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Dundee workers challenge IDS:

“Debate the Welfare Cuts!”

 

10th January: Dundee Unemployed Support Centre Organiser Harvey Duke came to London today to ask Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith to make his mind up to debate the welfare cuts in public.

Harvey is getting impatient that the encounter keeps getting put off.

 

“We first challenged Ian Duncan Smith to a debate in a letter to the 'Dundee Courier' on Saturday 13 November”, Harvey reports. “We only raised it to get publicity for our policy of setting up an Unemployed Workers Centre in Dundee. I had some involvement in the Dundee Unemployed Workers Centre in the 1980s and 1990s which Lord Young described as a ‘hotbed of resistance’”.

 

“It wasn’t just for unemployed workers. It did work on oral history and all sorts of other activities. Our idea now is to have a campaigning centre not just for the unemployed but for the low-paid and people affected by the changes in benefit."

 

“As a result of this initiative we are getting phone calls from people who need individual help. It’s like what happened in the campaign against the Poll Tax. We wanted a head-to-head with Ian Duncan Smith in Dundee with full press coverage and proper disabled access because a lot of people will want to come”

 

“Shortly after our challenge to Duncan Smith, the ‘Courier’ ran a story about a 60-year-old man who was ruled fit to work and was taken off benefit but died of his medical condition 2 days later.”

 

In fact it was a local journalist who contacted the secretary of state and passed on the challenge to come and debate the issue of benefit cuts. IDS promised to consider it.

 

However, since then, despite assiduous efforts, Harvey Duke has not heard a word from Ian Duncan Smith. Aides have assured him that the job has been passed on to employment minister Chris Grayling, but he has not so far said anything either.

 

The Dundee activists have had support from Bob Crow of the RMT, Janice Godrich (National President of the PCS, Scottish Regional Organiser of the FBU Jim Malone and Hollywood actor Brian Cox.

 

You can contact the Dundee Unemployed Support Centre on 07896461855 or email dundeeunemployedcentre@yahoo.co.uk

   

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