Burnley joins in National Day of Protest Against Benefits Cuts - video

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BURNLEY benefit claimants took to the streets yesterday to protest against changes to the welfare system which they say will take away their financial lifelines.

A group of around 10 people, some holding placards, demonstrated outside Burnley Town Hall in Manchester Road as part of a National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts.

The protest mainly centred around work capability assessment testing for claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which replaced incapacity benefit last year, and potential cuts to disability living allowance being mooted by the Government.

Organiser Iris Willis said her benefits were stopped last year and since then relies on food handouts.

Protester Sally Parnell said: “Benefits to some people are not an option but give people with health issues a chance to have a life and to be able to give back to society.

“If I am forced to go into a job it will send me to an early grave.”

Helen Sutcliffe, who claims ESA and whose daughter claims Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), added: “I’m sick of being accused of benefit fraud. The whole perception is that we are all fraudsters. We are all scraping through, not able to pay for bills.

“My daughter gets EMA but how are we going to be able to afford to send her to college when that is scrapped?

“We won’t be able to afford the bus fares. This isn’t money that gets frittered it pays for day to day living.”