‘Austerity causes a lot of suffering’: record number of food banks report stock shortage

Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest food bank network, says supplies dwindling this summer as welfare sanctions bite

A volunteer at a Trussell Trust food bank in Wandsworth, south-west London, prepares a parcel of donated items.
 A volunteer at a Trussell Trust food bank in Wandsworth, south-west London, prepares a parcel of donated items. 

In a storage room at a food bank in Kingston, south-west London, the manager raises his hand above his head to show how high the crates of canned fruit get in October. Today, the stack barely reaches his knees.

Paul Pickhaver says the facility receives fewer donations in summer, so whatever comes in goes straight out of the door for distribution. In recent weeks, it has run low on instant coffee, tinned vegetables, fruit juice, squash and many other items.

This food bank is not alone. A record number have been forced to ask for donations this summer after running out of some items, according to Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest food bank network.

The charity said 42 of its centres – about 10% of its network – released an urgent appeal for items on social media, or through local media, in the past three months.

Stock shortages came into sharp focus in July when an independent facility, Eastside food bank in Swansea, South Wales, ran out of supplies. Volunteers who run the food bank from Mount Zion Baptist church in Bonymaen made an appeal for stock. The callout prompted a tenfold rise in donations.

West Somerset Food Cupboard, an independent food bank in south-west England, made an urgent appeal for baked beans this weekThe coordinator, Ann Gibbs, said a surge in demand had triggered the request.

In Nottingham, low supplies were reported at Mount Zion food bank, in Radford. It has also noted a surge of donations since its appeal.

James Milton, operations support manager at Trussell Trust, attributed the increase this summer to a rise in year-on-year referrals.

“While none of the food banks in our network have run out of food, we know many of them are worried about stock levels of certain shortage items,” he said.

“The only reason food banks were able to stop people going hungry was because local people had generously donated. Food banks rely on communities giving food.”

Rev Chris Lewis, chair of Eastside food bank, said changes to the benefits system were also a contributory factor. He said food banks were facing more pressure than ever, pointing to a 40% rise in referrals in the year from May 2016.

“People are being referred to us because of benefit sanctions and because of quite long delays in changes to benefits,” Lewis said.

This year Trussell Trust said the chaotic introduction of universal credit, the government’s flagship welfare overhaul, had increased food bank use. The charity said many claimants were unable to afford meals when their benefits were delayed.

He noted that many food banks around the country were also struggling. He said of his facility: “On the first Friday of the holidays we got to a critically low level, which would have wiped out our stock the following Friday if we got no more in … we wouldn’t have been able to give people enough ingredients to make a meal.”

He has been surprised by the response to the appeal: “We will be all right for a while now, but we are constantly trying to expand our support network, and we are doing things like getting collection boxes and getting messages into local schools.”

Milton said food banks were an emergency service and the Trussell Trust was doing all it could to support those in need, but warned: “We do not have the food stock or volunteer capacity to solve structural problems alone.”

Many food banks have been experiencing shortages this summer.
Pinterest
 Many food banks have been experiencing shortages this summer. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

He said: “We are deeply concerned by the continued increase in food bank use. The impact of policies like universal credit raises important questions … about the extent to which frontline volunteer-run groups should have to step in to help in the absence of other practical help.”

Pickhaver, in Kingston, said social media was a useful tool for alerting the public to stock shortages. “Normally, if you look at the list of items we have, you could come here and pick up any of them – but we cannot do that at the moment,” he said.

“But if we could say to people: ‘Don’t give us baked beans’ – that’s where social media comes in, because it tells people what to give.”

Lewis said the lack of supplies this summer had highlighted the extent of hidden food poverty. “It’s not going to go away … Austerity is causing a lot of suffering,” he said.

“I’ve seen a mother weep when we gave her a few bags of basic food … I also call on the government to address the growing problem. In the meantime, please keep supporting us.”

SOURCE

Biggest-ever foodbanks report reveals hunger horror facing Britain’s hardest-up households

Researchers spent 18 months investigating why our poorest families are flocking for help

Four out of five foodbank users go hungry multiple times a year with some skipping meals for days at a time, according to the biggest ever study of UK foodbanks.

