Huyton in the Knowsley borough on Merseyside hosted PCS chief Mark Serwotka, Unite’s Sheila Coleman, Unison’s Paula Barker and others for an important seminar on the government’s consciously cruel Universal Credit horror and the response needed.
Local activist Shaun Smith attended on behalf of the SKWAWKBOX. Below is his report.
A major meeting took place tonight in one of the country’s most deprived areas to discuss the Government’s disastrous Universal Credit system and how to win a Labour Government to deliver a social security system fit for the name.
Universally DISCreditED: Building for a fairer social security system was held in Knowsley, Merseyside and hosted by Knowsley For Corbyn, a self-organised group of Labour Party members in the area. The meeting heard about the horrors of what Universal Credit and the Government’s pernicious strategy to dismantle the welfare state is doing to society’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Among the speakers were Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of PCS union, who spoke about the campaign that PCS are waging with their members in the DWP to fight against the Government’s withdrawal of support for claimants and the increasing emphasis on sanctions and conditionality.
Mark received a rapturous reception as he called for a radical overhaul of the social security system delivered by a Corbyn led Labour Government. The meeting also heard from Sheila Coleman from Unite Community and Helen Fisher from Liverpool Community Advice, both of whom recounted heartbreaking stories of supporting UC claimants through the quagmire of the broken system.
We need to go away from this meeting and mobilise resistance in our communities to defeat the Tories and deliver a Labour Government that can bring the radical change we need.Unison’s Paula Barker
Graham Morgan, Labour leader of Knowsley Council, underlined the support being offered by the local authority to people suffering the effect of sanctions and the Bedroom Tax and the scandal that council’s were having to help pick up the pieces of the hardship which the Government are inflicting on places like Knowsley.
Paula Barker, Unison North West Convenor, perhaps summed up the mood of the night when she said:
We need a system that recognises that everybody in the 99% has a stake in a social security system which is there when we need it. We need to go away from this meeting and mobilise resistance in our communities to defeat the Tories and deliver a Labour Government that can bring the radical change we need.
You can follow Knowsley For Corbyn‘s work by following @knowsley4corbyn on Twitter. If you are a Labour Party member in Knowsley, get in touch with email@example.com to be added to their mailing lists.
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