From The Guardian: A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process.
The evidence includes testimony from many saying their mental health had deteriorated as a result of trying to claim the employment support allowance (ESA) for daily living costs and/or the personal independence payment (PIP) to cover the extra costs caused by long-term disability.
It comes after longstanding concerns among mental health groups, medical professionals, user groups and MPs about the operation of both benefits, which see claimant assessments run by outsourced providers and final decisions made by officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The submissions included more than 100 people reporting that they or someone they care for feels their suicidal feelings have worsened or been triggered by the process. Read more
BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reports #FoodBankBritain questions like they’re an amusing game, @Bunnylabshot calls her out on Twitter
- A fun game for highly paid journalists like Laura Kuenssberg in the Westminster bubble.
- A matter of life or death for real people in the real world.
Samuel K uses his video camera and Facebook to ask “Why are so many people in the UK struggling to get by?” Topics he covers include rough sleeping, food banks, childhood poverty, spiralling house prices, the public sector pay cap, and #AllInItTogether.
The 3½ minute video has been viewed over 360,000 times.
The Tories Lied To Us. Austerity Is Ruining The Country.Share with friends and family!!
Posted by Samuel K on Friday, November 3, 2017
From The Guardian: Daniel O’Connor, 64, from Glasgow, has led a tough life. He has severe depression and adjustment disorder, and has twice attempted to end his life. O’Connor had been receiving DLA for nearly 22 years when, this year, his application for a PIP was rejected. Since then, he has experienced financial hardship and says his condition has worsened. O’Connor says he felt as if he wasn’t being listened to at his PIP assessment and recalls telling the assessor that on some days he struggles to get out of bed because his depression is so debilitating. However, his assessor dismissed his story, citing the fact that he could drive as evidence of his ability to carry out everyday tasks. “We got to discussing a previous suicide attempt I had [made],” he says.
Twitter user @xoSorchaxo responds to Theresa May’s conference performance being described as “brave”…
Theresa has a cold and called brave for carrying on a speech… I seen people with no fucking legs dragged to pip assessments. Fuck off
— Miss Mac 🇵🇸 (@xoSorchaxo) October 6, 2017
Kelly tells the BBC she applied for Universal Credit two weeks ago, and has been told her first payment will be on 28th October. She has no money at all. She says: “It’s a lot of weeks to wait. I’m relying on food banks. My friends have had to wait 12 weeks.”
Gail says: “I knew that it would be at least six weeks before I got any money. I knew I’d be without money… [Debt] ruins your life. It spirals out of control so fast when you’re in debt.”
A personal story sent in over the recent Bank Holiday weekend by a Stop the Tories Channel who doesn’t want to be named…
“I’m on universal credit. I’m currently unable to work, same with my partner, and we have a 3-year-old son and are expecting our next just after Christmas.
“We only get £723 in benefits between the three of us for a month. We tend to spend that on food, gas and electric for the month on the day we get it and are usually left struggling by the last week or so before our next benefit payment.
“I’ve recently had to sell most of my possessions just to get us through those last weeks. We’ve got nothing left to sell and our refrigerator broke down during the night on Monday. We were able to salvage the frozen food but all fridged goods were lost. As a result we currently haven’t eaten [for nearly three days] (we have food for our child). Read more
“The culture of greed, selfishness and narcissism that’s been promoted across this country has to change.” – North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove
North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove is one of many expressing anger in the aftermath of the West London fire. He talks to Channel 4 News.
"The culture of greed, selfishness and narcissism that's been promoted across this country has to change."North Kensington resident Ishmahil Blagrove is one of many expressing anger in the aftermath of the West London fire.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, June 16, 2017
Disability activist and writer Fiona Robertson writes on Commonspace: “When I and my fellow disability activists woke up on the morning after the last General Election, we spent an unrelenting few days tag teaming as we tried to keep people in our community alive. We were not always successful. Over and over, hour after hour, we saw iterations of the same message: ‘I do not think I will survive this government.’
“There were 30,000 extra deaths in England and Wales in 2015 as a result of cuts to health and social care, according to research by Oxford University. There were hundreds of suicides by the very lowest estimates, though we who spend our days working with people who are struggling to survive this government know there are more which aren’t counted; that there are many, many deaths because the stress and fear and pain and malnutrition and isolation exacerbated a person’s condition to the point of lethality. Read more
From The Canary: Tracey Culham said using food banks is “the most degrading thing”, especially when “you’ve worked all your life”. Her intervention on national television is a glimpse of the reality for many under the Conservative austerity programme.
The Conservative government is directly responsible for pushing ordinary people into food poverty. The number of three-day food packages sent out by the Trussell Trust alone increased from 40,898 to 1,182,954 between 2010 and 2016-17. That’s a record-breaking increase of 2,792% since the Conservatives came to power.
But it’s worse than that. A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger estimates that over half the emergency food issued comes from organisations independent from the Trussell Trust’s figures. This means the real numbers are much higher.