Tag Archives: starve

Just desserts as MP who wants to starve children in holidays receives graffiti critique

What did George “Useless” Eustice expect?

After the Tory Environment Secretary defended his government’s determination to starve poverty-stricken children during the school holidays – including Christmas – people in his Cornwall constituency have retaliated with a “Banksy”-style graffiti criticism.

The text reads:

“Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
“Starved the kids and made them cry.
“#endchildfoodpoverty”

The artist even painted it onto a board that was then discovered attached to the front door of his constituency office:

Tories like Eustice thought members of the public have short memories and would forget that the decision to starve children at Christmas had been made by them.

Responses like this make the point clear:

They thought wrong.

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As Johnson plans a new national lockdown, Universal Basic Income is back on the agenda

Money: Three million people went without because Rishi Sunak refused to try a Universal Basic Income pilot scheme in May. More than a milliion children will go hungry over Christmas because Sunak wants them to starve; will he force starvation onto millions of adults as well?

Rishi Sunak is facing renewed demands to pilot a Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme in the UK, after it was revealed his boss Boris Johnson is considering another national lockdown to try to halt the march of Covid-19 across the UK.

Johnson – and Sunak – rejected those demands back in April, and millions of people fell through the gaping holes in their support packages for people who were financially disadvantaged by the lockdown.

The Financial Times reported that more than three million people went hungry back then – as This Site pointed out in this article.

Meanwhile, Spain launched its own version of UBI in July, amid much discussion in the UK media. Those right-wing sources have been very quiet about it ever since, which suggests that it has been a success and they don’t want you to know.

The letter from the Cross-Party Parliamentary and Local Government Working Group on UBI has been signed by 520 elected representatives.

It says: “Millions of people have fallen through the cracks of the government’s support packages.

“The pandemic has left countless families facing poverty and extreme hardship.

“Many civil society leaders believe that Universal Credit, which has itself been linked to high mortality rates, is ill-equipped to support people through the financial insecurity arising from the recession we are about to enter.

“Economic shocks from financial, social and environmental crises are likely to continue for decades to come.

“Now is the time to act.

“The creation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) – a regular and unconditional cash payment to every individual in the UK – could be the solution.

“A UBI would build resilience into our society and our communities, while providing the stimulus we need to rebuild our economy.”

I like this bit, which uses the Tories’ own slogans to make its point [I’ve bolded them up for clarity]: “It would level up towns and cities across the UK, allowing us to build back better.”

“With unemployment set to increase amid a shrinking job market, we urge you not to underestimate the wider costs to society of rising poverty and joblessness. These include the ripple effect of increased mental and physical health expenditure, as well as higher policing costs exacerbated by poverty. These will far exceed the costs of putting in place a Universal Basic Income.”

Back in April, the Tory excuse for avoiding UBI was that it discourages people from seeking work, but This Site revealed at the time that this is nonsense; it means people don’t have to take jobs for employers who undervalue the work they do.

Perhaps the Tories are more concerned that, having squeezed the economy so hard over the last 10 years in order to take money from working people and give it to their exploiters employers, there may not be enough to pay those who are willing to work the amount they demand, if others take the option of subsisting on the absolute minimum instead.

That’s their quandary; they have made it for themselves.

Sunak and Johnson have already caused a public relations disaster for their government and the Conservative Party by demanding that poor children be forced into starvation over the Christmas school holidays.

The choice before them now is between starving huge numbers of the population at large and causing a slight financial inconvenience to employers who happen to be Tory doners.

I don’t think they’ll make the right decision. Do you?

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Conservatives complain about #ToryScum label – but refuse to apologise for behaviour that fits it

Priti scummy: home secretary Priti Patel tweeted abuse against “do gooder” “activist lawyers” that allegedly led to a knife attack in one such solicitors office but none of the Tories complaining about being called “scum” have lifted their voice to complain about this scummy behaviour.

Cognitive dissonance: it seems 113 Conservative MPs have written to Labour leader Keir Starmer, complaining that they, their families and staff have been abused by members of the public after Angela Rayner referred to Christopher Clarkson as “scum” in a Commons debate.

