Call to join benefit protest

Blackpool Against Cuts rally in St John's Square, Blackpool. James Sorah (publicity officer-Blackpool Against Cuts)
Blackpool Against Cuts rally in St John's Square, Blackpool. James Sorah (publicity officer-Blackpool Against Cuts)
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Campaigners are urging people to join them at a meeting ‘to save the welfare state’.

Blackpool Against the Cuts (BAC) claims government reforms to the benefits system are hitting vulnerable people the most.

It is holding a meeting on Monday at 7.30pm at the Ruskin Hotel on Albert Road which is open to all residents.

James Sorah, spokesman for BAC, said: “We want to demolish the myths that demonise people on benefits.

“Yes, some people take advantage of the system, but the vast majority at some point will have to use social security particularly now there are no safe jobs.

“It is also a fact that many of the most vulnerable people in society are the ones suffering from the punitive approach the Government has taken to reforms.

“These changes are going to effect everybody and we want people to wake up to what is happening, or else we will lose it.”

Speakers at Monday’s meeting titled ‘Save the Welfare Safety Net’ will include Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS civil service union who is from Blackpool, and Sheila Coleman, a Liverpool-based campaigner for the People’s Assembly.

But Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative MP Paul Maynard dismissed the claims the welfare state was at risk.

He said: “No civilised person would do away with the critical safety net the welfare state provides.

“But all governments have a duty to make sure we don’t trap people in dependency and that we give people a chance to work if that is right for them.

“We have to make sure we are fair not just to those who need support, but to those who are in work funding the welfare state.

“All political parties recognise the need for reform.”

Mr Baugh will also be using the meeting to put forward the PCS union’s alternatives to cuts, which is to harness the natural resources of wind and tidal power to create jobs in the energy sector.

The union, which recently published a pamphlet on the subject, believes the move could create an estimated 4,500 jobs nationally.

Mr Baugh has previously been an active member of the Blackpool and Fylde Trades Council.