20_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,184

Thursday 20 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

In a land of plenty which sees 15 million tonnes of food thrown away every year, a nation in which 13 million are living in poverty, over half of whom are in work, we have a social security system which is depriving people of the means of survival on a routine basis.

The official DWP guidance states – “It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without: 1. essential items such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation, or 2. sufficient money to buy essential items for a period of two weeks.”

The sanctions regime of the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith sees 1 in 5 people having their benefits sanctioned and being deprived of the means of survival for up to three years. ‘Employment and Support Allowance sanctions can either be open ended or can last for one, two or four weeks depending on the circumstances.’ ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions can last for four, 13 or 26 weeks (but can be up to a maximum of three years).’ Sanctions mean people are wilfully and knowingly put in harms way.

Universal Credit is to be paid monthly in arrears (from the current fortnightly arrangement), supposedly to reflect the experience of most people in work, but it isn’t the world of work, is it? People on benefits are existing at a time of the most fragile circumstances in their lives. Just the changeover from fortnightly payments to monthly payments is going to cause widespread hardship. How can it not? The DWP recognises that a two week period of hardship is enough to cause harm to claimants and such hardship and the distress that accompanies it is not easily or quickly recovered from even if all the circumstances of hardship are resolved on the first monthly payment, WHICH THEY WILL NOT BE.

People will be forced into an extended period of decline, both physically and mentally, they will be debilitated by fear, worry and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. On top of which the brutality of Smith’s sanctions regime will continue its filthy reign of terror.

Universal Credit is predicated on brutalising, victimising, punishing and psychologically terrorising people. It is the illegitimate brain child of a sadistic brute without one single redeeming feature. It is a system designed to penalise people and whatever the current death figures are that Iain Duncan Smith is at such pains to suppress, the roll out of Universal Credit will only make matters infinitely worse. The only thing that Universal Credit is good for is scrapping in its entirety and those responsible for this reign of terror and war on the poor removed from office. They and you are a disgrace to the nation and a treacherously shameful affront to human dignity and decency.