Ms Rayner has already apologised for the “language” she used “in a heated debate”.

The letter, written by Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling, states: “I am sure that you agree that whilst targeting MPs in this way is clearly unacceptable, it is even worse that their relatives and staff members (many of whom are young and beginning their careers) should find themselves becoming targets.”

That depends on the circumstances in which those people attracted such comments, doesn’t it? As my late grandmother said to some other mother complaining on her doorstep about some transgression of my father (a boy at the time): “Ah. And what did THY boy do?”

“Sadly, this is not the first occasion in which the Honourable Member for Ashton-under-Lyne has used such language to describe Conservatives, nor the first time she has behaved with the standards expected of a Member of Parliament.”

I suspect this is a Freudian slip. It is a welcome surprise that the co-chair of the Conservatives accepts that calling her fellow MPs “scum” conforms with the standards expected of an MP.

“When you became Leader, you stated that you would put aside the divisive and combative politics that caused such bitter division in our nation, engaging ‘constructively’, not scoring party political points. We do not believe that this language, Labour’s recent actions in the House of the stream of the abuse this incident has resulted in, delivers on this promise.”

Hypocrisy. Every week the Conservative leader – I believe his name may be Boris Johnson – tries to score party political points against Labour during Prime Minister’s Questions. Starmer’s promise was an attempt to lift that Parliamentary debate above that and Johnson’s behaviour shows that it has failed. So there is no point in continuing. The Conservatives have set the bar low and they should not complain if Labour supporters follow their example.

Worse still, these Tories seem to be suffering from selective memory loss.

Have they all forgotten the Twitter outburst by their own Home Secretary, Priti Patel, against “do-gooder” “activist lawyers” that led to an actual knife attack in one such lawyer’s office?

Where was their indignation against Patel, who brought their whole organisation into disrepute by inciting violent attack against immigration lawyers?

Nowhere to be seen.

And Patel has been at it again.

This time, she tweeted information that could prejudice a major criminal trial. She has deleted it, fearing criminal action against her for contempt of court.

You should note that she is already facing possible prosecution for contempt of court over a previous case.

I won’t be sharing the tweet because

I await contact from Ms Patel’s own lawyers, who may actually try to revise history by claiming that she didn’t do it. That is the level of denial we are seeing from Conservatives at the moment.

It is certainly the level of denial we are seeing from Milling and the 112 colleagues who signed her letter to Keir Starmer.

You see, they are all forgetting – or denying – one simple fact that explains (if not justifies) the abuse they have received.

I haven’t checked, but I think it is reasonable to believe that all 113 signatories voted to deny free school meals to poverty-stricken English children in a debate last week (not the debate in which the “scum” remark was made but one immediately thereafter). Feel free to do some checking yourself, if you like.

I also think it is reasonable to believe that any abuse from the general public will arise from their choice to ensure that hungry children starve – over Christmas, as I understand it.

So it seems to me:

If they don’t want to be called scum, they should not behave like scum.

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Refugee woman found dead by malnourished baby after UK asylum system left her to starve

 

Would people be so keen to cross the channel to the UK in dinghies if they knew the Tory government is likely to leave them to starve?

It seems our asylum system’s problems are twofold: getting into the UK is one part and the other is the way people are treated once they are here.

Mercy Baguma, originally from Uganda, was discovered by police in a Glasgow flat on August 22, after friends said she had not been seen since the previous Tuesday.

Her malnourished baby boy was found next to her. He was rushed to hospital for treatment and is now with his father.

Ms Baguma, aged in her 30s, had lost her job after her leave to remain expired, meaning she was no longer allowed to work.

She had contacted the charity Positive Action in Housing after making an application for aid to MigrantHelp.

Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing said she would have been a high priority for a crisis payment – had she lived:

“The fact is there is no safety net if you’re a refugee or migrant. You are left destitute and without resources. And you’re left silenced by far right rhetoric for being forced to ask for help.

