Doctors Warn of The Hidden Costs of Welfare Reform

bubblesA letter written by Scottish Ministers to Iain Duncan Smith reveals one of the often overlooked consequences of the savage cuts to social security.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Health Secretary Alex Neil claim that the brutally flawed Work Capability Assessment used to determine eligibility for sickness and disability benefits is creating a “workload problem” for GPs.  This follows a recent letter signed by over 25 doctors and health professionals warning that the process is not only “cruel” but has also led to “significant adverse events such as self-harm and suicides which many of us have witnessed”.

It will not just be the NHS which begins to creak under the strain of welfare reforms, as millions of people are driven into destitution and a benefits regime which is increasingly designed to punish the poor.  As pointed out yesterday, when Universal Credit is fully introduced, parents of teenagers may find themselves expected to work, or attend workfare for many of the hours their children are not in school.  Leaving possibly hundreds of thousands of teenagers to wander the streets could create an explosion of anti-social behaviour, bullying and crime.  Benefit sanctions, as one leading homelessness charity has already warned, could lead to people being forced to beg and steal to survive.

The impact on policing, courts and prisons could be astronomical as parents are no longer permitted to care for their children and are sent on workfare instead.  The cost to the communities we live in, and to those children themselves, can not even begin to be measured.

Street homelessness is rising sharply, and the bedroom tax, benefit cap and housing benefit cuts can only add to that.  A think tank recently warned that one in four children will be living in poverty by 2020 as a direct result of changes to benefits.  Iain Duncan Smith’s crass attempts to redefine poverty as a personal failing rather than an economic disaster will not change the consequences of creating a society in which a quarter of young people are near destitute.

One of architects of welfare reform, Chris Grayling, once alleged that an area of Manchester was akin to the fictional representation of Baltimore in the television series The Wire.  Baltimore has a horrifically high murder rate and the show depicts a  flourishing drugs trade which all to often fills the vacuum in the absence of socialised protection for the poorest.  Grayling couldn’t have been more wrong about Manchester, yet this Government seem intent on making that absurd comparison come true.

The UK did not have an overly generous welfare system despite the claims made by all three political parties.  The main reason the social security system became so complicated is years of thinly designed cuts, bodges, anti-fraud initiatives and endless schemes aimed at trying to cure people of unemployment.  The reason the social security is so expensive is largely down to the astronomical costs involved simply in keeping a roof over your head in the UK.

The last Tory Government launched an all out assault on social housing – with the end result being soaring private sector rents and a rocketing housing benefit bill.  Iain Duncan Smith’s reckless experiment with welfare goes far beyond what even Thatcher would have dared suggest.

Those on benefits, whether in or out of work are now seeing their incomes decimated, and it’s only going to get worse.  No-one can truly know the social consequences of the changes that are taking place, which are all too often hidden under the cover of relentless propaganda claiming that the poorest people in the country are secretly living it up at the tax payers expense.

In truth this country already had poverty that should shame any nation as rich as the UK even before these changes to social security.  But even that may pail into insignificance compared to what is to come.  One thing is surely beyond doubt however.  Whatever is left of society after these reforms are fully implemented, it will be expensive for all of us.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

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65 responses to “Doctors Warn of The Hidden Costs of Welfare Reform

  1. joanna…spot on….it is heartbreaking…to say the least…the poverty will become even more desperate….! it is bad enough now…!

  2. Landless Peasant

    And before long there could be thousands of people diagnosed with Malnutrition and presumably prescribed food and/or supplements on the NHS, which would cost an absolute fortune!

  3. There were cases of scurvy in children in the news this past week. The NHS isn’t funded sufficiently by this bunch of greedsters to cope with dealing with a massive increase in illnesses caused by malnutrition and deprivation as well. Poverty kills people, and if you cut off their basic means of meeting fundamental biological needs – and welfare only ever covered the costs of basic survival costs: food, fuel and shelter – people WILL die. This government have reduced benefits to the point when they no longer cover the cost of basic survival.

    Maslow would tell you that if you reduce people to struggling for survival, they cannot do anything else, That’s a well-controlled population, if you ask me. That’s also a very wealthy ruling elite, and at our expense

    • Landless Peasant

      Yes, talking of meeting fundamental biological needs, I have to use my hot water a lot less now in order to pay my Bedroom Tax & Council Tax out of my pittance of JSA, so I can only afford to shower once or twice a week now instead of each day. Am also eating less.

    • kittysjones…
      yes, maslow’s…triangle would agree…terror clamps the mind, people go into prime directive survival mode…..

