The cuts are killing us

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2016 National Women's Conference
13 October 2015

From the rise in domestic violence, to increased homelessness, benefit sanctions which have driven people with long term conditions into desperation and disabled women labelled as scroungers and vulnerable on the streets and in their homes – Austerity is a killing machine.

Job losses and increased poverty leads to violent reactions that impact women and girls most. Cuts to care packages puts more and more pressure on carers – most of whom are women.

Cuts in tax credits are plunging working families – our members – into poverty and having to use food banks.

When local councils are forced to cut budgets to services aimed at supporting the people affected by this – information and advice services, domestic violence services, carers support groups, rape crisis services – they are in fact victimising the victims of austerity and women are at the top of this list.

In effect, Austerity is creating victims then further blames them by taking away the vital support services that women need.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Austerity isn’t working. The deficit hasn’t gone down. Tax avoidance isn’t being reclaimed. The Rich get richer and the poor get poorer , the class divide is greater today than it has been since Victorian times.

There is another way. Jeremy Corbyn’s victory as leader of the Labour Party has shown that ordinary people – ourselves and our members – want politics to be different. Women raised their voices in this election and showed their desire to fight the cuts. His cabinet is 52% women and in UNISON , where women are the two thirds majority, we need UNISON as our union to be at the forefront of challenging austerity where it impacts on women most.

We need our union to support those workers who are saying enough is enough, across all the sectors our union represents, especially nurses and social workers taking strike action And when it comes to pay, women are saying – we can’t take another pay cut.

Conference therefore asks that

1)The National Women’s Committee work with Women’s Regional SOGs and Branch Equality Officers to make contact with local Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis services to see how UNISON at a local level can support their campaigns against cuts in funding, and support any fundraising events they are holding;

2)That the National Women’s Committee explore the possibility of Regional research into how the cuts are affecting women, specifically the level of cuts in funding to homelessness temporary accommodation, specialist domestic violence accommodation and outreach services and Rape crisis services, with the results being set against research into levels of presentation and outcomes – including highlighting the number of serious injuries and any deaths.

3)The National women’s committee work with labour link to continue to lobby MP’s and seek to request that DWP release, by region, the number of female deaths within six weeks of being found fit for work and having benefits sanctioned.

4)That National women’s committee Report the findings of above research within the National women’s committee Annual report 2017.