“Would this mother be alive if she was not forced out of her job by this cruel system that stops you from working and paying your way because a piece of paper says your leave to remain has expired? I’m sure Mercy’s son will want to ask this and other questions once he is old enough.”

Clearly there is more to this story. We don’t know why the government decided Ms Baguma should not have leave to remain in the UK any more or what was being done about it.

But the evidence we have is clear: she died, and her son nearly starved to death too, because our Tory asylum system said they should.

Source: Mum found dead beside malnourished baby in Glasgow flat – Glasgow Live

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Court showdown for DWP over Errol Graham – who starved to death after his benefits were axed

Errol Graham: he starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will have to answer questions in court about the legality of its safeguarding policies after a family challenged it over the death of a vulnerable man.

The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously.

Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death.

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.

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.

Not only that, but 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.

Because he had lost his entitlement to ESA, Mr Graham’s housing benefit was also stopped.

When bailiffs knocked down his front door to evict him on June 20, 2018, they found a dead body that weighed just four and a half stone. The only food in the flat was a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

Mr Graham was 57 years old.

Now, solicitors Leigh Day tell us:

“Mr Graham’s son’s partner, Alison Turner, has been granted permission to a full judicial review challenging the legality of the current safeguarding policies and the failure of the DWP to review and revise those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.

“Alison will argue that the safeguarding policies are unlawful as they create a significant risk of breaching the human rights of vulnerable individuals like Errol and she will seek a declaration that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, has unlawfully breached her legitimate expectation that a review would be carried out resulting in revised policies.

“Following the Court Order the DWP now has 35 days to serve her Detailed Grounds and Evidence defending the safeguarding policies and explaining why Ms Coffey has not reviewed and amended those policies as promised at Errol’s inquest.”

Yes, there was an inquest – at which the Assistant Coroner decided not to write a “Regulation 28” report demanding changes to DWP safeguarding procedures to “prevent future deaths” because the DWP claimed it was already completing a review of its safeguarding, which was supposed to finish last autumn.

No such review has ever seen the light of day.

The court has ordered that a two-day hearing be listed to consider the case.

Ms Turner said: “Errol had a long history of serious mental illness which left him severely incapacitated. When the circumstances of his death came to light we had hoped – and from what the DWP stated at the inquest, we had expected – that the department would review their safeguarding policies and involve us in that review.

“But, incredibly, that has not happened. We deserve answers and those answers need to be public for the sake of other families and other vulnerable benefits claimants who suffer similar mental health difficulties.

“No one else should be put at risk in the same way Errol was because adequate safeguarding measures are not in place.”

Ms Turner is represented by Tessa Gregory, who said: “Our client believes that the DWP’s current safeguarding policies are not fit for purpose as they expose vulnerable individuals to a significant risk of harm, as was so tragically illustrated by Errol’s death.

“The DWP committed at Errol’s inquest to reviewing the applicable policies but two years after his death and one year after the inquest, nothing has changed.

“Our client therefore feels she has been left with no option but to bring these proceedings to … force the Secretary of State to take steps to ensure that no other families have to suffer in the terrible way her family has.”

Source: Family Of Errol Graham Granted Permission For Judicial Review Against DWP

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Why aren’t Tory voters furious after their party u-turned on free school meals and all their other disastrous policies?

Tearing Britain apart: it’s what Conservative voters supported, so why aren’t they complaining about every policy alteration that prevents it?

This Twitter user makes a very good point:

Mr Maginn is absolutely right.

If you voted Conservative, you voted for a party that would starve your children in the school holidays. Why aren’t you demanding that they stick to their principles?

This got me thinking about all the other ways the Tories have let their voters down over the last few months.

For example, we know that the Tories dismantled all the systems that had been in place to combat a pandemic like Covid-19. Conservative voters supported that.

So, if you’re a Conservative voter, why aren’t you absolutely raging that your demand for the entire nation to be infected, in order to develop “herd immunity” has been rejected? Voting Tory means that’s what you wanted, no matter how many people it killed.