      • We must assume that this destruction of people’s lives is deliberate. Yes. Overburdened, I am also having to choose between heating and eating. I have an autoimmune illness (lupus) that includes raynauds – a vascular and nerve related condition when the least little bit of cold shuts down the blood supply to the feet, hand, nose and ear lobes in my case. It can lead to frostbite, gangrene at moderate temperatures, so my consultant advices me to keep warm…yeah.

        • kittysjones…i know raynauds and scerloderma well…it is part of my diag…+ other nasties….12c in my bit today…i wrap up several layers, hat scarf, even today!…my bg machine fails in the real cold…yeah life’s great…the only time i get warm is in gp’s surgery…keep yourself warm, they throw at one!

        • ps kittysjones..the destruction of peoples lives is absolutely deliberate…@ root it is revenge…!

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  6. This could all be solved overnight by printing our own money which we do not have to pay interest for, and remember that interest go’s to the privately owned bank of England, we have done it before in this country just before world war one we started printing our own currency and it was called the Bradbury pound. It was those grubby little bankers that caused all the need for cuts so i say fuck em, fuck there interest and debt slavery based economy. Same thing in the US the fed are a private company.
    A curious bit of news is that Syria, north korea and iran are the only countries that don’t have a privately owned central bank, just saying like…
    Andy

    • Landless Peasant

      There are probably numerous ways by which this could all be solved overnight, but the Government and the rich elite don’t really want to solve anything, they aren’t even trying. it’s all just an excuse to dismantle the State and reinstating the Class system, whilst the rich get richer. The economy could be saved by legalizing Cannabis, for instance, or embarking on an Hemp-based Agricultural policy, but hey, why do that when you can kick the poor?

      • It really is just a callous attack on vulnerable people of this land, you are right there are many things that could be done but it would mean sacrifice for the rich and they are not well known for that, ok some are philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, fancy word for murdering scumbags, then there are the charitable type’s who use the bbc to promote there sexual deviancy, i don’t think those will be up for sacrificing anything other than poor little children, these people are emotional vampires who imo run things, how many of the pervs arrested of late have been best pals with big ears(charles) but i bet there’s nothing spurious about that, cleaner than clean is old big ears
        Andy

    • A curious bit of news is that Syria, north korea and iran are the only countries that don’t have a privately owned central bank,”
      And that’s reason these particular countries are demonised by the west

      • I would think these countries control more of their economy-sure it’s less profitable but those countries are not beholden of the international markets.

  7. Tory Government blames the poor for poverty. Redefinition of childhood poverty: http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/the-poverty-of-responsibility-and-the-politics-of-blame/

    Follow the Money: Tory Ideology is all about handouts to the wealthy that are funded by the poor- http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/1993/

  8. This government is evil. Say no more…

  9. It’s an authoritarian elite, say no more…and yes, evil is “that which is moving against the tide of evolution”- Dion Fortune.

    The clocks stopped when the Tories took Office, and now we are losing a decade a day….

  10. Bring back the workhouse era,Victorian Britain,the good old days…wont be too long now !!!

    • murray..won’t need windfarms anymore…strap people to treadmills…with a promise of food, a sleep rope, and even a MS voucher, for those who generate the most ‘leccy

    • DONAGHMORE WORKHOUSE-
      THESE WAILING WALLS……….

      SADNESS SEEPS FROM EVERY WALL
      HORROR HOWLS IN EVERY HALL,
      A CHILD WITH ONLY DAYS TO LIVE
      HER MOTHER NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE,
      BROUGHT HER TO THIS PLACE IN HOPE,
      NO LONGER LIFE IN HER TO COPE
      IN HERE IS BAD BUT OUTSIDE WORSE,
      EATING GRASS TOO WEAK TO CURSE.
      THE MEN WHO BROUGHT THEM DOWN TO THIS
      THE MOTHER TURNS AND TRIES TO KISS
      SOME LIFE IN TO HER STARVING CHILD,
      AS OUT THE BACK THE CORPSES PILED,
      THE SMELL OF DEATH ON EVERY TREE,
      NO LIFE JUST WEEPING EIFEGYS,
      STARE ABOUT AND WONDER WHY,
      THE GOD THEY LOVED HAD PASSED THEM BY,
      AS CHILD AND MOTHER BREATHE THEIR LAST,
      GHOSTS COME HOWLING FROM THE PAST,
      NO MAN SHOULD HAVE TO DIE THIS WAY,
      THANK GOD THAT I AM HERE TODAY
      TO HEED THESE WAILING WALLS.

  11. The devastating effects on society of the thirty-plus years of the neoliberal experiment should come as no surprise: that’s precisely what it was designed to do – brazenly enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. What is surprising, is why there has been so little opposition to this unrelenting, vicious assault on working-class living standards? Just why have so many of capitalism’s victims become so supine, prepared to simply roll over and take it, rather than fighting back?