A bombshell report drawn up over 18 months today lays bare the horror of hunger gripping some of the country’s poorest families.

Soaring housing costs, rocketing energy bills and rising grocery prices pile pressure on budgets of the hardest-up households, the Oxford University probe found.

More than half of families relying on emergency handouts included a disabled person, 75% experienced ill health in their household, while mental health problems affected people in a third of families. It found that people with a disability or chronic illness who were in receipt of benefits were disproportionately likely to be referred to food banks, as were lone parents and poorer families with three or more children.

“These are the same groups that have been – and continue to be – hit hardest by welfare reform, such as loss of disability entitlements, increased conditionality and sanctions, the benefit cap, and reductions in tax credits.

(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

One in three households struggled to meet minimum monthly repayments on outstanding loans, and nearly one in five mired in debt owe money to payday lenders.

The 70-page report was based on data gathered from more than 400 households using 18 foodbanks around the country.

The devastating results outline the difficulties facing poverty-stricken households who seek help from generous volunteers.

Half had gone without heating for more than four days in the past 12 months, 50% could not afford toiletries, and a fifth had slept rough in the last year.

Nearly two in five people were waiting for a benefit payment, with most waiting up to six weeks.

A fifth were waiting seven weeks or more.

A third of delays were for Employment Support Allowance payments.

Author Dr Rachel Loopstra, of Oxford University’s sociology department, said: “The stories emerging from foodbanks across the country have surprised and shocked many people but until now, we have not been able to put them in a numerical context.

“Our survey data show how people using foodbanks are unable to ensure they always have enough food to eat because their incomes are too low and too insecure.

“We observed how commonly income or expenditure shocks, whether arising from a delay in receiving a benefit payment, from a benefit sanction, or from rising energy costs, tipped households into foodbank use.

“But these shocks, and resulting foodbank usage, occur among people who live with extremely low incomes and chronic food insecurity, where meeting basic needs is an ongoing struggle.

“The severity and chronicity of food insecurity and other forms of destitution we observed amongst people using foodbanks are serious public health concerns.”

The report was commissioned by Britain’s biggest foodbank network, the Trussell Trust, which runs 428 foodbanks.

Last year the charity’s volunteers provided 1.2 million emergency food parcels.

Chief Executive David McAuley said: “This pioneering research confirms to us what those volunteers have been telling us.

“DWP secretary, David Gauke, remarked last week when asked about the rise in food bank use. Gauke was announcing that the benefit freeze would remain in place despite rising food prices. With little sense of irony, he did it over a lobby lunch.

The Trussell Trust Food Bank
The Trussell Trust is Britain’s biggest foodbank operator (Photo: Getty)

“Every day they are meeting people trying to cope with low, insecure incomes and rising prices that mean even the smallest unexpected expense can leave them destitute and hungry – be that an unexpected bill, bereavement or the loss of income caused by benefit delay.

“Particularly concerning are the very high numbers of disabled people or people with mental health problems needing foodbanks.

“These findings reaffirm how vital the work of foodbanks and generosity of donors is, but are also a clear challenge to the new Government to do more to stop people ending up in crisis in the first place.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “This report builds on previous research directly linking increased use of foodbanks with the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime.

Debbie Abrahams blamed “Tory austerity” (Photo: Daily Mirror)

“It is further evidence of the total failure of the Tory austerity project, which as this data shows is disproportionately punishing people with mental health conditions and disabilities.”

“The fact that four out of five foodbank users go hungry over a year cannot be allowed to continue.”

“That’s why the next Labour Government will transform the social security system so that, like the NHS, it is there for us all in our time of need.”

A Government spokesman said: “We’re helping millions of households meet the everyday cost of living and keep more of what they earn while also spending over £90billion a year in extra support for those who need it.

“Employment is the best route out of poverty, and with record numbers of people – including disabled people – now in work, we’ve made great progress. WHAT A LOAD OF BS!

