When the poverty figures were published last week, many people were surprised that they did not show a significant rise. Particularly for people active in their communities, the figures did not seem to reflect the hardship they are seeing.
Statutory maternity pay may be axed, and incapacity benefit and housing benefit for under-25s removed if the Conservatives return to power. The Guardian has revealed details of possible further ‘welfare’ cuts set out in leaked documents.
People with disabilities or a long-term illness, having borne the brunt of welfare cuts in this Parliament, fear what will happen after the General Election. With the Conservatives promising a further £12 billion cuts without specifying where the axe would fall, they fear the worst.
The total wealth of Britain’s richest 1000 individuals and families has more than doubled over ten years, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Meanwhile many ordinary people have been badly affected by low pay and cuts.
The Conservatives are refusing to give details of where £12 billion of further social security cuts will come from, but Iain Duncan Smith has said, "there are some things that we will do, and want to do, that are of life-changing, dramatic effects."
As George Osborne did the rounds of media interviews about the Budget this morning, I read about a 59 year old man, previously a ‘hardworking taxpayer’, unable to walk or talk properly after a stroke, who had been forced to sell his home because the Department for Work and Pensions had removed his Disability Living Allowance.
"This report directly links cuts to public services with mental health problems... Psychologists are often in a position to see the effects that social and economic changes have on people. We also occupy a relatively powerful position as professionals and therefore have an ethical responsibility to speak out about these effects."