits will have a negative effect on the poorest people living in the borough. They also point to the fact that scores of disabled people have been thrown off disability benefits in the borough, only to have their decisions reversed on appeal.
Changes to disabled benefits, including moving claimants from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments next year, could mean half a million people losing their benefits. And large amounts of disabled people in Kingston are being classified as “fit to work”, only to have the decision overturned at appeal.
Meanwhile, David Cameron recently set out plans to strip some 380,000 people under the age of 25 of their housing benefit. Campaigners are warning that these measures will cause a massive homelessness crisis, pointing to the problems around overcrowding and long housing waiting lists in Kingston recently revealed by the Kingston Guardian. Of 6,800 council and housing association tenants in Kingston, 377 are in need of larger homes for their families, while some 8,355 are currently on housing waiting lists.
“The government is cutting benefits to fund bailouts for the bankers, even though they are continuing to pay themselves massive bonuses,” commented campaigner Alistair Farrow. “The clampdown on disabled peoples benefits is going to lead to destitution and suicides, but massive fraud by the bankers is rewarded with fat bonuses. And the government’s plans for housing benefit could see hundreds of thousands of young people lose their homes – all to pay for a crisis caused by the banks.”
Cut bonuses, not benefits! is scheduled for Saturday 11th August. Protestors are meeting at Kingston station at 1pm.