“But we want to go even further to help ordinary families. That’s why we’ve doubled free childcare, introduced Universal Credit and increased the National Living Wage and tax free Personal Allowance to make sure it always pays to be in work.” SOURCE

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Grenfell Tower is a human rights tragedy

GUARDIAN

The tragic fire remains a symbol of what has gone wrong in housing for poor people, despite my warnings to the UK government not to ignore human rights

In 2013 my predecessor, Raquel Rolnik, the UN-appointed special rapporteur on the right to housing, visited the UK and warned that the government’s roll-back on investment in social housing and its emphasis instead on investment in the private rental market was having a deleterious effect on the availability and adequacy of social housing stock.

Last April, alongside several colleagues, I communicated human rights concerns(pdf) to the UK government about the impact of austerity measures on housing standards. And after that a UN committee of independent human rights experts expressed similar concerns and recommendedthat the government “take corrective measures to address bad housing or sub-standard housing conditions …”. We were all echoing the voices of thousands of residents who had been systematically and repeatedly raising their concerns with their councils and the government.

Perhaps in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy that killed at least 79 people – a devastating illustration of the impact of substandard housing on the lives of poor people – local councils and central government will begin to recognise that international human rights standards regarding adequate housing are not hogwash, but are in place precisely to preserve human life.

From my vantage point, Grenfell Tower is also emblematic of a global phenomenon where rich and poor live side by side on starkly unequal terms and where housing is rarely viewed as a right, but instead promoted as a commodity.

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Grenfell Tower is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Not only is it the most expensive borough in the country by some estimates, it is considered prime real estate for foreign investors, many of whom don’t live in the borough. While more than 1,200 properties sit vacant in the borough, the residents of Grenfell lived on top of each other in a densely populated, 24-storey building. The exterior was refurbished to make it less of an eyesore for more affluent onlookers using a cheap material banned in a number of countries including, reportedly, in the UK for its flammability.

The management of Grenfell Tower was handed over to the private sector. Kensington Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) is responsible for managing the tower block as well as 10,000 other units [pdf] and it is paid handsomely to do so. Apparently, KCTMO’s responsibilities did not include heeding the concerns of the UN, let alone those of the tenant association, which for more than four years had expressed distress about fire safety in the building.

As horrific and singular as the Grenfell Tower firewas, it represents the new world order. The idea of housing as a social good for which governments are responsible has largely been abandoned. There is an ever-growing list of cities where governments prop up the financialisation of residential real estate, promoting the idea that housing is a place to safely park huge amounts of capital and grow wealth without any investment in local communities. This is despite the fact that it pushes up the cost of housing and drives out low-income residents in cities around the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, San Francisco, New York, Sydney, Melbourne and Vancouver.

Allowing big corporations to manage the needs of tenants is also not unique to Grenfell Tower. The Blackstone Group – the world’s largest real estate private equity firm – spent $10bn to purchase repossessed properties in the US after the 2008 financial crisis, and emerged as the largest rental landlord in the country. Tenants in their units complain that their needs and concerns regarding the adequacy of their housing fall on deaf ears, with management companies accountable to investors rather than to them.

The Grenfell Tower tragedy should see off austerity. But don’t hold your breath

If failing to uphold human rights was, at least in part, the cause of the Grenfell Tower disaster, then surely upholding internationally recognised human rights is the way forward. Only a human rights approach lays out universal standards of what constitutes “adequate” housing, such as protecting against physical threats like fire and floods.

Brian May savages Tories and calls for ‘radical restart’ of policy after devastating Grenfell Tower fire

Only a human rights approach lays out what’s required after a disaster like Grenfell – that tenants must be provided immediate alternate accommodation in their existing community. Only a human rights approach is crystal clear that it is governments that are responsible to low-income and marginalised populations, and that this will require regulating tenant management companies and other third parties to ensure they are not jeopardising the state’s human rights obligations.

Grenfell Tower will remain a symbol of what has gone wrong in housing for poor people. It’s a horrible human tragedy, but it should also be remembered as a human rights tragedy.

Over 170 years after Engels, Britain is still a country that murders its poor

A wall of condolence near Grenfell Tower on 16 June.
A wall of condolence near Grenfell Tower on 16 June. ‘This, Theresa May, is what a people’s public inquiry looks like.’ Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

This, Theresa May, is what a people’s public inquiry looks like. The sign-writers and passersby talking in the streets around Grenfell have grasped a truth that cabinet ministers are still fumbling towards: whatever and whoever a judge finds at fault – this procedure or that subcontractor – the true causes of the failures go far wider. They lie in the way Britain is run.