    • frank begbie

      What is surprising, is why there has been so little opposition to this unrelenting, vicious assault on working-class living standards? Just why have so many of capitalism’s victims become so supine, prepared to simply roll over and take it, rather than fighting back?

      Probably because the majority of people don’t know whats really going on, and believe all the propaganda in the media.

  12. frank begbie

    The UK did not have an overly generous welfare system despite the claims made by all three political parties. The main reason the social security system became so complicated is years of thinly designed cuts, bodges, anti-fraud initiatives and endless schemes aimed at trying to cure people of unemployment. The reason the social security is so expensive is largely down to the astronomical costs involved simply in keeping a roof over your head in the UK.

    Exactly!
    People don’t realize that cuts have been going on for decades, under all governments.

  13. Another death caused by the DWP, they & IDS are guilty of murder – http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/benefits-row-dad-takes-life-1875339 -

    • So deeply sad, My heart goes out to him and his family. I have no doubt that Ian Dung Can Snifffy is clenching his fist and shouting “So what! this proves our tough decisions are working”…..
      How many more good people in this country have to die before things change. Sadly I suspect the answer is far too many.

      • Begs the question.., where are the likes of Save the Children & the Red Cross while all this is happening? They are conspicuous by their silence,

        • The big charitable organisations in this country have long ago become big profitable corporations. Look at how many of these charitable company’s use workfare. Look how many did not object to the destruction of the ILF. Charities do care but only about their bottom line. It may seem unfair to generalise but increasingly this is the case. Consider the amounts paid to the director’s of these charities, what happened to philanthropy?

          • That is so true, I remember when a charity shop used to serve a dual purpose… (1) raise funds for the charity and (2) provide cheap and affordable items for people to buy.
            Nowadays most of the items in the shops are priced on a par with, or above, second hand shops… which is particularly galling when you consider that most of their stock has been gifted to them for nothing.

            • That is so true, some time ago in the local BHF shop they had some Primark tat, mainly dresses, that they were selling for more than what they originally cost in Primark itself!

  14. dobie grey….drift away…

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  16. We’re fast becoming a first world-third world country like the USA. An American friend of mine came to the UK 20 years ago. She couldn’t believe what an integrated society we had compared with the US. She also said that the British attitude to those who had fallen on hard times was a lot more humane here in the UK .

    Now she thinks otherwise-she is seeing the Americanisation of Britain; ie if you are poor you are to blame. If you are ill or disabled, you are to blame. For God’s sake WISE UP British people- this is doublethink on a grand scale and a load of sodding Daily Mail et al readers are swallowing this poisonous message whole. Hmm, how will they cope when they are made redundant, become ill, or become disabled??

    We no longer live in a civilised society and if i could afford it and was not chronically ill I would leave this bear pit of a nation.

    • The vast majority of Daily heil readers are far too blinkered to see beyond the next episode of fail factor or Britains got stupid. What is really worrying is that this feed on the weakest mentality, is not only mainstream but ENJOYED by so many. This country, sorry this planet is completely, wholeheartedly and sincerely doomed.

  17. Your posts jv are just becoming repetitive, relentless misery. How many times can anyone write ids and his gang are bastards? How many people can retell their stories of despair? How can this government get away with stealing benefits that is still being paid by workers through N.I. contributions and to which the poor NOT THE RICH are entitled to?
    Apathy reigns in America ids would be shot by now.

  18. Bernadette H

    @guy, Its not JVs posts that are ‘relentless misery’ its us!!!
    We are all becoming tired and weary with the barrage of government policies that are hurting us.
    Time to come together more and fight these cretins. Now is not the time to give in or give up.We spread the word and fight TOGETHER.

  19. Bernadette H

    I agree but nobody appears to be fighting against them that can be of any use i.e. the shadow cabinet or the unions. Myself I will always be a tireless campaigner against injustice but I feel some different topics are needed in between the misery, perhaps on current affairs or newspaper articles.

    • fawkes..listen to dobie gray…drift away…i find these pages empowering…this has happened coz…others who claim to work in the interests of the downtrodden…double speak..with their collective collusive behaviors, have given away our power we are on our own! individual resistance is very very powerful,little victories…the mass protest will come…

    • Landless Peasant

      Thatcher pegged it, that was a brief respite from the usual misery.

  20. @guy – I think I know what you are saying makes sense in the same way that constantly reading ‘misery memoirs’ (or even self-help books) would be counter-productive for some of us. Somehow or another, a tipping point has got to come – maybe many, many separate tipping points at individual & collectively when people will say ‘enough’, loudly enough to … (insert cliche/hope here) . In the meantime, reading the cold, hard facts is going to help some people with this, but the going is getting tough(er). It seems strange when things are getting to this, whatever helps – or doesn’t help – (sometimes it’s music) – bring about feelings of elation/hopefulness. The combination of listening to Leonard Cohen/reading this blog might not be everyone’s cup of tea … so it might be ‘kill or cure’.