Why aren’t you furious about the lockdown that interfered unforgivably with your ability to make money for yourselves and your family and boost the economy? You voted Tory – that’s what you had a right to expect, even if it meant your entire family caught Covid-19 and died.

Why aren’t you frothing at the mouth about the fact that the Tories were shamed into casting around for PPE (personal protective equipment) for NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus in hospitals? You voted Tory and the Tories decided long ago that this equipment would not be necessary – and we know they have been quietly dismantling the NHS for the last decade; if doctors, nurses and support staff all caught Covid and died, that would achieve the aim very well.

If you voted Conservative, then you supported that party’s Brexit policy that has discouraged foreign workers from coming to the UK – so you must be seething at Tory attempts to entice them back to harvest this year’s fruit crop before it rots. You voted for that crop to rot in the fields! It is unconscionable that the Tories should go against your wishes in trying to save it.

Progressing from there, if you voted Conservative, then you support the underlying racism that supported the “hostile environment” policy, and the Windrush generation deportations. You must be raging against the Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK and the calls for statues glorifying slavers and racists to be taken down. Why aren’t you contacting your MP, demanding that charges against the Nazis who rampaged through London on Saturday be dropped on the grounds that they are only good British citizens acting in concord with the policies of the Conservative government and its racist leader Boris Johnson?

Need I go on?

Too often, voters confuse what the Conservatives have done with what they wanted to do.

If Boris Johnson’s government had done everything it wanted, then the United Kingdom would already have been decimated by plague and famine (caused by deliberate starvation as well as failure to bring in the crops) – with worse to follow.

It’s what Conservative voters wanted. Perhaps someone should point that out to them.

Try telling Errol Graham that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Oh you can’t – he’s dead

Errol Graham.

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.

Consider this:

Fair point?

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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Families are going hungry because of Conservatism, not the coronavirus

Tories harm children: the coronavirus is just the latest excuse they’re using.

Why should we be surprised? The Tories have a history of lying when they say we’re all in it together.

It seems our caring government has engineered the coronavirus crisis to ensure that the number of households with children going hungry has doubled since lockdown began.

Millions of people are struggling to afford basic food items as parents lose income and both the school meal voucher scheme and food banks are overwhelmed:

New data … has revealed that almost a fifth of households with children have been unable to access enough food in the past five weeks, with meals being skipped and children not getting enough to eat as already vulnerable families battle isolation and a loss of income.

The strain on larger families, single parent homes and those with disabled children has been immense. A reported 30 per cent of lone parents and 46 per cent of parents with a disabled child are facing food insecurity and finding it difficult to manage basic nutritional needs at home.

With schools no longer providing a reprieve for children reliant on free breakfast clubs and school lunches, poorer families are at crisis point.

A government scheme to give pupils food vouchers worth £15 a week until schools reopen has been beset with problems, with many parents unable to download the vouchers or redeem them in supermarkets.

According to the Food Foundation, of the 621,000 children who were accessing free breakfast clubs before the pandemic, only 136,000 are being provided with an alternative. However, 31% of children entitled to free school meals are still not getting any substitute, leaving more than 500,000 children going without.

Food banks have been overwhelmed with demand during the lockdown. Last Friday, the Trussell Trust reported an 81 per cent increase in people needing support from its food banks at the end of March compared with the same period last year.

Demand from children for food-bank services had also increased by 121 per cent. The Independent Food Network reported a similar surge, with a 59 per cent increase in demand for emergency food support between February and March.

This is not an accident. The Conservatives are deliberately using the pandemic to punish the most vulnerable in society yet again – and to bring those who had been more secure down to the same level.

It’s ironic. Many of these families are likely to have voted Conservative in December, thinking they were bringing stability and security to the country.

Instead their votes have doomed their families – and themselves.

No doubt they’ll convince themselves that starvation is the price they’re paying to be free of the virus.

But Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock look very well-fed to me.

There is no need for anybody in the UK to go hungry. There hasn’t been any reason for hunger here since the 1950s.

The coronavirus isn’t causing it.

The Conservatives are.

