David Clapson died with no food in his stomach, three weeks after his Jobseekers Allowance was stopped due to a benefit sanction. David, a 59 year old diabetic who had served in the Army and cared for his late mother, was desperately seeking work when he fell foul of the sanctions regime. The DWP said,
"Sanctions are only used as a last resort for a tiny minority who don’t follow the rules.."
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has replied to a group of prominent Catholics who have criticised the UK government’s welfare policies as deeply harmful – but the authors of their Open Letter to Iain Duncan Smith say that he is still missing the point on the harm his policies are causing.
We are constantly being told that the British public has swallowed the 'scroungers and skivers' rhetoric about benefit claimants, and is broadly in favour of welfare cuts. Any politician who opposes these cuts is widely portrayed as unrealistic and unelectable. But what if that is not true, and the public's attitude is actually far less harsh than the Westminster bubble would have us believe?
We thought long and hard about writing an open letter to Iain Duncan Smith. As a way of trying to influence government policy, this method would certainly not be our first choice. We believe in focusing on policies, not politicians. But we also believed we had reached the point where to appeal to Mr Duncan Smith as an individual, and to make a strong public show of concern, was necessary.
We are pleased to note that in addition to reporting the letter from leading Catholics critiquing Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, over the appalling impact of benefit cuts on the sick, poor and disabled, the Daily Mirror has been persuaded to open an online poll on the subject - which has now gone viral.
The think-tanks Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform have today published an open letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, from Catholics and people brought up in the Catholic faith who support its teaching on social justice and who are deeply critical of the government’s treatment of vulnerable and disabled people.
The think-tanks Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform have sent and published an open letter to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, from Catholics and people brought up in the Catholic faith who support its teaching on social justice and who are deeply critical of the government’s treatment of vulnerable and disabled people.
In the last Parliament, people with disabilities who challenged government cuts were labelled extremists. Political opposition was weakened by a fear of being seen as on the side of ‘scroungers’. But with more cuts coming, perhaps that is about to change. As more and more lives are affected, awareness of just how bad these policies are is growing.
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.