Benefit delays have forced more people to steal in order to feed their families

Stories of benefit claimants being forced to steal to feed their families are starting to come in thick and fast – just as This Site predicted long ago.

And what’s to blame? Of course – Universal Credit.

In this instance, it seems Shane Norman and Stacey Lawson used their child’s push chair to conceal £21 worth of food they took from Iceland in Lincoln.

They had been pushed onto Universal Credit recently and – inevitably – their first payment had been delayed (in order to push them deep into poverty, surely, although the Tory government always denies this).

The couple had used up all the visits to the food bank that they were allowed and believed they had no alternative.

According to Lincolnshire Live, Mark McNeil spoke for the couple in court. He said: “The couple were caught in a benefits gap as it was changing over to universal credit.

“They were left for weeks without any income. This was an act of desperation.

“Had the benefits been paid on time as they should be, they would have not found themselves in this situation.”

His words are clear. The Conservative government drove this couple to crime by its own improper behaviour. It pushed them to desperation – as it has pushed many others and will push many more.

8 thoughts on “Benefit delays have forced more people to steal in order to feed their families

  1. SteveH

    You forgot to point out that the magistrates obviously believed their mitigation.

    “Norman was given a conditional discharge of nine months, ordered to pay compensation of £11 and a victim surcharge of £20.

    Lawson was also given a conditional discharge of nine months, ordered to pay £30 compensation and a £20 victim surcharge.”

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m confused because this was about the couple being forced to steal, not about the sentence they were given.

      2. SteveH

        I thought that the minimal sentence imposed by the magistrates added weight to your argument.
        The ‘State’ is basically split into two branches – The Executive (Tory Government) and the Judiciary (the magistrates in this case). In this situation we have the Executive putting this couple into a position where they had to steal to survive and we have the Judiciary having to deal with the results of the Executive’s maleficence but recognising that the couple had been put in an impossible position by the Executive arm of the State (the DWP) the magistrates imposed the absolute minimum sentence they could.

        Basically you have one arm of the state acknowledging and having to try and mitigate the impact of the problems caused by DWP policy.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The issue is the fact that they were forced into crime to prevent state-sponsored starvation.

  2. Pat Sheehan

    It will be interesting to see how ‘the courts’ deal with these cases: offenders forced to steal food to feed themselves and their families. Heavy fines perhaps! Imprisonment for repeat offences! Or additional bonus vouchers for the ‘food bank’! We have seen cases recently where those on ‘the brink’ chose to end it ALL rather than carry on the hopeless struggle and be faced with ever more difficult decisions to support their own lives. What kind of ‘system’ is it that we meekly seem to accept that prefers to press charges and invest so much time and money in prosecuting starving people in preference to simply increasing their entitlement to additional ‘food vouchers’ to access ‘donated’ food. Just a few hundred years ago one might be ‘transported for life’ or ‘hanged by the neck until dead’ for stealing a loaf of bread and there are plenty of individuals around now, even in high office, who yearn for a return to those ‘good old days’ of deference and ‘social order’: cheered no end, no doubt, to see the clock start ticking slowly but surely backwards!

  3. Michael McNulty

    Another problem with Universal Credit is the risk of rent arrears and homelessness. Typical Tories welcome socialism when ordinary people feed the hungry, which not only do they welcome they like the photo opp; but people can’t house the homeless so UC homelessness is avoided by the mainstream. Those photos don’t look so good.

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