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Two years ago, Vox Political warned that the legacy of the London Paralympics would be the loss of disability benefits for the British athletes who took part.
“They have proven they’re fit enough to work and therefore don’t need [the money],” is how this blog’s article of the time described the situation. “Right?”
Gratitude goes to Tom Pride for drawing attention to the plight of basketball player Jon Pollock, who has been refused any benefits at all since he became unemployed after the Games.
His situation is exactly as Vox Political predicted in September 2012. Following up on previous warnings that the Coalition government had launched a campaign of hate against ordinary people who had been claiming incapacity or disability benefits, the article stated: “We knew that, once the chance for profile-boosting photo opportunities were over… the disability pogrom would be extended to paralympians.”
How true those words were.
On the website Inside the Games, Mr Pollock said: “”I retired after London and since then I’m not entitled to benefits because lottery funding isn’t taxable.
“So when I go and apply for a job, the woman in the job centre said I should do charity work. But that doesn’t pay the bills. “The job centre have been absolutely useless.”
Mr Pollock, who has spina bifida, said: “I’ve given everything I have to my career and now I just feel like I’ve been tossed on the scrap heap. If I’d given two decades of service to anything else, I’d be fine but disability sport is just not recognised as a career it seems.”
British Wheelchair Basketball says Mr Pollock declined support that was available, but this seems questionable. If you have a choice between spending two years looking fruitlessly for work and accepting help to plan a career after sport, you’d take the help – unless it wasn’t worth having, which would be par for the course with our useless unelected government.
Why aren’t ministers queueing up to tell us how well the UK treats disabled people who could have had normal careers but chose to represent their country instead?
They’re nowhere to be seen – because there isn’t a photo opportunity involved.
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