Second Suicide Linked To Welfare Reform Reported This Week: RIP Victor Cuff

the void

atos-paralympic-protestAnother tragic suicide has been reported which appears to be linked to the brutal Work Capability Assessments used to strip people of benefits by declaring them ‘fit for work’.

According to South East London newspaper, the News Shopper, Victor Cuff, aged 59, hung himself in May after his sickness benefits were cut.  The newspaper reports that Mr Cuff had previously had suffered from depression and an inquest into his death heard that he had been “feeling down” and was having money problems after his sickness benefits were reduced.

This is the second suicide linked to withdrawal of sickness benefits which has been reported in just one week. On Monday the Bristol Post featured the story of Jacqueline Harris who took her own life after being found ‘fit for work’ resulting in her benefits being slashed.

Anyone who claims these suicides are not linked to welfare reforms has probably…

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Paying npower eats up most of my benefits, says sick Christine

Ann McGauran

If it weren’t for the food bank she’d be starving,  she tells me. A while back  she went without food for 11 days. Christine (not her real name) says she eventually collapsed in the home she lives in on her own. “I came to, got up, and made a cup of coffee.”

Her neighbour’s daughter told her about the food bank, and she went down to the Jobcentre to get a voucher. This time – only the second time she’s come to a food bank – she had to borrow the money for the fares and take two buses to get here. She’s 51, but life has not been kind to her in recent years and she looks much, much older. She says that four years ago she was “almost killed by an abusive partner”.

Like many food bank  clients who live on their own, her first thought is not…

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Woman Who Can Only Hear Hit By Bedroom Tax

Same Difference

A WOMAN who depends upon carers to help her in every aspect of her daily life has fallen into arrears because of the bedroom tax.


Quadriplegic Claire Hilton, aged 32, has a team of six carers dedicated to her, with two on shift at any one time to help her move about, eat and sleep.


For 12 years she has lived in a bungalow in Prodesse Court, Hindley and, although the two carers stay overnight seven days a week, she falls into the ‘under occupied’ category of the tax because the legislation only allows for one carer to stay.


Claire now has £50 a month taken out of her housing benefit and her parents, Margaret and Nigel, are outraged and frustrated no one will listen to them.


Margaret said: “Claire had leukaemia when she was three and contracted encephalitis, which just took everything apart from hearing…

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Disabled people forced to cut back on food and heating to pay bedroom tax

Nine in 10 disabled people and three quarters of carers affected by the bedroom tax are having to cut back on food and heating in order to pay their rent.

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), a national coalition of more than 50 charities, revealed the findings in a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith which called on the government to take immediate action to exempt disabled people, their families and carers from the controversial policy.

The letter, signed by the chief executives of charities including Disability Rights UK, Scope, the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Child Poverty Action Group, points to “stark evidence” that shows disabled people are not being protected from the controversial policy despite government claims to the contrary.

It states: “Before the policy was implemented, we warned that it would hit disabled people and carers for whom additional accommodation was essential, not spare.

“We have been deeply frustrated at reports that disabled people and their families are protected from this policy. The stark evidence since the policy was implemented in April clearly shows they are not.

“It is hitting disabled people who need an extra room for essential home adaptations or equipment which enable them to live independently; seriously or terminally ill people who sleep on hospital beds and cannot share a room with a partner who cares for them and parents caring 24/7 for disabled children who need a room for a care worker to stay in to give them a night off from caring.

“None of these groups are exempt and our organisations are seeing the devastating impact it is having on those who now face a shortfall in their rent as a result of the changes.

“Nine in 10 disabled people and three quarters of carers affected are now having to cut back on food and heating to pay the shortfall in rent they face as a result of this policy.

“Our organisations are hearing time after time from disabled people, carers and families of disabled children who are being forced deeper and deeper into debt and falling behind on their rent, putting them at risk of eviction.”

The charities also claim that the DWP’s safety net of discretionary payments is not working.

“Our research shows that only a minority of disabled people and carers receiving support from the fund the government set aside to cover the shortfall in rent for disabled people. Those who are unable to access discretionary support are being hit with an average bill of £700 a year,” the letter states.

It continues: “Disabled people and carers are being left in constant fear of losing their homes. Even those who have received discretionary payments to cover the shortfall in rent now are being left with a deep sense of insecurity – knowing they may have to reapply for temporary support for the rest of their lives just to stay in their own homes.

“The Government must act now to exempt disabled people and carers from this policy.”

