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Salford benefits sanction protest at I, Daniel Blake premiere

Salford campaigners are to stage a protest outside the HOME cinema in Manchester for the premiere of Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake.

On Friday 21 October the Cannes festival Palme D’Or-winning work goes on general release nationwide.

The film follows the struggles of the title character, played by comic Dave Johns, as he tries to negotiate the labyrinthine UK benefits system after suffering a heart attack that puts him out of work.

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Director Loach attacked the government’s “dangerous project of austerity” as he accepted the award for his scathing and heart-rending film.

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Salford’s Unemployed and Community Resource Centre (SUCRC) are campaigning for better treatment for long-term disabled and vulnerable workers.

Last month they launched a £30,000 crowdfunding project to help the hundreds of people stung by benefit sanctions in Salford.

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Diabetic David Boyce, from Weaste, blames the Department for Work and Pensions for the loss of his leg, after his benefits were repeatedly stopped and he could not control his long-term illness.

Mr Boyce eventually won back his benefits with the help of the SUCRC but it was too late to save his leg.

“The most socially and political film for 50 years goes on general release on Friday,” said centre manager Alec McFadden.

“This film highlights the cruel regime that this the current Tory government and the last coalition government invented to inflict misery and poverty on the poor by benefit sanctions.

I, Daniel Blake © eOne Films UK

I, Daniel Blake © eOne Films UK

“Stopping the national security payment from a fund that the workers paid into when they were employed, that is robbery, daylight robbery.

“We hope and expect that when millions of people see this film in the next few weeks and months we can mobilise such a campaign to force the government to end benefit sanctions forever.”

The protest begins from 6pm Friday outside the city centre cinema on Tony Wilson Place, First Street, Manchester.

Main image: Dave John in I, Daniel Blake © eOne Films UK

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.