Who’s welfare?

When it came to benefits the media were biased. They reported with glee on the so called benefit cheats and scroungers, focussing on large families living council owned accommodation with barely contained self-righteous smugness. You didn’t read much about those struggling to get by on limited income and coping with a hostile built environment and difficult public transport. But since 20/10 the media are now focusing on the sick and those disabled by society. There’s precious little about the potential damage to the lifestyles of those they used to lampoon and whom these savage cuts were mean to be directed at in the first place.

Adults of working age who have lost their work through illness like a stroke or vision impairment, or have been injured in an accident and who want to work, are now being given a year in which to rehabilitate and find new employment. 12 months is a very short time in a society that has become adept at tokenism and aversive discrimination. After a year their Employment and Support Allowance (previously Incapacity Benefit) will be reduced and then what’s going to happen?  

Removing the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance for people in residential care will allegedly save £135 million a year by 2014/15. City banking bonuses come to mind? An adapted car, or wheelchair or a scooter can make all the difference if you don’t have mobility. How else are you supposed to leave your building? How can something that is so fundamental to daily life be so callously withdrawn?

The government is taking away from those with least to lose. Many of whom have become unemployed through no fault of their own. Easy targets, already struggling with daily tasks we take for granted, it looks unlikely the future holds much improvement. We can’t ignore what’s happening. Do something useful and get involved in your local community.  See what a difference a few hours of your time can make. And think twice before casting your vote at the next election. A responsible society cares for those in need; it provides support and encouragement to enable independence, it doesn’t deny welfare to those who need it most. When the government says it will protect it’s not talking about the needy, it’s talking about itself.

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