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A guest post by a member of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and SWAN London shares his reaction to this week's report by the Policy Exchange think-tank on social housing. The report, Ending Expensive Social Tenancies: Fairness, higher growth and more homes, advocates selling off council homes in wealthy areas where property values are at a premium, attracting sympathetic comments from Grant Schapps, Housing Minister, and the suggestion from the Policy Exchange's Director that the poorest have 'no right' to live in rich areas.
His experience of social housing and the realities for people at the 'wrong' end of the gaping social spectrum, includes a valiant demonstration of collective action and resistance by people up against the worst impacts of this government's policies:
The following letter was sent in response to an orginal article in the Morning Star newspaper
Re: 'Pay day for the shonksters', Morning Star feature, Friday, August 10, 2012We reply to Solomon Hughes' feature 'Payday for the shonsksters' while anticipating Channel 4's Dispatches programme scheduled for Monday 13 August, 'Tricks of the Dole Cheats'.As Solomon Hughes observes, “Our taxes whiz past the unemployed, doing them little good, before they pay for [the Work Programme company Ingeus owner's £3m in UK dividends].” The Department of Work and Pensions has not only barred Ofsted from inspecting Work Programme companies that have proven pasts of under-performing. The DWP gives fraudulent Work Programme companies forced to pay back unmerited bonuses the advantage of 'no publicity', and maximum publicity plus criminal records to the tiny minority of fraudulent benefit claimants. (Of course, Atos Healthcare are never fined for what they have written of Employment & Support Allowance claimants who win their tribunals.)
Bob Holman, the celebrated social activist, retired academic and community social worker, had a letter published in the Glasgow daily newspaper the Herald on Saturday 18th August 2012, with which SWAN whole-heartedly agree and which we are pleased to share.
A friend of SWAN, Bob appeared at the 2011 Social Work Action Network conference 'Building Alliances, Defending Services' held in Birmingham. He spoke under the title 'Big Society? Big Joke!' as part of the plenary session Challenging Cameron's Big Society and fighting welfare cuts.
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Social Work Action Network (SWAN)c/o Iain FergusonSchool of Social ScienceUniversity of the West of ScotlandPaisleyPA1 2BE
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