The Department for Work and Pensions would hate the world to know about this, so here it is.
You can bet that new prime minister Boris Johnson couldn’t care less.
A Universal Credit claimant has been left begging for food and having to rummage through bins to feed himself after a blunder by benefit officials left him with just £16 a month to live on.
David George Strong, 54, has been left unable to work due to Epilepsy and is now having to repay a Housing Benefit overpayment debt out of his monthly Universal Credit payments, even though the error was not of his causing.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Have you seen the young woman in the picture above?
She was last seen in Deepdene Gardens, just off Brixton Hill in London – sleeping in a wheelie bin. If she had not been spotted, she may have been scooped up by a refuse collection truck and crushed to death.
This is the risk run by rough-sleeping homeless people if they sleep in these bins – although they may not know it.
I refer you to a story on This Site from December 2014 – four years ago:
“‘One of our clients was sanctioned. He had no money for seventeen weeks. He was scavenging in a bin, the lorry came, picked him up and he was crushed to death.’
“A decision by a UK government employee, following guidelines set down by UK government ministers, led to a man being crushed to death in a refuse collection lorry.
“This was one of many incidents that would not have happened if UK government policy had been different.
“The UK government clearly couldn’t care less.”
The young woman who was found in the wheelie bin might have suffered the same fate as the man in that previous story (and others – he wasn’t the only person to die in that manner), if she had not been found and recorded by a refuse collector, as the following clip, placed on Twitter by Chris Furlong, shows:
Wasn't for the observant refuse collector, this young girl would've been another statistic in the hundreds of homeless people who have died this year. How long are people going to accept a @Conservatives government whose policies are the reason for people like her living in bins? pic.twitter.com/Nszi4P4knk
The clip was subsequently retweeted by @UnityNewsUK, whose author stated: “This girl was last seen sleeping in a bin in Deepdene just off Brixton hill in London. Please can we identify her and get her some help before it’s too late. Nobody should have to live like this.”
Predictably, the clip attracted criticism from some quarters – but it is welcome that the critic was satisfied with the response:
The bin men bought her a hot meal and a cuppa, then they sent this film, I’d say that’s helping…
The fact that a person was discovered risking her life in this way has drawn horrified responses on the social media, along with vilification of the Conservative government who put her there with its cruel policies and indifference to the hardship they created.
@kandisholland18 tweeted: “THIS IS THE UK. This is what @theresa_may is ignoring this is what IS SEEN AS A NORMAL THING TO DO! Young and old left in the cold with nowhere to turn. They just want us poor to curl up and be lost forever. The uk government are evil and do not care about us #GetTheToriesOut”
@nickylabour4eva added: “The Tories are destroying everything good and decent about British society. It’s about more than Brexit isn’t it?”
@DebsaDelight commented: “She was so resigned to her fate. What a monstrous time we live in.”
This was from @pincushion: “Heart breaking – thanks to everyone who are trying to help her. I hate this bloody government.”
For Sarah Harten (@LOVELFCTODEATH), this was the main issue: “So sad. And all these overpaid industries out there. People with more money then they know what to do with. Was the human race really put here to sleep in bins streets and doorways?”
And Pamela McIntosh made this appeal: “How can this be happening in our country? This is someone’s daughter. Please help.”
One person who wants to help all homeless people is Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. In the week when Housing Secretary James Brokenshire tried to say homelessness was nothing to do with Conservative government policies, Mr Corbyn released the following clip:
And in response to a BBC appeal for suggested ways to end homelessness, Labour-supporting Twitter account Tory Fibs sent the following:
•Scrap Bedroom Tax •Scrap Benefit Cap •Regulate Private Rents •End Right to Buy •End Poor Doors •Scrap Vagrancy Act •Outlaw Homeless Spikes •End confiscation of sleeping bags •Build Council Homes •Tax Land-bankers •State Backed Mortgages •Ban MPs from being Landlords
But these changes can only happen when a Labour government, led by Mr Corbyn, is elected.
For now, people like the young woman in this story are endangering themselves by sleeping in refuse collection bins.
If you have seen this woman – or if you see her after reading this – there are many charitable organisations offering help for homeless people; please ask one to make contact with her. You’ll be helping save a young life.
The story was about a man who had been sanctioned off of his benefit and had to survive without any money for 17 weeks. He was reduced to scavenging in bins for leftovers or out-of-date food, and it was while he was doing this that a rubbish-compacting lorry arrived, picked him up and crushed him to death.
Here’s the response from one Nicholas Blanch on Google+: “I’m going to ask you why he was sanctioned in the first place, because if it was for something he had no control over then that was Wrong with a capital W, worth wholeheartedly condemning, and the government should bear the full weight of responsibility for the end of this man’s life and the corresponding loss to all of us of whatever this man might have contributed directly or indirectly to our lives.
