NHS: Tories SILENT on introduction of £145 charges for 40-minute GP consultations
The niece of a 67-year-old man who died from severe burns after setting himself on fire in Lowestoft has described him as a “loving person” who struggled to cope with a change in his benefits.
If you are having suicidal thoughts call the Samaritans on their free number 116 123
Office for Budget Responsibility says forecasts initially predicted £13.6bn would be spent on disability benefits in 2018-2019 but now this figure is now thought to be £18bn
‘We’re at the lowest of the low. Nobody knows where to turn’
A bed-ridden stroke victim was told to use food banks after an administrative error left him and his wife facing extreme poverty.
Alan Buchanan, 65, has been bed bound after suffering several major seizures since he had his first stroke 15 years ago, and the once successful businessman is now entirely dependent on his wife Heather and the occasional visits of carers.
The couple, from the small Scottish town of Callander, near Loch Lomond, said they now fear homelessness after their benefits were stopped because of an administrative error.
Earlier this year, Ms Buchanan said an inspector from Atos — a company contracted to provide independent assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) — arrived two hours early for an assessment with Mr Buchanan, despite her phoning and specifically telling them not to arrive before 11am.
“A lady came to the house at about nine in the morning. She said she was from Atos. I explained to her that I had asked for an appointment at 11am, because Alan’s carers are here before that,” Ms Buchanan told The Independent.
“I did ask her if she’d like to come in, basically to show her that he was there, in his bed. She could see his wheelchair and everything else sitting about because we live in a very small flat. She said ‘no it’s alright, we’ll reschedule’. Then she went away.”
But Ms Buchanan said the inspector never called to rearrange the appointment and two weeks later, a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) arrived, cancelling Mr Buchanan’s benefits.
It said they would be getting nothing in their PIP, because they hadn’t provided “a good enough reason” for Mr Buchanan, who cannot get dressed or go to the toilet independently, “not attending” to the assessment.
Three days later, Ms Buchanan received another letter from the DWP saying her husband’s Attendance Allowance, designed to help with personal care for disabled people aged 65 or over, would also be stopping.
On 28 February, The Canary reported the case of a woman who claimed an assessor working on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asked her why she hadn’t killed herself yet.
During my #pip assessment I was asked why I hadn’t killed myself yet. This is standard, assessors regularly ask this question.
— Alice Kirby (@Alice__Kirby) February 24, 2017
Since we published that report, several people have approached us claiming the same thing happened to them. In this follow-up, we are publishing several of their testimonies. We have also spoken to Atos, the company which carries out assessments for the DWP. And in a separate report, we have discussed these claims with the President of the British Psychological Society, Peter Kinderman.
Several people contacted us with similar stories to Alice Kirby’s. Most have asked that we do not mention them by name. The majority of them said they feared it could affect their claims.
I was asked by a woman at the Atos PIP interview: ‘Why haven’t you killed yourself yet?’ I remember it very clearly. I left the room in tears and had my PIP cut. I was too afraid to complain in case they took all the money off me.
The Tory leader claimed “there are many complex reasons why people go to food banks” and would not commit to end the 1% pay cap
Theresa May was skewered on live TV today as she tried to avoid taking the blame for the scandal of nurses using food banks.
The Tory leader claimed “there are many complex reasons why people go to food banks” when questioned in a major BBC interview.
Shocking report shows even grandparents go hungry to feed children
A Birkenhead boy threw up while playing football after eating just two packs of crisps all day, according to a shocking report on children going hungry.
The report said growing numbers of children are underfed or malnourished during school holidays, when cash-strapped parents struggle to afford the extra meals and childcare.
Some Wirral parents and even grandparents sometimes go without food to keep their children fed and pay for other essentials, according to a Birkenhead school governor quoted in the report. The Croxteth Gems youth centre revealed some children were so hungry they ate two or three breakfasts and dinners.
Nadine Daniel, head of the Liverpool Hope+ Foodbank, said she and other emergency food providers had noticed rising holiday demand and expected it to grow again this summer.
The research, led by Birkenhead MP Frank Field and the parliamentary group on hunger, suggested some parents resorted to junk food because it was all they could afford or they could not cook. It highlighted a young person who vomited during a free sports and food programme in Birkenhead run by Wirral Positive Futures and the Street Games charity. When a member of staff asked the boy what he had eaten that day before the evening football session, he replied that he had eaten just a packet of crisps for breakfast and lunch.
It also said a group of children at a Feeding Birkenhead holiday meals event all headed to the table full of fresh fruit – rather than a table with cakes and biscuits. It said: “They had had enough of the sporadic, unhealthy snacks on which they had been surviving at home. Some families are surviving on cheap, stodgy food that temporarily keeps hunger at bay without necessarily giving children and parents the nutrients their bodies need. It is the additional demands placed on budgets of families on low incomes – from food, fuel, activities, childcare – at those times of year that lower children into the clutches of hunger.”