Source: Exclusive: almost a fifth of UK homes with children go hungry in lockdown | Society | The Guardian

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Family of man who starved to death after losing benefits launches lawsuit against DWP

Errol Graham.

Remember Errol Graham?

He’s the man who starved to death after the Department for Work and Pensions cut off his ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).

He had failed to attend a work capability assessment so the DWP cut him off without a penny. Assessors did not consider whether his mental health could have been the reason for his lack of response or whether termination of his benefits would put him at risk.

When his body was discovered – by bailiffs trying to take possession of his home after his Housing Benefit was cut off (as a direct result of him losing ESA) it weighed just 4.5 stone.

Now law firm Leigh Day has issued a legal claim against the DWP, on behalf of Mr Graham’s family.

I reproduce Leigh Day’s press release in full below:

The family of Errol Graham, who died after his benefits were stopped, have issued their legal claim against the government, challenging the DWP’s policy for terminating benefits.

The claim has now been issued in the High Court by law firm Leigh Day who represent Alison Turner, the partner of Mr Graham’s son. They now await a decision from the court on permission for the judicial review to proceed.
 
Errol died on 20 June 2018, aged 57. He was found in his flat having starved to death, weighing only four and a half stone. His Employment Support Allowance was stopped by the DWP on 10 October 2017 after he failed to attend a fitness to work assessment and as a result his Housing Benefit was also stopped. The DWP tried to contact Errol by phone and then visited his address but he did not respond. As a result the DWP, in accordance with their policy, terminated his benefits without considering whether his mental health could have been the reason for his lack of response and whether termination of his benefits would put him at risk. Despite his long history of severe mental health issues, no information was ever obtained about his physical or mental health and no effort was made to speak to his GP or family members.
 
In her witness statement given as part of the legal case Alison describes going to Errol’s flat after he died and the indications of his severe mental health problems, including finding teeth that he had pulled out with pliers. There was no food in his flat and he had no credit on his gas or electric meters. A letter was found in his flat that had been addressed but never sent to the DWP that describes his struggles with his mental health and the very low way he was feeling. It pleads with the DWP to “please judge me fairly”.
 
In her legal case Alison argues that the DWP’s policy on terminating benefits is unlawful for a number of reasons including that it may breach articles 2 and/or 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which relate to causing serious suffering or death. It is also alleged to be unlawful as it fails to have regard to a claimant’s disability, thereby breaching the Equality Act, and it is inherently unfair as it allows benefits to be terminated with no prior notice to the claimant.  
 
In addition, Alison argues that the DWP is in breach of its duty under the Human Rights Act and common law to independently and effectively investigate Errol’s death. At Errol’s inquest in June 2019 the DWP stated that it was undertaking a ‘safeguarding review’ which would report in Autumn 2019 and result in updated guidance but none of that has happened.  In February 2020 the National Audit Office revealed that there have been a large number of benefit-related suicides. As a result the DWP states that it has conducted internal reviews into those cases and a Serious Case Panel has been established to learn lessons from those systemic concerns, including Errol’s case. However, it is not clear from the information that has been provided by the DWP about the internal reviews and Serious Case Panel how they will feed into improvements to make sure future deaths of vulnerable benefits claimants are prevented. As part of the legal case it is argued that Errol’s family had a legitimate expectation that the safeguarding review would take place, which it did not,  that his family should have been involved in the Serious Case Panel and that it should be open to public scrutiny.
 
Alison said: “The harrowing things I saw when I visited Errol’s flat following his death will always be with me. It was clear he was in extreme mental distress and anguish. It is impossible to see how a policy could be lawful which allows benefits to be withdrawn for people in these circumstances, with no consideration or investigation of their mental health, and the risks that termination would pose.” 

Tessa Gregory, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, added: “Our client is being forced to pursue legal action because the DWP has so far refused to make any real changes to the safeguarding policies which allowed her loved one, Errol, to fall through the safety net with such devastating consequences. Like so many other families affected by benefit related deaths the conduct of the DWP following Errol’s death has had a profound impact on our client and her family.  She has been appalled by the lack of engagement and transparency and hopes this case will make the Government realise that it can no longer ignore bereaved families and it must urgently address their concerns to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.”