“If, however, the sanction came about through that man’s actions or lack thereof then the responsibility for his situation and its deadly consequence lies with him.”
Take a moment to let that sink in.
In effect, this person conferred the death sentence on any benefit recipient who has been sanctioned by Job Centre Plus according to current DWP rules. Anything that happens to them as a result – including death – is their fault, in his opinion.
Hopefully the sceptics who refused to believe the Chequebook Euthanasia article – because they couldn’t accept that people think in such ways – are hastily reconsidering their position.
What he’s saying is so appalling that he deserves to be named and shamed on this blog.
Mr Blanch continues: “To draw an analogy, if a person gets into a car crash and dies, you want to know the cause of the accident before you assign the blame over the death. You don’t just assume that the problem was the speed limit and demand that it be lowered to make the road safer.”
Okay, let’s look at some real sanctions that have been applied by Job Centre Plus staff – these are from a Vox Political article but there are many more listed on the web.
“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.” Does that justify a man’s death?
“You have a job interview which overruns so you arrive at your job centre appointment nine minutes late. You get sanctioned for a month.” Would this have you reaching for the black cap and calling the executioner?
“Your job centre advisor suggests a job. When you go online to apply it says the job has ‘expired’ so you don’t apply. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks.” The death sentence?
“You are on a workfare placement and your job centre appointment comes round. The job centre tells you to sign on then go to your placement – which you do. The placement reports you for being late and you get sanctioned for three months.” And if you die, is that fine?
You apply for all the jobs you can physically attend, but the Job Centre says you should have applied for those that are impossible to get to and from. Should you die for that omission? Alternatively, should you die for failing to attend any job interviews at the locations it is impossible for you to physically attend?
Mr Blanch gets worse: “Also, if any party wants to influence my vote away from the Coalition [note: he supports the Coalition Government, made up of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties] on the strength of this issue, then I want to know what their alternative plans are to ensure that my tax money goes only to people that are on benefits because that’s where they have to be rather than where they choose to be.”
“As poor as this policy is, and as grim as the side-effects are, at least this Coalition Government took steps to try to make sure that all of my tax money goes to that majority of people that are in honest need so that there was a chance that the welfare budget might have been enough for them to have a shot at something approaching decency and dignity in their quality of life rather than forcing them to make the choice to eat or to heat due to the fact that some of my money is wasted on those fortunately few but sadly still-present people who have decided that working the system is preferable to working a job.”
This convoluted and confused sentence takes a bit of unravelling.
Firstly: “This Coalition Government took steps to try to make sure that all of my tax money goes to that majority of people that are in honest need.” No it did not. If you’re talking about all of your tax money, what about the huge amount that goes to the City of London – £103.4 billion a year, despite the fact that there is no need for any subsidy at all? What about the millions that go to work capability assessors and work programme companies, despite the fact that they make no material contribution to a claimant’s needs (work capability assessments may be carried out just as efficiently by a claimant’s doctors, and it has been calculated that claimants are statistically more likely to get a job if they do not take part in the work programme than if they do).
“The welfare budget might have been enough for them to have a shot at something approaching decency and dignity in their quality of life.” No, it would not. The Coalition Government’s benefits squeeze is nothing to do with the number of claimants; it is about ensuring that the unemployed cannot enjoy a decent, dignified quality of life. The aim is to make them desperate for any job, in order to keep wages down. Employers can argue that they don’t need to give anyone a raise because “there are hundreds more out there who’ll do this job for less than you”.
“Some of my money is wasted on those fortunately few but sadly still-present people who have decided that working the system is preferable to working a job.” Such people comprise roughly 0.7 per cent of benefit claimants – a figure that has not changed since before the Coalition Government came into office, no matter what measures Iain Duncan Smith has forced on them. It is such a small proportion of the claimant population that any action by the Coalition Government to tackle it is hugely disproportionate to the threat it represents – initiatives to stop the fraud are more harmful than the fraud itself.
All of this information is freely available to anybody with a modicum of curiosity – you only have to go and look.
That is why Nicholas Blanch’s comment is not only shocking and outrageous; it is also disgracefully ignorant.
So no, Mr Blanch, there is no point in seeking to influence your vote away from the Coalition parties.
With attitudes like yours, nobody else would want it.
The inquiry’s aims included investigating the underlying causes of hunger and food poverty in the UK, and considering ways of improving the situation.
The report’s central recommendation is for the creation of a new national network called Feeding Britain, composed of the food bank movement and other providers of food assistance, the voluntary organisations redistributing fresh surplus food, the food industry and representatives from ‘each of the eight government departments whose policy affects the numbers of people at risk of hunger’.
That’s all very well, but something isn’t right here.
