As reported by Benefits And Work the EHRC (Equality And Human Rights Commission) has broken its promise to investigate the role that the DWP (Department of Work And Pensions)have played in the deaths of vulnerable claimants. This has left the DWP not needing to answer any questions as to the role that they played in their deaths
Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will replace the promised investigation.
This is despite promises made by the EHRC in 2019 that they would start an investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants.
The EHRC used the pandemic as an excuse to not start the investigation.
The Commission has now declared that it only intends to enter into a Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. This will oblige the DWP “to commit to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.”
Keep in mind that the DWP are a much larger organisation that receive more funding than the EHRC. This will no doubt result in the DWP will dragging their heels in creating so called policies that will be nothing more than good intentions that probably won’t be actioned upon.
Whilst I don’t have any details as to why the EHRC have changed their minds I can say that at best they’re very niave putting far too much trust in the DWP to do the right thing.
The DWP has an appalling track record of discrimination against vulnerable claimants, ignoring their basic human rights and making life extremely hard for them.
Despite my disappointment with the EHRC’s decision I’m not surprised. The DWP will do anything to avoid any actions taken against them making promises that they’ve got no intention of keeping whilst doing the bare minimum to comply.
Once again thanks go to Benefits And Work for their hard work and inspiring this article.
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It doesn’t feel real does it, so many people are struggling to live with the bare minimum of essential things such as food, heating and clothing. This was echoed in a conversation that I had outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre today.
I’ll call him Bill, obviously I like to keep peoples names anonymous, its much better that way. It stops the DWP machine from interfering and possibly targeting him. Believe me this has happened in the past, I recorded it in a blog many years ago.
Bill lives on his own after being his mothers sole carer. Sadly his mother died and he now lives alone. Bill doesn’t have a lot, a mobile phone and a television that was gifted to him. Sadly its a smart tv so he can only access the bare minimum of channels.
You might ask why this matters, after all things like this apparently aren’t important. I, however believe that it is important because it gives a person some sense of normality, maybe a bit of enjoyment. When you’re excluded from what others class as normal it has a distinct affect on your mental wellbeing, thus making life that bit more difficult.
Bill doesn’t have access to the internet at home and relies upon his mobile phone for everything. Some say that this is a luxury but it isn’t. It’s a necessity and the DWP will sanction claimants that don’t have a phone and or access to the internet.
I took Bill for a cuppa, I sometimes do this because its a nice thing to do, something that so many won’t be able to do after April, it was then when he told me about his concerns. He’s quite rightly concerned about how he’s going to be able to pay his essential bills, not anything that you could class as a luxury. It’s the bare essentials that he needs to survive.
Bill also shared his health concerns with me and how difficult its become to get an appointment with a doctor and how hard it is for him to get his repeat prescription.
Whilst many doctors surgeries in the UK offer telephone consultations as well as face to face ones its become near impossible to do this because his surgery doesn’t offer an online service and nor do they send his repeat description digitally over to a chemist of his choice. Instead he’s left to struggle collecting his prescription up and handing it to a chemist to be processed.
We discussed the spring budget and how awful it is for unemployed and disabled people, also for people on a bare minimum wage.
The truth is that Sunak doesn’t care and it this was reflected in his spring statement.
Whilst we are faced with an energy cost crisis which will undoubtably plunge at least 10 million people into fuel poverty, leaving them without the means to heat their homes.
Sunak provided nothing to support low income households and people claiming any type of benefit or pension.
On the contrary Sunak has uprated benefits and pensions only by 3.1% which was last October’s inflation rate. This is not the 7% rate of inflation which will be the upcoming over the next few months. By doing this Sunak has directly made 9 million of the poorest and most vulnerable people approximately £500 poorer.
Neither can we forget the £1000 a year Sunak took from Universal Credit recipients in the autumn when he withdrew the £20 a week pandemic uplift. This left thousands of people distraught and struggling. So far Sunak has taken £1700 of the UK’s most vulnerable and poorest households, whilst not forgetting that disabled people didn’t even receive the £20 uplift.
Sunak then announced that he is raising the threshold at which National Insurance contributions begin to be paid. Remember, most benefit recipients do not pay NI as their incomes are too low. Neither do pensioners. So once again they do not benefit from this at all.
Sunak also announced that he’s cutting the fuel duty whilst ignoring the fact that the poorest benefit recipients do not own a car, so they don’t benefit one bit from this. Neither do they pay income tax, so will not benefit from the 1p cut in 2024.
Theres also no information given as to how and will the poorest benefit from the £500m Sunak has given local councils.
To put it bluntly Sunak’s statement was aimed at fellow Tory MPs whose support he wants in a future leadership election if he is to take part, but this is a cruel and heartless way of doing it. He’s basically stamping his feet upon the poorest with his only concern being himself.
This is to be expected though because Sunak is a millionaire and has no understanding of what life is really like for the majority of people in the Uk, and nor does he care to learn and sympathise with them. He’s a typical Tory, selfish and as shallow as they come, after all they’re never going to care and they don’t want to.
I shall be returning to the Jobcentre next week, health permitting.
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