Universal Credit: our statement in Parliament | £11035.11 donation from Kenworthy’s Chambers | Join us at our open mic night 9th November | Snapshot #2 from our Annual Report
Universal Credit: our statement in Parliament
We issued a strong statement on Universal Credit, explaining our refusal to be complicit in a scheme which results in further adversity and punishment for vulnerable people. This was picked up by Real Media, the Salford Star, The Northern Quota and RightsNet, and we have received numerous supportive messages from other voluntary sector organisations. On Wednesday, Oldham MP Jim McMahon read from our statement during the House of Commons debate.
We thank Jim and all MPs who have spoken out against the Universal Credit roll-out. See footage of our statement in the Parliamentary debate here.
Our full statement:
“At GMLC, we help people to navigate the existing benefits system. In our first year, we helped clients with lost benefits to claim back over £400,000, which demonstrates that many people are having to fight protracted battles to receive benefits that they should never have been denied in the first place. The consequences of an ineffective welfare system can be devastating, and Universal Credit appears destined to worsen the situation.
As a voluntary sector organisation, we are steadfast in our stance on Universal Credit: we will not assist in its implementation. If Universal Credit is so convoluted and ineffective that voluntary sector organisations are relied upon, then it should not be implemented at all. For example, a local Job Centre approached us earlier this year to ask if we would provide computers and supervisors to help people keep online journals for Universal Credit. Our response is clear: this is not the role of the voluntary sector.
We will not be complicit in a scheme which results in further adversity and punishment for vulnerable people. We therefore refuse to help to implement Universal Credit and we demand that its roll-out is stopped.”
As a campaigning organisation, we strive to be a strong voice for our community, critiquing and influencing an changing welfare policy. We thank again all MPs who have listened to our message and we will continue the fight against injustice.
£11035.11 donation from Kenworthy’s Chambers
GMLC have received a cheque of £11035.11 from Kenworthy’s Chambers, amounting to a percentage of their barristers’ fees.
Patrick Cassidy, Deputy Head of Kenworthy’s Chambers, said: “You have reawakened the sense that we can create our own movements, our own legal services. We are delighted to give support and we hope that our gesture will inspire other chambers and firms.”
Due to law centre closures and cuts to legal services, our community and volunteer-led model relies on innovative funding methods. This has included asking individual lawyers to donate 0.5% of their monthly earnings as part of the Lawyers Fund Generation Scheme. Following discussions with Andy Burnham prior to the Mayoral election, we delivered an open letter and petition to the Mayor’s office in July this year, inviting him to encourage well-off lawyers to make a financial contribution to help offset the cuts to the poorest (and unfunded) lawyers.
John Nicholson, Chair of GMLC, said: “We are therefore grateful for all the lawyers who support the pro bono, charitable and legal aid services; and at the same time we will continue to call for the restoration of legal aid nationally.”
Read the full press release here.
Our Open Mic Night 9th November
An Evening of Poetry & Music: A great opportunity for all GMLC supporters to have a fun night out together. Kitchen until 8.30pm. Open bar until 11pm.
Pay on the door: Unwaged £5/Waged £10. To avoid disappointment, secure your ticket on Eventbrite here.
Do you have anything to donate to our raffle? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We will be announcing our current line-up in the next newsletter and on our social media channels. Stay tuned!
We also need your help to spread the word.
Invite your friends, share the Facebook event, and encourage people sign up on Eventbrite. If you are able to spread hard-copy leaflets around your University or workplace, please get in touch and we can arrange a drop-off.
Snapshot #2 from our Annual Report
This is the second in a series of snapshots from our Annual Report, which was presented at our AGM 28th September 2017.
In this section on Services and Case Studies, we describe the work we do on the ground, helping individuals fighting for justice.
“Our work focuses on the needs of clients who are unable to access this support anywhere else. Face-to-face advice is particularly important for vulnerable clients.
All our specialist volunteer advisors have extensive knowledge of welfare benefits appeals and have successfully challenged DWP decisions both at review and appeal stage.”
You can read the full report here.
4 things you can do to help Greater Manchester Law Centre
- You can donate and/or set up a standing order to help fund our key legal services
- Get involved, by either volunteering, becoming a member, a supporter, or if you are an organisation, you can affiliate with us. Find out how by going to the ‘Get Involved’ section of our website
- For those of you on Twitter, tweet us @gmlawcentre and tell us why access to justice is so important.
- Ask for a letter of support from your local councillor/MP/community organisation/trade union branch and send it in to us