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Backing Unite, Cold facts, Benefit assault

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Unite against fascism, Report on deaths from Cold, New Labours assault on benefits
Issue 1883

THE NEW organisation launched to stop the British National Party, Unite Against Fascism, is gaining wide support.

‘Dave Prentis, leader of the Unison union, Tony Woodley from the TGWU, Kevin Curran from the GMB and Sally Hunt from the AUT are the latest union general secretaries to sign up,’ says Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism.

‘Roger Lyons, joint general secretary of Amicus and TUC president, is also supporting Unite on behalf of the TUC general council. The national executive of the NUS students’ union is also in support, as is Stuart Caddy, leader of Burnley council. A further 11 MPs have added their names to those backing Unite. There is real determination from people far and wide to stop the BNP getting a breakthrough in the June elections.

‘We are now preparing for a mass launch rally in London next month.’

  • To get copies of Unite Against Fascism’s statement, collection sheets, union resolutions and membership forms write to Unite! c/o Natfhe, 27 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JP. Phone 020 7833 4916. E-mail [email protected]

  • Unite Against Fascism. Stop the BNP rally, Thursday 15 January, 7pm, Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall. Speakers include Billy Hayes (CWU) and Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street actress), Tony Lloyd MP, Councillor Afzal Khan and Councillor M Azam. Organised by Manchester Against Racism. Supported by Manchester United Football Club.

    Shock of cold facts

    A HIGHER proportion of the population die from the cold in winter in Britain than in icy Finland or Russia. That is the shocking conclusion of a new report by the Faculty of Public Health and the Met Office.

    It estimated that 2,500 pensioners died in the week leading up to Christmas because they could not afford to keep warm. Some two million pensioners are living in poverty in Britain, many in poor quality housing. According to the charity Help the Aged, between 21,000 and 50,000 people aged 65 and over die each winter in England and Wales from preventable cold-related causes. The record in Britain is worse than in any other EU country.

    Professor Sian Griffiths, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said: ‘A high proportion of preventable illness and deaths in the UK is caused by people living in damp and cold housing. This is a tragedy in terms of human life and also creates a huge-and preventable-strain on the NHS.’

    Benefit assault

    NEW LABOUR is planning another onslaught against people on benefits in 2004. The new measures will hit single parents and those on incapacity benefit the hardest.

    Under new measures proposed by New Labour ministers, single parents will have to attend ‘work-focused’ interviews every three months and those on incapacity benefit will have their medical records reviewed.

    Anyone unemployed for more than 13 weeks will have to take a job that could be up to 90 minutes travel away from their home. People on benefits also face new tests for English and mathematics skills. Those who fail will be forced to take courses to improve their skills or face losing benefits.

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