Hunger striker hoped to highlight the faults of Universal Credit and PIP

Hunger striker: Angus Silverstone went without food for 47 days because the DWP wouldn’t pay him Universal Credit and PIP.

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.

Source: ‘I went on hunger strike for 47 days because of Universal Credit’ – Leicestershire Live

10 thoughts on “Hunger striker hoped to highlight the faults of Universal Credit and PIP

  1. Dan

    What’s the betting that Mr Silverstone’s new ground floor flat is tucked away somewhere out of the way, where nobody will see any signs he may place in his window in the future? Time the DWP was abolished, and all its current staff barred from working in whatever organisation replaces it…

  2. Mohammad Naeem Abbas

    I have 6 different illness. One of the illness is severe arthritis of my feet, legs and other joints. Each step I take is a painful one. Yet I was denied PIP and given zero points on mobility, and 4 points on others. Going through this whole procedure with DWP as well as suffering from anxiety and depression for which I am on medication has left me understanding why people choose suicide.

  3. kateuk
    Here’s another one where the lady had her PIP taken away, and reinstated after the story got into the newspapers, “We have reviewed this case and, with further information from Ms Wyatt, have reinstated her entitlement to PIP” Using the same old excuse of “further information”. I’m guessing that the “further information” is the fact that it got into the newspapers…

  4. eatonheli 13

    Dan, I do make a plea on behalf of sincere staff in the DWP and related departments, many of whom are active trade unionists in their respective organisations and deplore the background and environment in which they are expected to work. They are doing their best within the confines of their jobs and as the Job Centre character in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ attempted to help him with using a computer to make a claim, and was herself then taken to task.

  5. Mark allinson

    The only way for people who has been denied pip and also found fit for work is don’t give up keep fighting the DWP and keep getting the doctor to sign you off the one thing the DWP hate the most is when a person fights back iam still fighting them and it’s coming up to nearly 5 years now

  6. Jay

    Mr boris and conservative want the country to be for the rich and live life like the olden days, devide and conquer the rich from the poor. And the poor and claimants to suffer to get into work and cover the gaps at all means of illnesses and disability hence the DWP been advised they will get big bonuses or fired if they don’t meet the targets suggested. So they are sanctioning using third party companies to carry out false assessments to affect claimants, who also get bonuses or fired for not reaching targets…. Conservative run the DWP behind the scenes, its ok for the poor and disabled to suffer in their eyes because they not lived the lifestyle. Proof DWP head, get 1million plus bonus this week headlines, achievement???

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Conservatives don’t run the DWP behind the scenes; we all know they run the DWP because it is a government department and the Tories are the current government.


    I myself have been I’ll for years due to mental health issues. Anxiety and depression. I have type 2 diabetes and have had heart attack and been given stent surgery. I also suffer with insomnia and have had this symptom since my heart attack. Before all of this I had pulmonary embolism and pneumonia and had a good stay in hospital in my own town of stockport. I do get help with employment and support allowance. But I applied for PIP last year and scored 0 points and I take 13 different medications a day and after they refused me PIP . they then stopped my ESA knowing I had just recently had a heart attack. The DWP are very unfair with the way they treat honest I’ll people and to be fair they don’t care. I have tried 3 times for PIP and always scored 0. UNFAIR AND UNJUST GOVERNMENT

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