A Leicestershire man went on hunger strike for nearly seven weeks to highlight problems with Universal Credit.
Angus Silverstone, 58, spent 47 days without food in an attempt to show that people are dying because of the way benefit assessments are carried out and decided.
A former teacher, Mr Silverstone has mobility issues due to problems with his heart, lungs and limbs.
But his Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment applications had been denied and he had been allocated a second-floor flat that he struggled to reach, as it involved climbing two flights of stairs.
He took on fluids but no food during his hunger strike, which ended this week. Knowing the way the Department for Work and Pensions behaves, This Writer thinks he is lucky to be alive himself.
As he said (see the source article), the government is not listening and not acting.
If a Universal Credit claimant decides to starve himself to death, that will create what the DWP describes as a “positive benefit outcome” – because it won’t have to pay him any more.
Think about Errol Graham, who really did starve to death after his Employment and Support Allowance was cut off for no good reason.
In this case, though, the DWP saw fit to think again. I would suggest this was to put a stop to the bad publicity the hunger strike was generating.
He was living opposite a supermarket and had put a large sign in a window, reading: “UC/PIP HUNGER STRIKE”.
Mr Silverstone gave up his strike after the DWP relented, reconsidered his benefit applications, and he was provided a ground-floor flat.
The DWP is still saying it made no error in his benefit assessment. So why has it paid him £4,400 in arrears?
Because it “received further information”. That old chestnut.
But Mr Silverstone’s strike has succeeded; he showed us all how to beat the DWP when it cuts off benefits for no reason.
Publicity. The government is trying to make us think Universal Credit is a good thing. It can’t abide it when the public sees proof that this is a lie.