Thanks to Samuel Miller for flagging up this one.
Luke Alexander Loy was not one of George Osborne’s “hard-working people”. The 42-year-old had schizophrenia and was unable to work (or “do the right thing”, as David Cameron now ominously terms being employed . But Luke’s story – his life – is one worth talking about.
Luke lived with his mother in their two-bed council house in Birmingham and had built a stable rhythm: carving wood sculptures as art therapy in their front room, going for walks five times a day, and shopping for his elderly neighbours.
But when his mother died of cancer, Luke found his housing benefit cut: the bedroom tax meant that from 2013 his late mother’s bedroom was classed as “spare”. A year later, another piece of support was pulled from him: Luke had been receiving incapacity benefit for over 20 years, but after a work capability assessment (WCA) in late 2014, he was declared “fit for work”.
What came next for Luke is a now familiar spiral: pushed off sickness benefits and unable to cope with the requirements of the jobcentre, he had his jobseeker’s allowance taken away. His housing benefit and council tax support were also cut. His debts started to mount and he began to struggle to feed himself. Three months later – on 29 May 2015 – when Luke failed to respond to his family’s calls, police officers broke into his house and found him dead on his bedroom floor. An inquest returned an open verdict.
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