Johnny Void calls for an end to benefit sanctions and the prosecution of the ministers who have inflicted them – often unnecessarily – on people, as “economic terrorists”. This is a position with which we should sympathise. For the amount of fraud in the UK, this behaviour is entirely disproportionate and dehumanising, not just to claimants but to DWP staff. I have been saying on Vox Political, for many months, that the system needs to be dismantled completely, and a new one put together with claimant care as its centre. At the moment, the aim is to make claiming benefits either impossible or the least palatable option, in order to persuade people to buy insurance policies against job losses. These policies are sold by the Unum Corporation which, by no coincidence at all, is also the private business that has been advising the DWP for all these years.

the void

terrorism-definitionAbsolute poverty, as in having no money at all, is all-encompassing, meaning it is almost impossible to think about anything else and it impacts on every area of life.  Relationships with family and friends fracture, self-esteem is demolished, emotions range from stark terror to utter despair.  Poverty removes the freedom to act rationally and assess situations in the long term and so creates its own vicious trap.  The entire pay day loan industry is based on the fact that people with nothing will agree to any terms to get cash in their pocket and food in their bellies.

Having no money can lead people to borrow from friends and family with no idea how they will pay it back or commit – and get caught for – crimes they would never normally consider.  Such is the psychological anguish of long term poverty that some people will spend money on drugs…

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