Death has become a part of Britain’s benefits system

Go to your local benefits office and desperation can be boiled down to a six-point plan, mounted on pink laminated card. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has assembled written guidance on suicide for its “frontline staff” – a euphemism for workers hired to call people and break it to them that they’ve been […]

The five most dangerous myths about sickness and disability benefits

In a major speech, Iain Duncan Smith has called for an “overhaul” of the disability and sickness benefit system. If you can stand to make your way through the opening paragraphs on how lazy out of work people are, what’s striking about the latest nod to “disability benefit reform” is that Duncan Smith said a […]

The DWP’s fake information leaflet shows how deep the rot is in the benefit sanctions system

Meet Sarah. Sarah receives Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as she’s too disabled to be able to hold down a job. As someone in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA, she is required to take steps to “prepare for work”. But after failing to complete a CV, Sarah had her benefits sanctioned. “My benefit […]

Disabled teenagers are easily lost in a welfare state cut to the bone

Against the backdrop of this month’s jubilant A-level and GCSE results, 17-year-old Sanjeev Singh provides a different picture of what it is to be young in Conservative Britain. In many ways, Sanjeev is a young person “doing the right thing”. He lives at home with his mum and three siblings and, since leaving school a […]

The Conservatives aim to protect the ‘most vulnerable’. How’s that going?

The Conservatives like to talk about protecting “the vulnerable”. From the early days of the coalition onwards, the reassurance that no matter how bad things got, the people who truly needed help would be shielded from the cuts has been the linchpin in everything George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith have done. “It is our […]

Why do we care more about Cecil the Lion than we do about the “swarm” of migrants at Calais?

In the early hours of yesterday morning, a young asylum seeker was crushed to death trying to make it to the Channel Tunnel. I would use his name but the British press prefer vague descriptions. (“Sudanese” and “aged between 25 and 30”). Perhaps if he had been a lion called Cecil it would be different. […]

Outlawing discrimination against the poor – is that so ridiculous?

In France it could soon be illegal to discriminate against people in poverty. Under proposed legislation – already approved by the senate and likely to be passed by the chamber of deputies – it would be an offence in France to “insult the poor” or to refuse them jobs, healthcare or housing. Similar laws banning […]