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Hazel MacRae from Walker, who has been told she is fit to work despite being blind, epileptic and suffering from osteoarthritis [Image: Newcastle Chronicle].

The Tories are going to have to find a new narrative, as it seems the “workshy” angle has stopped working.

Readers of at least one local newspaper reacted angrily to the Department for Work and Pensions’ decision to make a blind woman, who has diabetes, epilepsy and osteoarthritis, look for work.

This Site’s own Facebook page has received a few pertinent comments after I put the story up on Vox Political.

Susan Fairweather wrote: “In a decent society not only would this lady get all benefits she is entitled to but she would have extra funding to improve her quality of life – such as entitlement to a guide dog without having to rely on charity and waiting for years. What type of job could she do, realistically? These ‘assessors’ are criminals.”

Jackie Motti added: “ANOTHER unfair and tragically unnecessary case of abuse and discrimination which will make this poor lady’s health worse…. shameful (for normal people with hearts…. Tories don’t have them) bless everyone in this position and hopefully this bloody awful government will collapse very soon! The real SCROUNGERS are banks, landlords, tax avoiders and the like …. and the bloody MPS themselves!”

Here’s Kathleen Garrett: “Disgraceful and inhumane. The tories have manipulated the system and the people of Britain into believing it’s our poor and vulnerable that are to blame for austerity. They have distracted us from the real culprits. The rich and the downright greedy who don’t pay any taxes into our system but take from it. Shame on us.”

Simon Balfre wrote: “The Conservative Party and the media have created this insane idea that welfare recipients are a drain on the economy.

“Do welfare recipients hold onto their money and keep it out of circulation? Of course they don’t, they can’t afford to. Every penny of the pittance they receive goes back out again.

“It’s the obscenely wealthy who siphon off millions into off shore tax havens, and find all manner of ways to avoid paying tax, who are the real drain on the economy.

“And I’m not the only one who has figured this out.”

He’s not – This Writer has been saying it on This Site for a considerable period of time!

But Tracey Kay warned: “There are still too many people who think benefits are a lifestyle choice. Who would like to be targeted incessantly for the crime of having a disability or illness? It can happen to any of us at any time and the way the tories are ‘reforming’ the system there will soon be no safety net left for any of us.”

A decision to deem a blind, house-bound 62-year-old ‘fit for work’ has been branded “absolutely shameful” by Chronicle readers.

Hazel Macrae, who also suffers from epilepsy, Type 2 Diabetes and osteoarthritis, was claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – until she was told she has “limited capacity for work”.

Her benefits were slashed by £15 and she was told she would be trained to find a job – even though she can’t leave the house by herself and isn’t able to make a cup of tea.

Brian Lewis said: “I’m all for disabled people making the best of a poor situation but the DWP need to get a grip and use some common sense here, what realistically can Hazel do for a sustainable job?”

Sandra Weaver said: “Absolutely shameful. As if the poor woman hasn’t got enough to worry about. Who are these people making these decisions? It’s disgusting.”

Sheilagh Barlow said: “Where is the DWP’s accountability? They cause so many people great distress that it’s totally unacceptable.

“The staff aren’t trained, they only train them to use a computer so when they don’t put in the correct information they get the wrong answer out!”

Many laid the blame firmly at the feet of the current Conservative government.

Daniel Gallagher said: “Look how people are targeting the “lazy work shy” instead of looking at the multi national corporations that don’t pay tax or the banks that got us into this mess in the first place.”

He added: “The Tories want us to blame each other but in actual fact the blame lies firmly at their feet.”

And some spoke of their own struggles appealing against similar decisions.

Natasha Barrett said: “The assessment process is a complete joke. The appeals process is very long and drawn out.

“I hope this lady doesn’t have to wait a year as I did. It also hurts to think that people don’t believe you when there is medical evidence from highly qualified consultants etc to back it up. Very, very sad to read.”

In spite of everything, the DWP still managed to be defiant in the service of its Tory masters. This is staggering ignorance:

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said many blind people and those over 60 can be supported back into work with training.

Source: ‘Absolutely shameful’: Readers react as blind, housebound 62-year-old deemed ‘fit for work’ – Chronicle Live

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