SWAN Conf 2012 – Friday 30th March


– Sheffield case study: 16+ years life expectancy difference between richest and poorest areas

– House prices differentiation took off  in mid-90’s impacts for inheritance and perpetuating inequality.

– Last week’s budget tax cuts gave every person earning over £1m annually over £40k extra

– Sheffield case study: 4360 kids lose up to £1.5m from April 2012

– In more equitable countries the felt need to consume is less so less is wasted and thrown away.

– In some affluent countries the top 1% have never has less than they have had today. And the trains still run on time.

– You could create 15m new jobs, from the amount the rich have increased their wealth since the 1970’s.

– Population is leveling off at aroubd 9bn after 2050, will bring systemic change. Majority of world’s children now literate: you can’t fool them all any more!


– By veiling cuts, personalisation means people cannot afford to go to previous day centre let alone have more choice

– need to hold Unison leaders to account over pensions let down in fortcoming elections

– social workers and others being squeezed increasingly identifying with people they work with

– idea of Scotland under devolution being land of milk & honey simplistic – life expectancy in Glasgow as low as 54

– social workers and others need to denounce and take back money from the likes of Council CEO’s with ‘ferrari attitudes’



We received an urgent address and appeal by two lesbian asylum seeker Indian women –who have been persecuted, beaten and raped by Detention Centre officials. SWAN took a vote and agreed to make this a campaign priority.

Raped and stabbed in UK for being homosexual. Police supported those people who raped stabbed them.

Detained in detention centre. In terms of treatment they were told by officers they take benefits and opportunities – or to go back to own countries.

When one of the women was not eating or drinking: they said it was a faked behaviour – after being sexually assaulted by detention centre officers.

Women appealed for support – if not successful in asylum claim, they will die – honour killing by own families.


1. Sign letter to Teresa May in Conference Pack – will upload later or check twitter @SWANsocialwork to find picture of letter.

2. Sign petition in favour of granting asylum.

3. Collection for women


*Apologies for poor coverage, had technical problems during this session*

– Identified March 2002 as turning point in public consciousness against asylum seeks – the Star and News of the World talked about Asylum Seekers as ‘this scum’ at same time as Sangatte.

– In 2003, the government sent letters to Iraqi asylum seekers to return at same time as loading planes to bomb Iraq, while no airport was open

– Social workers have a voice inside their head – a dialogue  affected by what is happening in environment and ideological context. People seeking asylum are key resources to making change in right direction – link with them and help release their own resources.  Don’t underestimate potential power you have – if you are prepared to engage with person – concentrate on what they’ve got in them.

– Social workers are on front line of fighting fascism as it emerges in society.

– Social workers need to be confident to speak out against racism – to put up signs saying we do not accept racism and fascism in this office.

– There is a fiction of Islamophobia existing alone. A recent increase to 1200 Islamophobic attacks was accompanied by other forms racism returning  – the media reactions to the Dale Farm evictions for instance.

– On 14th and 22nd April there are UAF days of action against EDL – social workers need to be out on the streets speaking out against racism/fascism.

– Social workers, social care workers: urgent need to bring together people attacked by far right to defeat them.

– Importance of sharing stories of what’s happening within asylum system.  Privatisation of asylum support. Organisations such as G4S are assisting asylum seekers at the same time as deporting asylum seekers, and abuse and worse occurs in the detention centres they run.

– Social workers have choice to fight back against process of privatisation or slip into social work as surveillance and control of asylum seekers and general population.

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