What about the fact that a major cause of hunger and food poverty in the UK is the UK’s own government?
What about the fact that a decision by a UK government employee, following guidelines set down by UK government ministers, led to a man being crushed to death in a refuse collection lorry?
What about the fact that this was one of many incidents that would not have happened if UK government policy had been different?*
And what about the fact that the UK government clearly couldn’t care less?
Thanks are due to Ann McGauran, the blogging food bank helper, for raising this issue. Her own article on the Feeding Britain report goes into far greater detail and may be found here.
Who said it could never happen here? Children are starving on the streets of Britain as the Tory-led Coalition’s hate policies bite ever-more-deeply into the poor [Image: Stoke Sentinel].
British children are sifting through bins left outside houses in search of scraps of food because they are starving, it has been revealed.
But Tories and their supporters in rich London won’t have to look at them – because they are in Labour-held Stoke-on-Trent.
The Stoke Sentinel reported that “Youngsters have been searching through bins in the Hollings Street and Brocksford Street area of Fenton before eating any leftovers.”
It said, “Dozens of hungry families are referred to Fenton’s food bank for help every week.”
What’s really sad about this story is that some of the people interviewed seemed to think the problem was with the mess left behind by these children – youngsters who are, remember, so hungry that they are rooting through rubbish for stale leftovers.
One said: “It’s horrible to see… Some days on the school run we have had to actually cross over the road because there’s so much rubbish on the pavement because of this. Luckily I keep my bins to one side so we haven’t been too badly affected.”
Clearly she is full of the milk of human kindness. According to the newspaper, that person was just 26 years old. Perhaps she should consider growing up.
Police in the area said the matter had been reported to them. What did people think they were going to do – arrest starving children?
Fortunately, Sgt Jason Allport demonstrated that police have the right attitude: “The issue isn’t theft; it’s children going around not having enough clothing and food.
“That issue is really something for social services to look at.”
In fact, it is something for every single citizen of the United Kingdom to look at.
This is the sixth-richest economy in the entire world. It is a land of plenty. Yet people here are happy to allow their neighbours to starve – probably to the point of death.
Their only concern is that they shouldn’t have to see it.
If I was living in Stoke, I would be ashamed to share the streets with people who think like that.
If I had voted for the political parties that have inflicted this misery on our nation, I would be ashamed of what I had done.
But you can be sure that David Cameron isn’t ashamed.
Public interest, not party interest: Thanks to Jim Moore for this cartoon. I’ve been waiting for a good moment to release it. Notice Iain Duncan Smith’s face looks like it’s behind bars – which is where many people believe he ought to be!
“The DWP has quietly decided to ditch statistics it used to collect on the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity benefits (now ESA) and its predecessors Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA),” according to Liberal Conspiracy.
The story, by Sunny Hundal, claims: “It is thought the numbers of deaths has sharply increased since the Coalition government’s severe cuts to social security benefits.
“But to ensure that deaths aren’t cited as evidence of failure of the changes, the DWP won’t be collecting and updating its statistics.”
No supporting information is provided and nobody from the Department for Work and Pensions is quoted. Does this change the chances of success for my Freedom of Information request, in which I asked for statistics in ESA/IB claimants who have died?
No. Not at all.
I requested statistics for 2012, which we all know already that the DWP has collected. They are there; they should be available.
The fact that they aren’t open for inspection is already incriminating, if you ask me!
My FoI request will be granted in the near future – even if the DWP finds another reason for refusal, the Information Commissioner’s office will overrule it. I’ve been through the rules. In this instance, it is Iain Duncan Smith who doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
If the DWP then claims that it has destroyed the figures – as seems to be claimed by the Liberal Conspiracy story – then we’ll be looking at a criminal investigation, I think.
There can only be one reason for hiding the figures – they must have risen and have not dropped. For the DWP to actually delete them, rather than allow them to be released, they must have risen sharply.
This would not only indicate the failure of Iain Duncan Smith’s policy – after everything he and his ministers have said, time and time again, about the fairness of the assessment regime, and how it is carried out in a humane way, this would prove that it is neither fair nor humane – and that, given the opportunity to stop the deaths from accelerating, these Conservative politicians allowed them to continue.
If a person knows that their actions are causing people to die, and does nothing about it, then an observer may rightly conclude that this person wants those deaths to take place. There’s a word for people who cause others to die – with the intention of causing them to die.
That word is “murderer”.
Or in this case, “mass murderer”.
The net is closing, Iain Duncan Smith.
Nobody will think it is a coincidence, if the DWP really has binned its statistics on claimant deaths at a time when public interest is focused on the issue.
And to any DWP interlopers, reading this site because it is on a ‘watch list’: This is a very dangerous time to be working for that organisation. People who help others to commit murder are accessories to the crime and may also be convicted for the offence.
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