By Lesley Roberts for Welfare Weekly
We all know that without any form of income via wages, benefits or savings that the inevitable outcome is almost certainly homelessness, hunger and poverty – even crime.
Common sense tells us this. So why do we believe that a person with a serious and recognised illness, who we know cannot work, should be put into the position of living in fear of this happening to them? Why are we pushing people into the position of feeling that the only way out is to take their own life?
Even the excuses used by the “I’m alright Jack” crowd will find it difficult to give a decent reason to ignore or hide what is happening. Even giving a dismissive comment will become an embarrassment; how many people have to end up on the Iain Duncan Smith’s death list before there is a public outcry?
The Mirror reported on the death of Glenn Harris on the 21 July 2015, who was so afraid his benefits would be stopped he ended his own life.
He is sadly not alone. There is a Facebook page, “National Remembrance for the DWP/ATOS Dead”, dedicated to those who have died due to welfare cuts. Anyone can google and find name after name, news report after news report, to find out about Britain’s very own ‘Schindler’s List’.
Something that strangely seems to be missing is the actual official statistics; a bit like child poverty being non-existent because the Tories want to redefine its definition.
The Guardian has questioned why the government is slow to publish benefits deaths statistics. David Cameron stated that the figures were about to be released and in doing so he contradicted Iain Duncan Smith, who claimed the figures aren’t collected. If they do eventually publish the figures it would need to be scrutinised for errors. After all, who trusts politicians to tell us the truth?
Surely there is enough clear evidence to demand an explanation for the collateral damage caused by welfare changes? Perhaps the government’s attempts to hide the figures from the public is linked to fears of legal redress taken by families for their individual loss?
Someone must be made answerable for the tragic loss of life and the untold damage caused to victims families. Iain Duncan Smith’s directory of death will continue to grow without immediate action.
The government should be aware by now that public opinion is beginning to shift. People are not all stupid and are becoming increasingly more aware of the harm caused by unjust policies. Whilst the majority of voters may support the principle of benefit cuts, they will not sit idly by while some of Britain’s most vulnerable people are being pushed to the brink of suicide and beyond. Crimes against humanity nearly always come back to haunt those responsible.
People are dying as a direct and indirect result of the abusive of political power. No one should be dying of starvation in 2015 Britain, especially when we have the means to prevent it.
How many more will lose their lives before this abuse of the vulnerable is stopped?
If you or someone you know has been affected by the issues raised in the article, please contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit their website for support.