Today protesters have gathered in the West End to campaign against the government’s welfare reform bill. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Oxford Circus have been brought to a standstill as people in wheelchairs chained themselves together.
Campaigners from disability groups and direct action group UK Uncut chanted and waved banners and banged drums blocking off Regent Street and the demonstration is believed to have caused traffic jams in London’s West End as fifteen people in wheelchairs chained themselves to railings and eventually were joined by hundreds of others to campaign against the Government’s Welfare Reform.
Campaigners believe that hundreds of thousands of families will lose their homes or become “imprisoned” inside them. Josie McDermott, a 32-year-old UK Uncut supporter, said: “The welfare reform bill is cruel and unnecessary” and added “..this protest is an essential way to persuade the government to scrap its plans.”
Campaigners believe that the Government is choosing to pick on marginalised groups of people in the UK, in trying to pay back the economic UK deficit rather than focussing on the large bonuses and companies that they believe continue to avoid tax to the estimated amount of £25bn.
“It is typical bully tactics by the government to force marginalised people in society to pay for the economic downturn” one campaigner said.
A spokesperson for the Government said that they will continue to spend more than £40bn a year on disabled people, and that they are committed to supporting disabled people in the UK.
The bill will not affect households where someone receives disability living allowance, as they will be exempt from the benefit cap the Government has pledged, and they have also said that an extra £190 million will be given to local authorities over a four year period to ensure vulnerable people are supported through the housing benefit reform to ensure that disabled people will not lose their homes.