Austerity on top of pay cuts, benefit sanctions, zero hour contracts, the wages cap . . . have put millions below the breadline. Over 1.25 million people, including over 300,000 children, are destitute in the UK. Those of us who are destitute don’t eat regularly, can’t afford clothes and toiletries, sleep in parks or on buses, or are made dependent on others, sometimes strangers, to have a roof over our head, and have our children taken from us. Women, austerity’s primary target, are often the most invisible.
Being destitute and undocumented means having to live under the radar. Grenfell survivors have said that many more people died in the fire than is known, because fear of deportation keeps people away from the authorities and uncounted. Like the disregard of people’s lives at Grenfell, the deliberate policy of destitution is “social murder”.
The struggle against destitution is at one with the demands and aspirations of the new social movement that has formed around the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Strengthening this movement will help ensure that the Labour manifesto pledges to end austerity, zero hour contracts, benefit sanctions and reform a cruel and discriminatory asylum process, become reality.
Chair Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project
- Mary Baako, All African Women’s Group, collective self-help to defeat destitution
- Brighton Migrant Solidarity
- Sian Evans, Women Against Rape, Refuge from Rape and Destitution Campaign
- Claire Glasman, WinVisible, “A Chronology of Destitution”
- English Collective of Prostitutes, the criminalisation of survival.
- Gill Thompson, whose brother David Clapson was “sanctioned to death”
- McDonalds worker, the horror of zero hour contracts (TBC).
Meeting organised by Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Brighton Migrant Solidarity,
English Collective of Prostitutes, Refuge from Rape & Destitution Campaign.