URGENT NOTICE – Scotland Says “NO!” To The Welfare Reform Bill Campaign

Black Triangle, Inclusion Scotland and Capability Scotland are calling on disabled people to contact their MSP immediately and let them know how the cuts being introduced in the Welfare Reform Bill will affect them.

Black Triangle is working closely with Inclusion Scotland on our “Scotland Says NO! to the Welfare ‘Reform’ Bill!”

Inclusion Scotland Glasgow People 1st Demonstration 1st October 2011

The Scottish Parliament is currently looking closely at the impact that the UK government’s Welfare Reform Bill will have in Scotland. MSP’s are considering it carefully ahead of a vote on whether or not the Scottish Parliament should give consent to parts of the bill (‘Legislative Consent Motion’).

It is therefore more important than ever to let your MSP know how cuts to your benefits that you receive to assist with the additional costs involved with being disabled will effect you, your care/ support and other benefits you may receive. To assist you or your organisation’s members to do that, Capability and Inclusion Scotland have put together a model letter which you can tailor to give details of your own circumstances. It comes with a briefing which explains why this is so important and advises on how you can contact your MSP.

Once you have filled in the gaps with some details of your circumstances, please post or email your letter to your MSP. You may also want to phone your MSP and/or arrange a meeting to discuss these issues with them in person.

Please remember to copy us in or let us know if you take this action. We will not use the information for anything other than to keep a track of how many people do contact their MSP.

Disabled people will be the hardest hit by welfare reform in Scotland. Now is the time to speak up so that the Scottish Parliament knows this!

WRITE TO YOUR MSP ABOUT WELFARE REFORM

What is this about?

MSPs will soon be asked to vote on whether they agree with changes contained in the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Bill. This vote is called a Legislative Consent Motion. It is necessary because some of the changes in the Bill affect powers that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We want you to use our model letter to write to or email your MSP and ask them to vote against the Legislative Consent Motion and the changes contained in the Bill. This will send a clear message to the UK Government that Scotland won’t stand for the unfair cuts the UK Government plans to make to disability benefit.

Why is it important?

Even if MSPs vote against the Legislative Consent Motion, the Welfare Reform Bill might still become law – but Scottish MSPs will have made a stand against it and this may encourage the UK Government to make changes to the Bill. It is also really important for MSPs to hear disabled peoples’ concerns and to understand the impact the Welfare Reform Bill is going to have in Scotland. The changes we want the MSPs to know about and object to are set out in the briefing accompanying this information.

What do we want you to do?

We have written a model letter that we’d like you to personalise and send to your MSP either by email or by post. His or her contact details can be found by following this link and entering your postcode: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx (if you do not have access to the internet, please contact us and we’ll get the details for you). If you decide to write to your MSP by post, please use their constituency office (the office based in the area they represent) rather than their parliamentary office. Once you know your MSP’s contact details we’d like you to take the following steps:

  1. Change the parts of the model letter which are in red so that the email/letter contains your details (i.e. your name, where you live and the impact that a reduction in disability benefits would have on you). Please make your letter as personal to your own experience as possible. We know from experience that MSPs and their researchers are more likely to read letters if they are written from an individual and not from an organisation.

  1. Send the email/letter to your MSP and to us (so we know how many are being sent and can gather evidence about peoples’ views).

Capability Scotland

Inclusion Scotland

Hanna McCulloch

Dr Pauline Nolan

hanna.mcculloch@capability-scotland.org.uk

pauline@inclusionscotland.org

0131 347 1025

0141 221 7589

YOUR MSP Contact Details: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps.aspx

(Copy and Paste)

Subject: Welfare Reform Bill

Dear <MSP NAME>,

My name is <INSERT NAME> and I live in <INSERT AREA YOU LIVE IN>. I am writing as one of your constituents to urge you to do everything in your power to make sure that the Welfare Reform Bill does not force disabled people in this area (and across Scotland) into poverty, isolation and despair.

In my opinion, unless the UK Government makes big changes to the Bill, the Scottish Parliament should not pass the Legislative Consent Motion which it will be asked to vote on in the coming weeks. By rejecting the motion you can show that you object to unfair and unjustified cuts and that you are standing up for the interests of disabled people in Scotland.

As you may know, the Welfare Reform Bill will result in a 20% cut to disability benefits. On top of this, all disabled people – including those with permanent and degenerative disabilities – will be forced to go through a stressful and intrusive medical assessment. As a disabled person I am really worried about the impact these changes will have on my life. <INSERT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DISABILITY AND THE IMPACT THAT A REDUCTION IN YOUR DLA WOULD HAVE ON YOUR LIFE AND/OR HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING THROUGH A MEDICAL ASSESSMENT>.  

The cuts in disability benefits, as well as reform to Housing Benefit and Employment Support Allowance contained in the Welfare Reform Bill will also put massive pressure on Scottish services including Local Authorities, the NHS and Registered Social Landlords. It also comes at a time when massive cuts are being made to services for disabled people and the Independent Living Fund is being withdrawn. All these changes will have a huge impact on disabled people, the economy and Scottish society as a whole.

I’ve attached a briefing put together by Capability and Inclusion Scotland explaining some of the changes that need to be made to the Welfare Reform Bill. I would urge you to read it and to circulate it to your colleagues at the Scottish Parliament before the vote on passing the Legislative Consent Motion.

Thanks for your time.

Yours Sincerely 

<INSERT NAME>

(Send copy to Pauline – mention your saw it on Black Triangle please)

Dr Pauline Nolan

Policy & Engagement Officer

Inclusion Scotland

Glasgow Office: 0141 221 7589

Edinburgh Office: 0131 555 6887

Email: pauline@inclusionscotland.org

visit our website: www.inclusionscotland.org

Please visit Inclusion Scotland on Facebook (and don’t forget to ‘like’ them!):

www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Inclusion-Scotland/175462779144914 

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