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.
In Holy Week, as the Prime Minister grew ever more vocal about his personal faith and the importance of Christian values, the Daily Express brought us the glad tidings that the PM’s colleague Iain Duncan Smith is ‘Winning the War on Benefits’. That’s a war on financial assistance to people who are old, sick, disabled, unemployed or working but paid too little to make ends meet.
One of Britain's leading academic and policy experts on poverty and disadvantage, and how to combat them, has commended the new Spartacus Network Report, Beyond the Barriers which was produced wholly by disabled and sick people, and co-published by Ekklesia yesterday (9 April 2014).
This new report Beyond the Barriers: Employment Support Allowance, the Work Programme and recommendations for a new system of support, released by the Spartacus Network and co-published by Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform today, demonstrates that the policy status quo presents an unforgiving environment for thousands of disabled people across the UK, says its stinging conclusion.
A report published today (9 April) aims to kickstart a significant new debate about the failure of sickness and disability support in the UK, why and what must be done to improve it, and how current systems should be re-designed so that all members of society can achieve their goals and aspirations.