While in Victorian Manchester, Friedrich Engels struggled to name the crime visited on children whose limbs were mangled by factory machines, or whose parents were killed in unsafe homes. Murder and manslaughter were committed by individuals, but these atrocities were something else: what he called social murder. “When society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual,” he wrote in 1845, in The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Over 170 years later, Britain remains a country that murders its poor. When four separate government ministers are warned that Grenfell and other high rises are a serious fire risk, then an inferno isn’t unfortunate. It is inevitable. Those dozens of Grenfell residents didn’t die: they were killed. What happened last week wasn’t a “terrible tragedy” or some other studio-sofa platitude: it was social murder.

Grenfell Tower is a terrible betrayal of human rights

By all means, let’s wait for a judge to confirm the reports that the tower was covered in banned cladding, and that the 79 men, women and children confirmed to have died in the fire (at the time of writing) possibly did so for a grand saving of £2 a square metre.

But we can draw our own conclusions about whether well-heeled renters in a luxury tower would have received the contempt dished out to Grenfell’s council tenants after they published detailed reports on their homes being firetraps. Those local politicians who gave council taxpayers a sizeable rebate even while starving local services of funds have evidently chosen whose side they are on – and it’s not that of the families who have been made homeless.

The 19th-century industrialists who resisted the factories acts would recognise a kindred spirit in Boris Johnson, who has claimed “health and safety fears are making Britain a safe place for extremely stupid people”. The next TV interviewer to face the foreign secretary should ask him either to repeat those words or apologise for them. But the deadliest rationale came from David Cameron, who as PM wrote off the legal protections given to workers and consumers as “an albatross around the neck of British businesses”. I cannot remember a more brazen recent statement of profits before people.

To look after its properties, the council created the largest management organisation of its type in England – unfeasibly large, it turned out, and unaccountable to its own tenants. This was the £11m-a-year body that handed the £10m refurbishment contract to the builder Rydon. The best that can be said of such outsourcing – whether in managing flats or running council departments – is that the public ends up paying more for a service that’s worse. It allows big companies to profiteer from basic public needs, and to evade democratic control.

Spectacular examples of social violence, such as Grenfell, are thankfully rare. They usually occur out of public sight. This decade of austerity has been a decade of social violence: of people losing their cash income for not being disabled enough, of families turfed out of their homes for having more than two kids or a bedroom the state deems surplus to requirements. These are tales of private misery, of a person or a household behind a closed door plunged into stress, anxiety, depression or worse.

Last year I met a Parkinson’s disease sufferer, Paul Chapman, who after being put through a fitness-to-work assessment and having most of his benefits cut told his wife, Lisa: “I’ll clear off and I won’t take my tablets or my insulin. And it’ll be over then. I won’t be here.”

Others have told me of friends who didn’t only express such impulses, they acted on them. Their last days will have been soundtracked by a government deriding “skivers”. Years of public bullying and official harassment of the poor have funded the £93bn of tax breaks and bungs chucked at big corporations, property developers and outsourcing firms.

Austerity is at the heart of the Grenfell story. Think of the firefighters, who have seen stations closed and colleagues laid off by May, when she was home secretary. Consider the nurses treating the dying and the maimed, who will be on lower pay now than they were in 2009.

Most of all, remember this: the cuts made since 2010 were the poor picking up the tab for the venality of rich bankers. The two are jammed up next to each other in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the richest and most unequal patches of land in the world. Just minutes away from Grenfell, you can find a house for sale at £30m (albeit “in need of full modernisation”). The residents of the investment-starved Tower died last week did so partly because of the greed of their neighbours.

Spending cuts, deregulation, outsourcing: between them they have turned a state supposedly there to protect and support citizens into a machine to make money for the rich while punishing the poor. It’s never described like that, of course. Class warfare is passed off as book-keeping. Accountability is tossed aside for “commercial confidentiality”, while profiteering is dressed up as economic dynamism. One courtesy we should pay the victims of Grenfell is to drop the glossy-brochure euphemisms. Let’s get clear what happened to them: an act of social murder, straight out of Victorian times.

