This week has seen a series of articles, reports and warnings about how the delays in payments of Personal Independence Payments, DLA and the obstructive attitude by Jobcentre staff. Last year about this time I wrote an article with the mildly provocative title “Are They Out to get us?”.
Since then, I believe the situation has worsened. Attitudes toward the disabled by benefits staff are recorded here in this Channel 4 Dispatches programme (this link will open a TV Player).
Earlier in the week Macmillan Cancer support made it plain that cancer sufferers were losing out on payments they were entitled to because of delays.
A very direct article at the Guardian pulls no punches in the moral and social effects of the way that the poor, chronically ill and disabled are being treated in an underhand way by ideologues at the DWP. The article author, Frances Ryan, writes
“We are sliding back to the notion that suffering helps the soul, that the underclass – be it the unemployed, the disabled, or chronically ill – need to be trained in order to behave. And, as almost a secondary consequence, their punishment cuts the welfare bill down. A bonus all round.
The ideology of a small state or the belief that benefits build dependency are crass, irrelevant details to what at its core is simply a decision about how to treat a human being. This is particularly damning when one person has all the power and the other is forced through economic necessity to take whatever humiliation or pain they are given. To do that to someone – let alone hundreds of thousands – is no accident. It is a conscious decision that has been made over and over again by this government.”
On Friday the 13th of March, the much respected Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland issued a press release regarding their report into the delays paying PIP.
Publishing today’s report, CAS Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says:
“This CAB evidence shows that too many people are experiencing problems in claiming PIP, including significant delays in receiving any money. This is causing considerable distress for many sick and disabled people in Scotland, often leaving them facing severe hardship and unable to meet basic living costs”.
Mr Dryburgh went on to say:
“These are crucial benefits for many sick and disabled people. They aim to help people cope with the extra costs of being sick or having a disability, such as additional heating, additional travel costs, special diets or specialist equipment. We would support efforts to help people live independently, but the evidence so far suggests that the PIP is doing the opposite, and causing problems for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
It would seem to me that the UK Government is like the mother watching her son marching with his platoon who says “they’re a’ oot o’ step except oor Wullie”.
Ian Duncan Smith would appear to be the one person out of step with all the research carried out by charities, journalists, and those who have knowledge of what it is like to be disabled.