What? You think Errol Graham only died because he was ill? Your Conservative government is multiply-prejudiced and can ensure that people die for any number of trumped-up and ridiculous reasons.
Murdered by the State. Little news coverage. No public interest. No outrage, protests or riots. Some Black Lives Matter more than others.https://t.co/saBVSJ3xg5
— Michael Marshall (@michael53021960) June 3, 2020
Errol Graham was starved to death by a prejudiced Conservative-run benefit system.
My report on Mr Graham states:
He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.
The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.
He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though. Why not?
The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.
Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.
So the Tories cut off his benefits early, after a botched benefit reassessment procedure.
Here’s the clincher:
On an ESA form years before, he had told the DWP he could not cope with “unexpected changes”, adding: “Upsets my life completely. Feel under threat and upset…”
He said: “Cannot deal with social situations. Keep myself to myself. Do not engage with strangers. Have no social life. Feel anxiety and panic in new situations.”
The DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.
In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.
It was known that Mr Graham’s condition made him fear contact with people he did not know – like benefit assessors who turned up on his doorstep unannounced. But they still did it. And they still demanded that he attend a work capability assessment in a place full of people he did not know, without even having sent him a benefit claim form first.
They treated him unfairly. Isn’t that the whole point of the Black Lives Matter movement – that people of colour are treated unfairly?
As a result, he starved to death.
And the only reason we know this is his Housing Benefit was cut off at the same time as ESA, so he stopped paying rent. His body was found by bailiffs entering the house to repossess it.
The Tory-run Department for Work and Pensions would never have checked up on his well-being.
We already knew this. When I submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out how many people had died after the Tory government had cancelled their sickness benefit claims, the Department for Work and Pensions said it was unable to provide information for anyone whose claims had been cancelled more than two weeks before their deaths. It is government policy to leave these people to fend for themselves with no support at all.
Of course, leaving someone to starve to death in their home is not as dramatic as beating them to death on the street (or asphyxiating them, in the case of George Floyd).
But it is still prejudicial treatment.
So, what is the current outcry saying, if it does not include sick/disabled people like Errol Graham in its outrage?
Is it really saying some black lives matter more than others?
Let’s change that.
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