Atos, bedroom tax, benefit, benefits, blogger, carer, Coalition, Conservative, council, council tax, debt, Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Work and Pensions, disability, Disability Living Allowance, disabled, DLA, DWP, economy, Employment and Support Allowance, ESA, government, Grant Shapps, Liberal, Liberal Democrat, local authority, member, Mike Sivier, mikesivier, MP, Parliament, pension, people, Pickles Poll Tax, politician, politics, Reform, tax, Tories, Tory, UC, Universal Credit, Vox Political, welfare
If I could force Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, politicians, and supporters to read what follows, I would. It was sent to me today in response to my article, Bedroom tax will put people on streets while homes go empty, and details exactly what the author – a fellow blogger going by the monicker Clarebelz – expects will happen to her after the bedroom tax and other so-called welfare ‘reforms’ come into effect, starting in April 2013.
This is not fiction.
It is what this person expects to become her reality.
While you are reading it, please ask yourself: Do you want to live in a society that treats its most vulnerable like this?
“I went shopping today to my local town with my carers. I only go a couple of times a year to get necessary things that are not available either online or at my local village. I had to pay for these things with a credit card.
“As the deadline for paying bedroom tax and council tax draws near I, along with others commenting here and elsewhere, are feeling ever more hopeless about the whole situation. I just wanted to go to bed when I came back, unable to face another day worrying about how the hell I’m going to manage when I’m hardly managing now.
“I pay back out of my DLA and ESA to the local authority £3,000 per year (it’s a myth that people with no assets pay nothing for care). My care plan has just been reduced by 25 per cent, the LA justifying that by saying, “We don’t fund that activity/job anymore”. Initially they wanted to cut it by 75 per cent, but I took advice and fought it. The activities/jobs that they won’t fund I still need, which will cost in the region of another £1,500 per year. When I next have a financial review, if they don’t reduce my contribution to take account of this, and I’m forced to pay rent and council tax, this will wipe out my food budget.
“And, if I lose out under Universal Credit, then I may as well just end it all because I am not going to be forced to go cap in hand to family or friends to survive; I couldn’t stand the humiliation after all I’ve been through both personally and physically, and such a situation makes you very vulnerable to abuse. A friend of mine had her DLA taken away and because of her mortgage costs she was left with £12 per week to live on (she daren’t apply for a flat anywhere as most are in horrible blocks that are drug/thief ridden). Her so-called friends offered help willingly at first, then they started bullying her and taking advantage of her. She got her DLA back, but she is still in a terrible psychological state because of the way people treated her. No thank you: I’m not going to go through that!
“Prior to complete destitution, I intend to demonstrate/beg on my street. I’m going to make large boards with my message on it, and get my carers to wheel me onto the main road to sit all day if necessary, so that the whole community can see what the government are doing to the vulnerable. I refuse to be hidden away like I was many times before when I used to go days or even a week at a time without heat, light or food. And whole winters without heat. No, this time I’m going to make sure that everyone knows. I’ll have nothing left to lose.
“This disgusting, despicable government has stolen the last two years from me through fear. I’ve just started painting again and doing other creative things that I used to, but it’s really hard to feel inspired when you’ve had the life sucked out of you, especially when your illness leaves you with little life left to do anything.
“I say that I’ll end it all, but really, we need to stick around so that the public can see our predicament. It’s just like others, it all feels so hopeless.
“By the way, my care plan assessor inquired about the bedroom tax for me from someone she knows at the DWP. The assessor said that the bedroom tax hits those of working age, which I knew anyway, but – interestingly – she said that the DWP person told her that the government has informed them that, once they have dealt with housing benefit in relation to people of working age, they will then move on to apply the same sanctions to pensioners, because many larger homes belong to pensioners who won’t move.
“So yet again the government are liars. Two years ago this autumn, Grant Shapps stated in a TV interview that the new rules would not apply to existing tenants; obviously not true. You can’t believe a word they say.
“Well, sorry to go on and on, but it’s been one of those days when I feel like, “What’s the point?” My home doesn’t even feel like my home any more; I have recurrent nightmares of my clothes and all my belongings strewn in the street, and my coming home to find a family have just moved in.
“It’s a horrible feeling.”