The latest official statistics show that more than half a million social housing tenants are affected by the bedroom tax. This is hitting disabled people particularly hard as:

  • two thirds of housing benefit claimants affected by the tax are disabled;
  • 100,000 live in specially adapted properties; and
  • around 230,000 claim Disability Living Allowance(DLA)
  • over three quarters (77%) of DLA claimants live in the social sector.

by Juhn Lash at, 24th Nov 2013:

Surge in malnutrition leading to ‘Dickensian levels of poverty’ in Camden

Camden is seeing “Dickensian” levels of poverty after becoming the worst borough in London for malnutrition – with reported cases increasing almost ninefold over the past five years.Malnutrition cases surged from just six in the borough in 2008/2009 – the second-lowest in the capital at the time – to a city-wide high of 53 in 2012/2013.

It follows a rise seen across England where reported cases have almost doubled over the past five years. The rise corresponds with one of the worst economic downturns since the Second World War and a so-called “cost of living crisis”.

Social care charities in Camden have blamed the problem on increased unemployment, stagnating wages and rising food prices. They warned the borough was seeing “Dickensian levels of poverty”.

Laurence Guinness, head of research at children welfare charity Kids Company, which runs the Treehouse centre for young people in Fordwych Road, Fortune Green, said: “Malnutrition is one of our biggest challenges and is getting to desperate levels. Over 2011 and 2012 we saw a 233 per cent rise in the number of children coming to us because they were hungry.

“We’ve had to employ two full-time nurses to deal with cases where kids aren’t even getting the basic vitamins they need. There’s a level of denial over the Dickensian levels of poverty seen in boroughs like Camden and we’ve had to reach out to the public to help feed the 3,000 London children we see a week.”

Gary Jones, chief executive of Age UK Camden, said the elderly residents his charity helps were particularly at risk. He said: “It is worrying to see how the number of people in Camden being admitted to hospital with malnutrition is on the rise. Older people are particularly vulnerable. At a time when more and more people are struggling financially and meals-on-wheels services have been replaced by a weekly delivery service, we have seen issues with people not being supported to eat and drink properly.”

The statistics – released last week by Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb – showed neighbouring boroughs were also suffering. Barnet saw a more than threefold increase to 38 cases, Islington’s level more than doubled to 33, while Westminster rose from 20 to 50 cases.

Camden Council – which announced last Monday it had set aside some of its office space to accommodate ballooning food bank supplies for hungry residents – said the issue had become a “high priority”.

Cllr Pat Callaghan, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “The increase in malnutrition cases in Camden is worrying and we will continue to work closely with our NHS colleagues. Recent coalition government changes to welfare have aggravated this issue. We are working with agencies to treat the root causes of poverty by providing as much advice and support as possible.


From the ‘Ham and High, 27th Nov 2013:


A selection of search terms 1.

I can see some of the search terms that have led people to this site but unfortunately I cannot see who has posted them. Unfortunate, because many of these people need immediate help.

Here’s a selection from the last 7 days. The site recorded 106 known search terms including:
    * Just had back surgery and have to attend WRAG group

    * how can you live when benefits are taken away due to a sanction

    * i’m at my wits end

    * why am I waiting so long to get my personal independence payment
    * atos stopped me working but 5 years later say Im fit to work, can i sue them for loss of earnings

    * doctor from ATOS said that I could do things that i couldnt

    * what happens if atos healthcare cancel the appointment

    * greater manchester starving

    * decision delays dwp

    * my disability benefits have been cut off how can I appeal

    * PIP delays

        * how long to wait for a PIP decision

    * victimised by employer for being put into the WRAG group

    * WRAG advisor ignoring my sick note

    * no money left job center

    * son missed JSA appointment how long do they stop the money for

    * depression and the DWP

    * made claim for PIP 23 weeks ago

Argotina1, 26th November 2016

Universal credit has already cost £450 million

Universal credit has already cost the taxpayer £425 million, with industry insiders predicting that much of this will have to be written off because the IT project has been so poorly administered and led. The entire scheme has been judged to be ‘in crisis’ by the treasury. The National Audit Office has recently reported  that millions of IT costs have ALREADY been written off.

The scheme was due to be implemented in October 2013, but so far has only been implemented in a handful of test areas. Early reports back from these say that the system is too complicated for over half of claimants to understand without additional support, and that because of inadequacies in the system everything has to be checked by hand. Users report that the system is not able to track any change in circumstances of the claimants, not much use for people in and out of short term work, or on variable or zero hours contracts.

Yet Department for Work and Pensions has reiterated that the system will be delivered ‘on time and within budget.’

Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said: “We are introducing Universal Credit in a slow, safe and controlled way. This careful approach is working well and we’re in a strong position as we bring Universal Credit to Inverness and Rugby for the first time. Most people are claiming it online, the IT is working and comprehensive support is in place.”

In the first pilot area in which the scheme was rolled out, Ashton Under Lyme, it was reported that “78% of claimants needed help filling in the forms for relatively straightforward claims. The pilot schemes are not even attempting to deal with people with complex personal circumstances.”  And if Universal credit was on time, it would have been rolled out nationwide as scheduled in October 2013.

I’m not sure who the Government thinks it is fooling, except perhaps themselves.