    (At least) 2 things this week/last have added to feelings of great sadness/foreboding; then again – ‘information is power & they might also be helping some people to ‘focus’/formulate plan(s)/action(s). The link at the top of these comments to ‘autogenocide’ should probably carry a warning of some kind. The other was the grim FOI request ‘The Effects of Sanction on the Teaching Profession’ made by the deputy head of a primary school, and the DWP’s robotic reply that caused a chain reaction of replies/added comments – hard to read but also somehow ‘required’ reading. (I’m hoping lots of people saw it & the responses to it). The autogenocide link was (for me) only possible to digest in bits(!). Both were/are distressing/depressing &, as I think you’re saying – there’s a need for some contrast/light relief … but as well as saying that, i’m tempted to think “it’s all good”. Although it isn’t (‘all good’). Maybe ‘it’s all gravy’ – (note,Ms McVey, ‘gravy’ not ‘stock’).

  21. Dont believe all you read in the papers,thats exactly why we are in the mess we,re in.

  22. murray

    Your right a lot of what you read is either bias or pure propaganda and the reason why I would perhaps like to discuss other issues such as the children held captive for 10 years in Ohio or the young 19 year old chechnyan setting off bombs with his brother. I think such issues are important to discuss also when you consider why a school bus driver would want to do such a thing and the same applies to the chechnyan brothers
    I just think something inbetween the incessant welfare reform issues which I hope will see this government held up before a human rights court for the way it is misusing NI contributions and robbing those that should be entitled. I do not believe the electorate who are paying into this system want to see those entitled deprived no matter what propoganda they put out there, Atos should be abolished altogether so too the wp providers.

  23. From the Torygraph, I presume this would only apply to the poorest elderly – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2983652/Baroness-Warnock-Dementia-sufferers-may-have-a-duty-to-die

  24. one cannot owe oneself…heat..shelter..food..without these we suffer misery..without these vitals we become rapidly ill…with the context of these facts read and weep…
    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/11/23/being-poor-like-being-corpse-at-funeral-says-govt-minister/

  25. Donkey – It’s about time that Freud was a corpse along with IDS.

    Shirlynott – thankyou for your reply to my wanting some light relief from the incessant misery and your perception was spot on.

  26. Donkey the link within your link to Gingerbread highlights the plight of lone parents and a charity I did and still do support because lone parents actually run their own local Gingerbread group themselves on top of being mother and father and breadwinner, but found one of the comments on the link very pertinent as follows:-

    V.P.S.M
    Report post
    09 December 2012 23:48

    Why is he targeting and criticsing lone parents. Oh yes because we are an easy terget. I read no criticsm in his report for the absent parent though. People have various reasons why they are lone parents. i.e death of a partner, abusive relationship, and if they (parents) stay social services step in and in the worse case children have been removed for being in a violent envrionment. I therefore ask what are supposed to do, stay with them (violent partner) so as not to upset the government. Also no one wants to use the word but a women could have been raped became pregnant and decide to have her baby. None of the above are life style choices Mr Lord Frued they are life circumatances and we all do the best we can. What a damn shame this government are not as tough on the banks,criminals and tax evaders as they are on lone parents and other vulnerable groups i.e the sick, mentally ill, and the disabled. Sorry but someone to be brave enough and say it

    • fawkes..our govt.that weren’t elected listen…and willfully do the opposite, to shock, numb and wind people up, to frustrate and take the piss, to show us the little real power, we have..they thumb their noses at us…that is their mentality…children in charge of the sweetie jar….our sweetie jar…pugin’s palace…is the playground of the rich and powerful toffs….

    • fawkes…our weren’t elected govt…listen and willfully do the opposite…to shock numb disempower frustrate take the piss out of…coz they know we have little power…they have firm grasp on our vitals, and this is their power, and they know it…they play with us, like a cat plays with a mouse, before the kill and eat it…. pugins palace is play ground for toffs…

  27. That is simply because we have no means to fight back,monetarily speaking.

  28. It’s just one big gravy train which royalty and the political/business class ride for all it’s worth.
    Only unions brought bargaining power to the rest of us at one time, not so now most are colluding with the above for their own ends also.
    I think we should open a bank account that people can donate to but no-one can withdraw from until 2015 the next election. Use it to pay to put up independents throughout the country to challenge the closed shop two party system. Each independent representing the peoples movement, I would donate to that.

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