Wracked with pain, and after eight years on morphine, Marie Lopez has finally chosen death over a life blighted by illness and cruel spending cuts.
This once vibrant businesswoman has spent her every last penny paying for her own care after social services left her to suffer in agony.
Now she is using her last £10,000 to buy an end to her ordeal at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland, even though she is not dying.
For decades Marie, 54, has battled Crohn’s disease , a crippling and incurable condition that attacks the digestive system. Then, almost 10 years ago, the 38 hours a week of social care that made her life bearable was cut back entirely, forcing Marie to fund it herself.
Now she has decided she can endure no more. And she blames Government cuts for her decision to die at the Lifecircle Clinic in Basel.
The former City analyst says: “I have not taken this decision lightly. I am ready to die to put an end to my misery. Crohn’s might not be terminal but, believe me, it kills at a slow pace.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact the Samaritans on their free phone number 116 123
Tribunals had said the DWP should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – but the government warned this would cost it £3.7bn
Panicking Tory ministers have rewritten the law to deny increased benefit payments to more than 150,000 people.
Two tribunals had ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which helps disabled people fund their living costs.
Tory Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt said her move would “make sure we are giving support to those who need it most” – and insisted no one who had already been claiming PIP would see payments drop.
But there was fury after she tightened the law without consulting the government’s own Social Security Advisory Committee.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams stormed: “Instead of listening to the court’s criticisms of PIP assessments and correcting these injustices, this government have instead decided to undermine the legal basis of the rulings.
Originally posted on The poor side of life: I’ll start today’s blog by describing the weather, because it certainly just about sums things up. Windy, raining and hostile. Certainly not favourable for holding our weekly demo. But still we soilder on. People need our support, it’s as simple as that.? I arrived at 10am, completely…
The Public Accounts Committee cites evidence that one-third of people who were claiming housing benefit lost their money when they were given a sanction
Housing benefit is being wrongly stripped from jobseekers accused of failing to look for work, MPs say – threatening them with eviction and homelessness.
The “appalling situation” is condemned by a Commons committee which has told the Department for Work and Pensions to investigate the blunder urgently.
Government rules say benefit claimants who are sanctioned can be docked jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and employment and support allowance (ESA) – but not housing benefit, which they may need to keep their home.
In evidence to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Sir Robert Devereux, the DWP’s permanent secretary, said: “The sanction is applied to the JSA and not to the housing benefit.”
But a survey by the housing charity Crisis found that a staggering one-third of people who were claiming housing benefit lost their money when they were given a sanction.
Meg Hillier, the PAC’s Labour chair, said: “Suspending people’s benefit payments can lead them into debt, rent arrears and homelessness, which can undermine their efforts to find work.
“A third of people surveyed by the charity Crisis who were claiming housing benefit had this stopped in error because of a sanction – an appalling situation to be faced with.”
Investigation into benefits system comes amid mounting evidence that payment delays have left thousands facing eviction
MPs have launched an official inquiry into universal credit amid growing concerns that design flaws in the new benefits system are leaving thousands of low-income claimants facing eviction and reliant on food banks.
The Commons work and pensions committee said it was compelled to launch a full investigation after mounting evidence that built-in payment delays and administrative blockages were creating severe problems for claimants and landlords.
A Guardian investigation this month found widespread evidence that thousands of tenants on universal credit were running up rent arrears and debts because they could not manage the minimum 42-day wait for a first payment.
Landlords have also criticised the system, with private landlords warning that they will not let to universal credit claimants because of the high risk of rent arrears and problems navigating byzantine official bureaucracy.
Surveys by housing associations have found that up to nine in 10 tenants on universal credit either run up rent arrears or increase the level of pre-existing arrears because so few are equipped to cope with long waits without income.
Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee said: “Huge delays in people receiving payments from universal credit have resulted in claimants falling into debt and rent arrears, caused health problems and led to many having to rely on food banks.”
The inquiry will ratchet up the pressure on the Department for Work and Pensions to review the design of universal credit. It has played down the impact of the 42-day waiting time, arguing that its research carried out two years ago suggests arrears levels fall after three months once tenants get used to the new system.
But the former welfare minister Lord Freud admitted to MPs last month that at least a quarter of tenants on universal credit had run up rent arrears as a result, and he suggested that ministers should consider shortening waiting times for payment.
The MPs inquiry was announced on the same day that the universal credit full service was rolled out to a handful of new areas, including Poplar in east London and Warrington. The rollout is not due to be complete until September 2018.
Tough rules which see claimants punished for missing just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a postcode lottery, the Public Accounts Committee found
Jobseekers have been forced onto the streets under the Tories ’ cruel benefit sanctions regime, a devastating report has warned.
Tough rules which see claimants punished for missing just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a postcode lottery, the Public Accounts Committee found.
Committee chairwoman, Labour MP, Meg Hillier said: “Benefit sanctions have been used as a blunt instrument by Government. “Sanctions and exemptions are being applied inconsistently, with little understanding of why.”
Jobseekers can be slapped with sanctions which can see their handouts withdrawn for a variety of “offences”. They include turning down positions, missing appointments and failing to look for work.
A typical sanction lasts four weeks and means a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant loses around £300. The benefit is worth up to £73.10 a week.
The Department for Work and Pensions imposed 400,000 sanctions on benefit claimants in 2015, the most recent statistic available.