I reshared a posting on my personal facebook page from Newsthump a satirical site that’s witty yet caustic. It was a picture of Theresa Coffey, the Work and Pensions Minister, with a caption declaring “majority of Paralympians fit for work” and suggestions of benefit rules changes to come.
Some friends thought it was true, giving vent to their spleen in denunciation of further horrors being inflicted on the poor. As it was that hasn’t happened yet though nothing with this administration would surprise me. A few athletes revelling in well-earned plaudits may well face more than a doping test in years to come.
But whilst that may be fiction the truth is out there and has even put onto the screen in a Ken Loach movie. His film “I, Daniel Blake” showing the “institutionalised cruelty”, as he termed it, which is the UK benefit system.
Whilst that was fiction, it was based on fact. I know, as I am an old friend of the scriptwriter, and Paul Laverty told me of his research as he wrote what would ultimately win the Palme d’Or in 2016. What he narrated did happen and worse. And the tragedy is its worse now than then and worsening still as the uplift ends.
Its not just ritual humiliations and dogmatic rules enforced by intransigent staff, all threatened by their bosses to be hard and ruthless, or it’ll happen to them. It’s, painful hunger felt by kids let alone parents, sacrificing meals to feed their young. Its cold, biting cold as winter comes and there’s no coins available to feed the meter. It’s humiliation and indignity, as the price of poverty hits home.
As experts has shown its not just a drop of £20, as to make it up those working and many on Universal Credit are, must earn far, far more. That just won’t be possible in the low wage and already long hours of work they’re already doing. At the same time the cost of living’s rising and utility bills are increasing.
This is fact not fiction and its barbaric, cruel, and shameful.
Below you can find my speech on in the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit Debate on 15 September 2021.