From CambridgeshireLive: A cancer survivor left with crippling disabilities and chronic pain after life saving treatment says she can no longer afford food after her benefits were slashed.
Sally was diagnosed with a rare uterine carcinoma in December 2016 and underwent months of gruelling radiotherapy and chemotherapy that wrecked her nervous system, left her in constant pain and reliant on opioid drugs including morphine.
But now the 50-year-old says she can barely afford food and feels like a prisoner in her Cambridge flat after having her benefits cut by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Sally said: “Mentally I felt like I was going insane. I’m just in the flat all the time crying. I want to go out but I can’t get out, so I’m trapped in here just like a prison.”
Sally’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which replaced the Disability Living Allowance, has been slashed by £100 a month.
Sally says she has been forced into debt to buy basics like bread and milk: “Some weeks we don’t have money for food, honestly it’s that bad. I’ve had to max out credit cards, I’ve had to use credit cards to get food. I think this is the poorest I’ve been, because of them [DWP] there’s no milk in the fridge.”
[Read full article on CambridgeshireLive website…]
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
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.
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.
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.”
[View video on BBC Online…]
A personal story sent in over the recent Bank Holiday weekend by a #StopTheTories Channel reader 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
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.
Charlotte Cornwell writes in to The Stage: “What a transparent and two-faced excuse for a government that is all too aware that, when local authorities have faced cuts of up to 40% in central government funding – while at the same time being made to take responsibility for increasing items central government now refuses to fund – the arts are always the first to suffer savage cuts.”
[Read full letter on The Stage website…]
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.
From the Daily Mirror: A man lost his toes to frostbite after being evicted from his home when it was hit by the bedroom tax.
[Read article on Mirror website…]