Testimony from my friend who accompanied a disabled man to his work capability assessment on the Isle Of Wight earlier today.
This morning, I supported a friend through their Work Capability Assessment – the exam the government use to test your eligibility for certain benefits. Its taken me about 3 hours to be unemotional enough to write this post.
I witnessed a 50+ year old wheel chair user, in tears in the waiting room post-assesment. He told me, through his tears, that he had noone to take him to the appontment and had desperately rang round friends this morning and luckily 1 had been able to help him. He told me how his financial support had stopped without warning last year. He spoke of how confused he is trying to navigate the new systems, how exhauating it all is and how he has struggled to access help. He doesnt understand the internet. Through tears.
I cannot put into words how awful it was. Grown man, proud man, his struggles not his fault, dignity in tatters. How stressed and frightened he must have been this morning, snow, no help, illness/wheelchair, exhauation FEAR. How reluctant he was to cry in front of a stranger, how desperately he tried to hold it in. But he couldn’t.
I spoke to another man who told me he had beem suffering with mental illness following historic child abuse. Fear in his eyes, worrying how hes going to keep his house now hes too ill to work and he has to convince the government he’s not on the make. I wont tell you anymore details to protect identity, but it was clear to me that he has worked hard all his life and was clearly struggling with circumstance beyond his control.
Some of the questions during the interview for my own friend, who also suffers with mental health problems, were excruciating, and imo, potentially dangerous. To ask a suicidal person for great detail about how they would kill themselves seems cruel, unneccesary and wreckless.
Listen, i know there are a (very small) section of individuals who will exploit our system. This makes me as angry as it does you. But what makes me angrier, is a government who implement a system that villifys good, decent people, has them stiped of dignity and living in fear.
Im going to resist the urge to accompany this post with a graph detailing the difference claimed fraudulently from welfare state compared to the billions avoided in tax by coorporations every year. Im too upset to be that clinical about it.
New figures reveal the freeze on working age benefits will erode household incomes much more deeply than originally forecast.
New figures have revealed the UK government’s benefits freeze will include an additional £3billion cut over the next three years.
Figures from the House of Commons Library based on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement show that because of high inflation, the Tory’s benefit freeze will be cutting an additional £3billion more from claimants between 2018/19 and 2020/21 than the Government had envisaged in 2015.
SNP Social Justice spokesperson Neil Gray MP said the Benefit Freeze has been one of the most punishing of the UK government’s policies enacted over the past two years – freezing most working-age benefits including Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, Universal Credit and Tax Credits – for four years from April 2016.
The MP for Airdrie and Shotts has marked the two year anniversary of the passage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act – describing it as “one of most shameful acts of the last Parliament.”
Commenting, Neil Gray MP said: “The Tories’ benefit freeze has hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society and yet these new figures reveal they will now have to bear the brunt of a further £3 billion of additional cuts.
“The Welfare Reform and Work Act has implemented punitive cuts to social security in the guise of welfare ‘reform’.
“A long list of social security cuts were introduced – the Benefit Cap, the Benefit Freeze, the two child cap on Child Tax Credits, and the cut to Employment Support Allowance, among others.
“Two years later we are now starting to see the full impact of these policies. And now this will be massively amplified by the rise in inflation, which has risen steadily from 0.5% in June 2016 to a current 3%.
“Labour talk the talk on welfare cuts, but couldn’t bring themselves to walk the walk through the lobbies to vote against this legislation at its Second Reading in the Commons back in 2015.
“They are also staying conveniently silent on the impact their own approach to Brexit will have on the cost of living, which erodes by a huge proportion the incomes of benefit recipients.
“This may explain why they forgot to refer to the Benefit Freeze in their 2017 manifesto.
“The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 exemplifies the very worst of this Tory Government’s total callousness. The SNP want to highlight that on the two year anniversary of this Act having become law, it has left misery and devastation in its wake.
“We have challenged and condemned these Tory cuts from the very beginning, but the Tories refused to believe us when we said these policies would push people into complete crisis.
“Two years on they can no longer refuse to ignore the evidence.
“The Tories urgently need to reverse these cuts and restore dignity and support to social security.” LIKE THAT’S GONNA HAPPEN
Furious daughter handed over mother’s ashes to benefits doctor to prove she isn’t fit to work
Hatti Broxton, 28, told the Department for Work and Pensions her dinner lady mum Louise had died in 2017 but bungling bosses still sent a doctor to assess if she was ‘fit to work’
Hatti Broxton, 28, told the Department for Work and Pensions last August her dinner lady mum Louise had died of lung cancer aged 47. She gave the Department for Work and Pensions concrete proof her mum Louise was unable to work – her ashes
After initially saying the information had been placed on file they sent the doctor to assess if Louise was “fit to work”.
Fuming prison worker Hatti, of Wolverhampton, said last night :”His first words were ‘Hi, are you Louise?. “I was stunned and said I wasn’t but invited him in and said:’Hang on a minute I’ll go and get her’. “I walked over to the mantle piece in the lounge where we keep mum’s remains in an an urn decorated with a rose.
