Mark unravels after sanctions: ‘The process left me feeling suicidal’ – Ann McGauran


According to Vox Political  and the Disability News Service, the UK government seems to have become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD), writes Ann McGauran.

Surely here in the UK we wouldn’t abuse disabled people? Could that really happen in London, for example – a sophisticated and rich world capital, recently revealed by an article in Forbes as the world’s “most influential global city”?

A few days ago I caught up with long-standing Greenwich food bank client Mark Bothwell, who has depression and whose shoulder injury had developed into a chronic problem. I’ve interviewed Mark many times, and he’s a warm, intelligent and engaging young man of 29. His experiences must make him one of those said to be experiencing diabolical treatment – those “grave violations” – at the hands of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over many, many months. Mark told me that by July he was so distraught that he felt  suicidal.

[Referring to the way the DWP handled his ESA claim, he said:] “From about the beginning of June until mid-July I made about 60 phone calls trying to sort out the appeals and the (lost) ESA (claim). I had to resubmit the application for ESA because they said they lost it. On almost every phone call I’d be told something different. That process left me feeling suicidal. They were telling me a different thing every single time. They would tell me it (my money) would be a week, then I phoned up and they said no they shouldn’t have told you that. Then with the last phone call the woman said, no it doesn’t happen like that, it takes another two weeks. She was so rude I just hung up and collapsed on the floor. Tears were running down my face. I actually said out loud the word suicide to my flatmate, to my family and to complete strangers. I hit rock bottom around July 10-12.”

About a week later, Mark was told that he would get ESA, and that it would be backdated from the end of May…

You can read the rest of this account – and there is much more – on Ann’s own site but here’s a question for you to consider right now: Having read Mr Bothwell’s account of his treatment as part of routine DWP work, do you think the UK has slid from being an international disability rights leader to risking becoming a “systematic violator of these same rights”?

It is described as such in a new report, Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the Rights of Disabled People in the Austerity Era, published by the Just Fair consortium, which includes Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London.

Your views are requested.

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  1. Andrew Peacock August 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    the latter

  2. kittysjones August 19, 2014 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    The key author of the report – Dignity and Opportunity for All: Securing the Rights of Disabled People in the Austerity Era – for the Just Fair consortium was Jane Young

  3. Mr.Angry August 20, 2014 at 6:19 am - Reply

    It’s as clear as the nose on your face, we known amongst the elite are classed as “stock” or the “herd” that need feeding and housing. Due to the lack of decent jobs can no longer support ourselves in a sustainable manner and have no choice but to rely on the safety net which many have paid into over many years of work.

    This coalition has undoubtedly done everything they can to underhandedly reduce the “stock” as we are no longer contributing with our taxes and seen as scroungers.

    Having watched the video from the UN feel there is not a great deal they can do apart from make recommendations to the UK government the UN is somewhat a toothless tiger without powers of enforcement.

    Seeing the response with Rolnick I think she is called she was just laughed at by this shower and labelled her via the media as the Brazil nut, so I won’t hold my breath.

    I answer to your question, yes without doubt people rights have been violated on a scale that’s never been seen before.

  4. Steve grant August 20, 2014 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Just remember most disabled people are VOTERS and if you want all this abuse to stop you know what to do….your votes will defeat politicians who use disabled people as figures of hate.Its time to fight back.

  5. jaynel62 August 20, 2014 at 6:56 am - Reply
    • Mike Sivier August 20, 2014 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Thank you very much!

  6. Maria August 20, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    don’t let them get to you, oh I hope you have someone who will help you I had years of that kind of thing, 2 years this past few months I given up on them, luckily I have my family. Please I hope you have someone. But don’t let them upset you because they are nothing, and you are someone.

  7. foodbankhelper August 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Really appreciate you featuring Mark’s experiences here Mike and also glad of your support for my writing generally., Thanks to Jayne and Kitty for the extra details on Jane Young’s report. It’s positive that this issue is at least on the radar of the UN committee. Let’s see what emerges.

  8. Lynne Ismail August 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Yes, I agree that disabled and sick people’s rights have systematically been undermined. Most people know someone who has suffered under this draconian regime. Which will subsequently undermine this shower who govern us and fly in the face of their ceaseless negative propaganda re the disenfranchised.

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