Mental Health charity Mind provided a witness statement in support of the case. 

Ayaz Manji, Senior Policy and Campaigns officer at Mind, said: “We regularly hear from people with mental health problems who need support from benefits that the system often works against them, making them more unwell and even suicidal. The devastating death of Errol Graham has once again shown why the system has to change now. We can’t afford to wait for more people to die or come to harm before taking action.
 
“The benefits system should be there to protect us when we need it, but right now too many people are in danger of falling through the net and coming to harm as a result. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) must stop cutting off people’s support when they’re too unwell to leave the house, or respond to visits and letters. If the DWP can’t get hold of someone, the onus should be on them to proactively get in touch with local services and emergency contacts, to build a full picture and work to getting the individual the support they need.

“During this uncertain time, it’s crucial people can access benefits easily if they need them. It’s appalling that a lack of basic protections means that people still face the possibility of going without money because they are too unwell to engage with the process. The Government must put this right and take responsibility for making sure that those of us with mental health problems are kept safe, and treated with dignity and respect.”

Source: Family Of Errol Graham Issues Legal Claim Against The DWP

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Panic-buyers are starving food bank users of milk and other essentials

Vital: but the shelves of this Salford food bank may be fast emptying as donations of food and money fail in the panic over coronavirus.

What is this modern fad of panic-buying all the time? The current phase – prompted by the coronavirus – could do more to starve the poor than years of Tory persecution.

Panic-buying isn’t a new thing; every time there’s a bank holiday weekend, the shelves of This Writer’s local supermarkets empty as local residents stock up to avoid the hardships of a single extra day without a shop.

I don’t get it. Just do a normal weekly shop and you’ll be fine.

Worse still, as shelves are cleared of toilet rolls and hand sanitisers because of the coronavirus, it seems supermarkets are hiking the prices of these essentials – that should be dirt-cheap – in order to make a quick buck.

Shameful.

The knock-on effect is that food banks aren’t getting donations of milk and cereal, and are receiving less cash, because people are hoarding these things for themselves and spending their money on them.

The effect could be devastating:

Donations from shoppers at branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose slumped to 25% of their normal volume at one food bank in London, while they have fallen by a third at a Kirkcaldy food bank – where UHT milk has run out.

Some facilities have warned they may close because of concerns about cross-infection, and a food bank in Stonebridge, a deprived area of north-west London, will cut the size of its food parcels by a third from Wednesday, with larger families facing the biggest reductions.

“Panic is going to be more dangerous than the virus,” said Joyce Leggate, the chair of Kirkcaldy food bank, which helps up to 350 families a week. “Our food parcels are essential for the health of many of the people we support. The food can be a lifeline. Please, if you are stockpiling, have a look and say: ‘Am I really going to use this?’ If not, is there someone who needs it more?”

Organisers in Fife, Liverpool and Leicester have reported the unavailability of UHT milk, a key part of their food parcels to keep young children and expecting mothers healthy.

“Emergency food aid providers across the UK are already stretched to the limit and the impact of the spread of coronavirus can only make matters worse,” said Sabine Goodwin, the coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, which represents 189 food banks.

“[They] cannot be expected to support yet more people needing help if schools are closed and those depending on insecure work are forced to rely on charity if taken ill or self-isolating.”

James Quayle, the manager at North Paddington food bank in London, where donations are down to 25% of their normal volume: “It shows the safety net created by our food banks is very thin. The system is not very sustainable. This is another sign that more vulnerable people stand to be worse affected by coronavirus.”

The Tories must be delighted.

Their failure to act, and their provision of limp advice, has created a panic stampede for supplies in which the most vulnerable people are likely to be trampled to death underfoot.

The Tories have been grinding such vulnerable people under their heels for years.

This is exactly what they want and if you are among the panic-buyers, you are playing right into their hands.

Source: Food banks run out of milk and other staples as shoppers panic-buy | World news | The Guardian

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