The most vulnerable people in society are now being targeted by out of date policies that are destroying life and its quality for the unemployed, the sick and the disabled.
And should you happen to be all three at the same time then only The Lord can help you. Just hope it’s not a British Lord or a conservative.
Because of the policies of the previous Tory government towards the welfare state many people have either lost their lives, attempted suicide, have lost families and friends and basically have had to turn to prayer, begging (politely), or to the dark side, like in the time of the great Plague a few centuries ago, just to survive.
The notion of money and accountability has been turned into grotesque policies by some Members of Parliament. These members usually attend schools such as Eaton or Harrow and universities such as Cambridge or Oxford, or both for achieving multiple Doctorates in multiple academic fields. They have no notion that in the real world were the poor and the middle class live side by side, people are being hurt by their Snobbish policies towards the masses. The only reason they won the election is that they had convinced a third of British society that speculation and debt is the way to go forward in these economic times of zero interest rates, as well as an out of date Electoral system. They take money from their banker friends as a matter of fact whenever they feel the urge, thus getting our grandchildren into debt, and then preach to the masses the necessity of austerity and and living within a budget.
At least let these career politicians be answerable to some investigation regarding the damage they have done to the fabric of British society. They have treated people with utter disrespect just because they have no resources and had to raise their bowls to the State and ask: please sir can i have some more? No, not the masses who raise their voices and march towards their objectives and grab what they want on their way, but the weak, the vulnerable, the ones who are not heard.
Take the case of Nick Gaskin. He has Multiple Sclerosis, can’t talk, can’t walk, but was told to attend a job interview or else he would have to live on fresh air!
People are dying because of these immoral policies and transparency should now be the order of the day. Don’t you think?
The Guardian reports:
Gaskin, who has primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), cannot walk, feed himself or talk but, last month, received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) informing him he should attend an interview about “the possibility” of getting a job.
People who have such severe disabilities they are unable to work are – by definition of being put in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – not required to attend mandatory meetings. As Gaskin can only communicate through blinking, it was his wife, Tracy, who called the jobcentre in Loughborough to explain this. The DWP now says it will apologise over the “misunderstanding”. But not before Tracy was told that if her husband did not attend the interview his benefits would be stopped.
It is that easy now. Dig through reports by academics, charities, or people claiming benefits themselves, and each week appears to mark another step in the reduction of entitlement to punitive whim. This month alone we have learned that jobcentres allegedly have targets for the number of people’s benefits they should stop, and that the unemployed face having their jobseeker’s allowance cut if they do not exhibit a “positive outlook”.
The DWP enjoys setting rules. It is less keen at playing by them. Currently, Iain Duncan Smith is embroiled in a row over burying figures that show how many people have died within six weeks of their benefits being stopped. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said that there is no reason for the statistics to not be made public. We know any of this not because of government transparency but how we know much nowadays: a freedom of information request, this time made by the journalist Mike Sivier. It gives an insight into Duncan Smith’s thinking that when confronted on the issue in the House of Commons, it was the campaign to disclose the statistics – rather than the deaths themselves – that he called “disgraceful”.
In fact, the ICO is investigating the DWP over a separate refusal to go public with its “peer reviews” into 49 specific deaths of people on benefits. Reviews that – according to the government’s own internal guidance – are triggered when suicide or alleged suicide is “associated with a DWP activity”. It is worth noting that the DWP has just ignored the deadline to submit evidence on this.
Ask yourself why a government department in a so-called civilised democracy would not want to get the bottom of the deaths of its citizens. It is as if they do not want to know the answers. Stop the money that people need to live and some will stop living. You do not need a doctorate in economics to grasp that. Nor a medical degree to predict that arbitrarily sanctioning benefits and declaring the severely ill “fit for work” was never going to endanger the healthy or middle classes. It punishes the people who commit the worst crime in austerity: the ones who need the government’s help.
“Nick’s quite fortunate, he’s got a great group of carers. He knows he can trust me and I can fight his corner for him,” Tracy Gaskin explained. “But there are people out there who haven’t got that … If this had happened last year – I’m in remission for cancer – that probably would have tipped us both over the edge.”
I have written about some of the people who fell past the edge. Malcolm Burge, the retired gardener who had his housing benefit cut by 50% and drove to Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and set his car on fire. David Clapson, the diabetic jobseeker who had his benefits sanctioned and was found with no food in his stomach and CVs next to his body. There are others. And the truth the DWP cannot hide is that, if it were up to them, we would never know of them.
It is clear we have a government that feels at liberty to do anything it wishes to a citizen if they happen to be claiming benefits. Duncan Smith has built this system and is now trying to hide the harm it’s done. Its victims are being treated in death by their government as they were in the final weeks of their life: discarded as if they do not matter.
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