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Social security sanctions, in which people not in paid work have benefit payments cut or removed for up to three years, have reached record levels. 27 Anglican bishops and other church leaders have condemned UK government benefit cuts and failures which mean that many go hungry.
Jenny (not her real name) describes herself as “a medicated production”. In preparation for our meeting, she had recourse to a morphine patch. She explained that she always tried to “dress nicely and take care with my hair and make up when I go out or meet people.”
The UK supreme court has confirmed that the government had broken the law through failing to supply adequate information about its work-or-starve schemes for jobless people. Yet, by and large, ministers are succeeding in inflicting terrible hardship on many unemployed and sick people, as Citizens Advice Bureau research reveals.
Do you go to church on Sundays? Do you have young children who need you to look after them on Saturdays, or adult caring responsibilities for even a few hours a week? If you lose your job in the UK, you might be punished with destitution.
The brutal pre-election repression of Robert Mugabe's regime may at last have brought the world to a tipping-point of disgust.
International solidarity and support for the Burmese democracy movement is growing, as evidenced in the imposition of new economic sanctions against the military regime. But what happens next?