Grenfell residents feared benefit sanctions – they are too used to being ignored

Justice for Grenfell banner in area near the Tower
‘As anyone who has been put through the Tories’ benefit system knows, ‘humanity’ and the DWP are two things that do not tend to go together.’ Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Incredibly, representatives of local residents who approached local Jobcentre Plus officials and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff in North Kensington report being told that it could “not be guaranteed” that people caught up in the fire and its aftermath would not be penalised if they were unable to sign on.

Last night, when the Guardian approached them for comment, the DWP confirmed that normal jobcentre rules – including financial sanctions routinely issued to claimants who miss appointments – had been suspended indefinitely for former Grenfell Tower tenants and other local residents who claim unemployment benefits.

A local resident who said he was acting on behalf of the community claimed that the DWP only later moved to clarify the position because of pressure on social media. “Once it became clear that there was media attention focused on them, they have finally done the right thing,” he said. “Why should it take shame for them to act? Where is their humanity?”

As anyone who has been put through the Tories’ benefit system knows, “humanity” and the DWP are two things that do not tend to go together.

Rather, it’s a department that in recent years has become synonymous with cruelty, where marginalised people are treated with total disregard – often at the very moment they are in crisis. In the last few days alone, we’ve had reports of a disabled woman who needs a bladder operation forced to sit in her own urine for two hours by a benefit assessor. And a woman who took her own life after her benefits were stopped when she missed a jobcentre appointment to go to the hospital. The DWP has since apologised for leaving a voicemail on the 42-year-old’s phone to say the sanction was being upheld – despite already having been told of her death.

This is the context in which the concerns of Grenfell residents should be seen. It does not seem beyond the realm of possibility that a benefits system that punishes people for missing an appointment because they are having a heart attack or attending their brother’s funeral would worry about doing the same to traumatised people who had nearly died.

The fact it was ever possible that the Grenfell fire victims would be punished for being unable to meet jobcentre rules is a damning insight into the culture of fear the DWP engenders. But it’s also a sign of the insecurity on the ground in Grenfell in the days after the blaze: local residents desperately piecing together bits of information themselves because the authorities that should have been helping were failing to do it for them.

For many Grenfell residents – ignored by the council and avoided by Theresa May– it is not unusual for a government department to abandon them. It’s shameful that any of them were left to worry that, having lost their homes, their benefits could be taken too. Some dignity and reassurance is the least the Grenfell victims are owed.

Levels of child hunger and deprivation in UK among highest of rich nations

Unicef report finds that one in three British children are in ‘multi-dimensional poverty’ and says gaps between rich and poor are widening around the world.


GUARDIAN

The UK has some of the highest levels of hunger and deprivation among the world’s richest nations, according to a wide-ranging United Nations assessment of child health and wellbeing.

The Unicef report ranks 41 high-income countries against 25 indicators tracking progress against internationally agreed goals to end child poverty and hunger, promote health, ensure quality education, and reduce inequality.

It concludes that the majority of rich countries are going backwards on inequality indicators as gaps between rich and poor widen, with many performing poorly in key areas of child health, notably as a consequence of rising obesity rates.

“Income inequality is growing, adolescents’ mental health is worsening, and child obesity is growing,” the report states.

Nearly one in five UK children under the age of 15 suffers from food insecurity – meaning their family lacks secure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food – putting it above the rich country average of 13%.

One in three UK children are in what Unicef calls “multi-dimensional poverty” – which measures deprivation in a number of areas linked to children’s rights including housing, clothing, nutrition and access to social and leisure activities.

Sarah Cook, the director of Unicef Innocenti, which carried out the assessment, said the report was a “wake-up call” to governments that even in high-income countries progress does not benefit all children.

“Higher incomes do not automatically lead to improved outcomes for all children, and may indeed deepen inequalities. Governments in all countries need to take action to ensure the gaps are reduced and progress is made to reach the sustainable development goals for children.”

However, the report acknowledges that there had been positive progress in many areas, and the vast majority of rich countries have witnesses declines in neonatal deaths, adolescent suicide, teenage births and child homicide rates.

