British children are living in Victorian conditions – it’s an inequality timebomb.

What does it mean to be one of the richest countries in the world? I wondered this as I read through the report by the Children’s Commission on Poverty (CCP) at the end of last year, in which British children describe the hunger that comes with not being able to afford lunch, or the wait […]

Shut up about Ed Miliband’s two kitchens: if you kick champagne socialists out, champagne Tories will conquer

It’s funny because, up until this morning, I had thought Ed Miliband did all his cooking on a camping stove with out-of-date sausages he found in the discount bin in Aldi. It turns out the Leader of the Opposition has his own kitchen. He even has two. Or, as journalist and friend of the Milibands […]

Inflicting suffering on those in need is now at the heart of our benefits system

This week’s Dispatches’ Benefits Britain investigation was painful viewing. During seven weeks of undercover work at a universal credit contact centre in Bolton, Channel 4 journalists witnessed a farcical mess of centralised IT failure. But what really stood out were the underhand tactics DWP staff were found to use against claimants: from deliberately withholding hardship […]

The martyrdom of Tania Clarence: when will the press stop conveying disability as worse than death?

Last year, Tania Clarence admitted the manslaughter of her three severely disabled children on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The details were widely reported at the time: that she smothered her three-year-old twin sons Ben and Max, and daughter Olivia, aged four, in a “major depressive episode”, and then took painkiller tablets and drank a […]

Mind the gap: how charities are mopping up after the government’s failure to care

“Twelve bags, mainly men’s and baby’s clothes. All washed and clean,” Dawn Wilson lists, pleased, as she checks through the latest donations collected from her local area. Wilson, in her forties, has been co-running the Durham Socialist Clothes bank for three months now. She’s a full-time carer for her disabled husband and is characteristic of […]

How many benefits claimants have to kill themselves before something is done?

Malcolm Burge wrote to his local council last year telling them he was “depressed, stressed and suicidal”. The 66-year-old retired gardener had had his housing benefit cut by 50% but a backlog at Newham council meant he had unknowingly continued to receive the higher amount. The council issued him a demand for £809.79. “I have […]