The benefits doctor was forced to apology after Hatti went to fetch her mum on his request and returned with an urn holding her ashes. “I handed it to him and said ‘This is the Louise Broxton you’ve come to see. She died in August like I told your office at the time.’
“The doctor’s face was a picture and he just said ‘Oh my God” and apologised profusely “I know it wasn’t his fault but I told him I had gone through all the correct channels to report my mother’s passing and his visit was very upsetting. “He admitted he hadn’t even been through mum’s medical records which would have said quite clearly at the end – deceased.
“Ten minutes after the doctor left I got a frantic call from the DWP office to say they had made a mistake and they wanted to hold their hands up and sincerely apologise.”
After Hatti informed the DWP her mum had died of lung cancer, she received a letter notifying the family of their assessment visit
[Seriously] Heather Wheeler the Homelessness minister doesn’t know why rough sleeper numbers are up and says she does not believe welfare reform and council cuts are factors,
So what exactly has caused homeless numbers to soar, if not welfare reform and council cuts?
In a recent interview, the Guardian spoke to Jon Sparkes, chief executive of the homelessness charity Crisis, who sits on Wheeler’s new rough sleeping advisory group for England. He expressed his frustration at the Westminster government’s failure to recognise the influence of welfare reforms – such as the housing benefit freeze, the household benefit cap and the universal credit rollout – on homelessness.
Tories have cut: 🔻DLA & PIP 🔻Child Benefit & Tax Credits 🔻EMA & ESA 🔻Council Tax Benefit 🔻Housing Benefit While: 🔻Introducing the Bedroom Tax 🔻Building insufficient houses Tory minister: 🤷"I don't know why there's more homeless people?"https://t.co/13o2MKakFK
If austerity is killing people – why are people still supporting the Tories?
Austerity has caused a 12.4% increase in deaths
Researchers say that austerity policies may be partly responsible for 10,000 excess deaths so far in 2018. TheBMJpublished a research paper called Rise in mortality in England and Wales in first seven weeks of 2018, based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In the paper, Lucinda Hiam and Danny Dorling claim:
Within the first seven weeks of 2018, some 93 990 people died in England and Wales. Over the same weeks in the previous five years, an average of 83 615 people died. This rise of 12.4%, or 10 375 additional deaths, was not due to the ageing of the population. Ageing is a slow process and leads to slow, not sudden, rises in mortality. An additional person died every seven minutes during the first 49 days of 2018 compared with what had been usual in the previous five years. Why?
The research states reasons that haven’t caused the increase in excess deaths. It says that deaths resulting from flu were not “unusually high”, and the weather had been unusually mild. The paper alludes to NHS cuts and other government decisions that may have had an impact on the higher mortality rate. An urgent investigation is needed.
NOW COMPARE THE ABOVE WITH ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S BIGGEST SCROUNGERS!
When travelling Prince Charles takes
Orthopaedic bed and own linen with him on trips. Many people have to “make their bed” on the street!
A butler, two valets, chef, private secretary, typist and bodyguards
A truck carrying suitcases, furniture and food.
he spent £20,980 for a day trip by plane from Scotland to Lincolnshire to watch William receive his RAF wings.
Complains about being stuck for cash!!!! Even though there’s no benefit sanctions for him
When invited to a meal: the host would be informed in advance that an aide would be delivering a bag containing the Prince’s food.
His demands are constant, which means an assistant has to be on call in Charles’s office until he falls sleep.
A member of staff who carries the royal cushion for him. WHAT THE ****
Meanwhile Camilla is addicted to luxury – whenever she’s invited to a dinner party she sends a list of the foods she liked and disliked. No choice at the foodbanks though!
Workers to handpick slugs from leaves of plants at his gardens in Highgrove
Charles and Camilla once used the Royal train to visit a pub in Penrith at a cost of £19,000 Who on benefits can afford to go on a train?
Before a visit to one friend in North-East England, he sent his staff ahead a day early with a truck carrying furniture to replace the perfectly appropriate fittings in the guest rooms.
His staff had also made sure to pack a small radio, Charles’s own lavatory seat, rolls of Kleenex Premium Comfort lavatory paper, Laphroaig whisky and bottled water (for both bedrooms), plus two landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. No bedroom tax here then!
Delivery of his own food — organic, of course. His hosts decided, despite their enjoyment of his company, not to invite him again. No Foodbanks for him
For about six months of every year, the heir to the throne enjoyed a unique lifestyle in beautiful places, either in seclusion or with friends. You can’t have a holiday when on benefits.
All his aides were subject to familiar daily tirades.
For four months every year he lived in Scotland, where he expected people to visit him from London, usually at their own expense.
He flew to Greece to stay for three days, with 43 cases of luggage You can’t have a holiday when on benefits because when you come back you’ll be sanctioned!