Food insecurity rates ranged from 1% in Japan to 20% in the US and 35% in Mexico. “Although the general availability of food is not a problem in any of these countries, too many families struggle to satisfy their children’s nutritional needs,” the report says.

One in seven children aged 11-15 in rich countries are obese or overweight, the report says. This varies from Denmark, where already low rates have fallen in recent years to 8%, to Canada and Malta, where one in four children in this age group are considered overweight.

The report finds that across rich countries an average one in five children live in relative income poverty on a scale that runs from Denmark (9%) to Germany (15%), the UK (20%) and the US (29%) through to Romania (39%). Using the multidimensional child poverty tool, there were similarly wide variations from Switzerland (11% ) to the UK (34%) and Romania (85%).

The UK ranks 16th out of 41 on tackling poverty, 34th on food insecurity, 15th on health and wellbeing, 31st on economic growth, and sixth on reducing inequalities.

The highest ranked countries across all indicators were Norway, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea and the Netherlands. The lowest were Chile, Bulgaria, Romania, Mexico and the US.

“The presence of countries such as New Zealand and the United States in the bottom reaches of this table is proof that high national income alone is no guarantee of a good record in sustaining child well-being,” the report states.

The report is the first attempt to assess the status of children in 41 high-income countries in relation to the UN sustainable development goals agreed last year to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

DWP ATROCITIES: This is a Pip disability assessment: intrusive, humiliating and completely pointless

GUARDIAN

I have a permanent disability. Even after the election, the Conservative government is forcing people like me through this broken system

‘Atos is one of two profit-making companies given half a billion pounds by the government to ‘assess’ people like me.’
‘Atos is one of two profit-making companies given half a billion pounds by the government to ‘assess’ people like me.’ Photograph: Alamy

‘So Rob, do you have friends?” I’m wondering what on earth Sharon (not her real name) thinks she might be looking at as she gazes at me. She’s had around seven days of training before this and now, in my living room, I wonder what conclusions she feels she can draw from asking this question.

This is the reality of an assessment for personal independence payment, or Pip as it’s known. Despite last week’s election surprise, we still have a Conservative government so millions of British people with permanent, unchanging disabilities will be put through this astronomically expensive and humiliating test to see if they can be thrown off benefits.

If you’re wondering why I’m part of all this, I have ocular albinism and nystagmus, meaning I have exceptionally limited vision.

At the age of 38, I’ve been claiming disability living allowance since I was a teenager. It works out at £5.73 a day, which goes towards paying for taxis, screen magnification software, magnifying glasses and a variety of other utterly prosaic things that enable me to lead as “normal” a life as possible. And because of my visual impairment, paired with anxiety that requires daily medication, it’s been decided by the Department for Work and Pensions that I must have a home visit to assess my disability in all its permanent, unchanging glory to see if I qualify for the payments that are slowly replacing DLA.

Sharon works for Atos, one of the two profit-making companies (Capita being the other) that have been given half a billion pounds by the government to “assess” people like me with disabilities where there is zero chance of any improvement in our lifetime.

Well, you may be thinking, at least the assessor will be an expert in the relevant field of disability, who can perhaps shed some insight on the process with direct relation to my specific condition?“Do you wear glasses, Rob?” is the next question of around 35 that are fired at me over the course of a gruelling hour. Asking an albino if he or she wears glasses is like asking an amputee when their leg is going to grow back. Albinism is a genetic condition that affects the nerves and the brain. Sharon’s line of questioning has the kind of expertise you might expect if you asked Joey Essex to lead the Brexit negotiations.

Let’s clarify this: people’s benefits, mobility vehicles, home help and other essential lifelines are being decided upon by a team consisting mostly of nurses and occupational therapists like Sharon who have had seven days of training and are still doing their proper job for half the week.

And so the asininity continues: “Do you take showers?” “Do you have any leisure activities?” “What do you eat?” The humiliation and intrusion are absolute and total. The additional sheer irrelevance of these questions relating to my own disability renders me silently apoplectic.

Sharon isn’t a bad person. She looks barely 30 and she’s just doing her job. Yet the decisions she and her ilk are making just aren’t working out. In the final three months of 2016 alone 65% of people appealing against the denial of Pip won their cases against the government.

Can I have my fiver now?