It actually started appropriately outside Downing St where DPAC was with disabled people   protesting with the Housing Emergency  Coalition against the Housing Benefit Cap and social cleansing. Like the biblical story where the Romans called for a census and people have to moved – Joseph had to go to Bethlehem with Mary from Nazareth.

People were gathered there with cardboard boxes and sleeping bags. Inspite of the spitting rain, there was a respectable turnout.

Housing Emergency Coaltion Demo

Housing Emergency Coalition Demo

Boxes

protestor with The right to Shelter is a human right on her box wheelchair user

Disabled and non disabled protestors and Richard Downes, organiser of the BIG CHIEF Campaign for Housing, Independence, Equality & Freedom and Linda Burnip, Maz, Adam Lotun were all there.

When all to be said was said and done, there was concern by the news that we might be not be able to move over to Trafalgar Square because the ‘donkey’ will be a health and safety issue. And we had not asked for clearance. Heritage Wardens were most vociferous we could not have our gathering there. (read Adam’s comments at here)

The ‘donkey’  was duly introduced and there was some hilarity and we ignored the warning and those of us who were disabled continued on to Trafalgar Sq. for well deserved hot drink before the nativity scene planned.

Joseph with the donkey

Joseph with the donkey

Many more people joined us under the Christmas tree including a lone photographer from the BBC, and some other media folks.

Jan Pollock agreed to be the hard hearted inn keeper who refused us – “no room for the inn”  which is inaccessible anyhow and the different boroughs which would be affected by the housing changes.

We exchanged stories, networked and ate mince pies in the rain.

 

videos

(no to homeless cripples)

(The Heritage Warden tries to explain that one can’t protest there.)

More stories can be found at London: Disabled People Against Cuts, “Nativity Play”, Trafalgar Square
http://london.indymedia.org/articles/6720

http://vegeze.blogspot.com/2010/12/day-out-in-london.html

And a couple more reports in the other cities –

Glasgow: Citizens United
http://www.indymediascotland.org/node/22619

Oxford: Uninvisible Rally
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/12/470796.html

More photos at

from DPAC

http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabledpeopleprotest/sets/72157625613006116/

Letter signed at the House of Commons:

We believe current Government proposals are not fair or just. Cuts to Housing Benefit, replacing future secure and assured tenancies with time limited short hold tenancies and up to 80% of market rents, are an unfair and ill-conceived threat to tenants and would be a disaster for communities.
These measures will create more evictions, homelessness and fear, but will not curb high rents. They do nothing to create secure, affordable homes for rent desperately needed for all those who are priced out by the housing market. They will create exclusion zones driving out the low-paid, the sick and the poor, and their families.
We call on Councillors, MPs, tenant and trade union organisations, housing, disability and poverty campaigners and all who want sustainable, mixed communities across the UK to join in a campaign around these Action points:

• Defend security of tenure for existing and future tenants
• Resist and campaign against the cuts in housing benefit: we call on Councillors and other landlords not to implement cuts in HB where this is under local control, and not to evict tenants who get behind with their rent as a result of the new cuts in housing benefit
• Oppose raising rents up to 80% of market levels
• Shortage of housing is a result of underinvestment and failure to build – it is not caused by existing tenants of whatever race or religion
• We need regulation to control private sector rents
• We are committed to campaign instead for a programme of investment in new and improved council and other house building at genuinely-affordable rents.

Contact mitchellav@parliament.uk to join us.

Signed
Austin Mitchell MP, Chair Council Housing Group of MPs
Eileen Short, Chair Defend Council Housing
Dot Gibson, General Secretary National Pensioners Alliance
Ken Livingstone former Mayor of London
Councillor Phil Waker Barking & Dagenham Council lead member for Housing
Paul Brandon, Chair Right to Work Campaign
Linda Burnip, Disabled People Against Cuts
Richard Downes, Brent CHIEF