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In an interview on LBC radio, Iain Duncan Smith displayed a startling ignorance of the social security benefits he has been administering, and cutting, for the last four years.
People in the UK unable to work because of depression may have their benefits stopped if they do not undergo cognitive behavioural therapy, which it is assumed will cure them, a newspaper has reported. If this plan goes ahead, sizeable numbers of mentally ill people are likely to die.
People campaigning for the abolition of the Work Capability Assessment have often quoted figures from the Department for Work and Pensions which state that between January 2011 and November 2011, 10,600 sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their benefit claim ending.
As the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions insists that all is well at the DWP, Universal Credit is on track, and attitudes towards disabled people have improved, an independent report this week delivered a damning verdict on how the DWP itself treats sick and disabled people.
Successive UK governments have made it harder for people in need to get social security, at a devastating human cost. Public services have also been cut, supposedly to save money. Might this have ended up costing taxpayers more?
I often speak to people in their seventies and eighties about what life was like when they were young. These are working-class men and women, from a Northern industrial town, who all left school when they were 14 or 15, with very basic qualifications. They had no opportunity to take their education further, though many would have liked to.
When is a scandal not a scandal? Perhaps when politicians and the media simply think it’s not important, because it affects only a powerless minority.