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Visiting UK Welfare Minister to Face Picket

13 July 2011

Visiting UK Welfare Minister to Face Picket

Auckland Action Against Poverty will picket UK Conservative minister Iain Duncan Smith when he speaks at a dinner hosted by the Maxim Institute next week.

The picket will take place on Friday 22 July from 5.30pm onwards, outside the Heritage Hotel, 35 Hobson St, Auckland.

Iain Duncan Smith is the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and will be presenting Maxim’s 2011 Annual Sir John Graham Lecture ‘Renewing compassion: a vision for welfare that frees rather than traps the poor.’

AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford says, ‘Iain Duncan Smith has presided over horrendously damaging reforms to the UK welfare system, including the removal of hundreds of thousands of people from invalids’ benefits and increased privatisation of services .’

‘Work and Pensions contractors in the UK have even been issued with guidelines on how to deal with suicide threats from beneficiaries as the impacts of the reforms take hold.’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/08/jobcentre-staff-guidelines-suicide-threats

‘Our own Government’s Welfare Working Group report released in February has taken many of its recommendations directly from reforms made by Mr Smith and the UK’s Conservative Government.’

‘We are holding the picket next Friday because we want to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are being adversely affected by welfare reforms there, and because we strongly oppose similar recommendations in the Rebstock report.

‘We suspect that Maxim has brought Mr Smith to New Zealand so that he can provide moral support to the welfare reform changes National has promised to offer as part of its core election strategy.

Auckland Action Against Poverty is committed to doing everything we can to oppose the Rebstock recommendations, and to expose the National welfare agenda.

AAAP was set up in late 2010 to bring together unemployed people, beneficiaries, students, unionists, church people and others working for a fairer society which puts the wellbeing of low income people above the welfare of bankers and investors. Recent actions include a ‘race to the bottom’ after the 2011 budget, and an occupation of Paula Bennett’s office following the release of the Rebstock report.

ENDS

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