Friday, January 08, 2010

Frightening Read of the Day

The deaths of Christelle Pardo and her little boy show just how screwed up our system is. Those able to work are offered benefits but those unable to are refused. Seems like all they care about is getting something back. Note that because the jobseekers allowance was cut off because she was pregnant, no guy, not even a single dad in an otherwise totally similar situation, could find themselves in the same horrific predicament.*

*Thanks to Incurable Hippie, currently guest-blogging at The F-Word for pointing this out to me in an email!


Gappy said...

A disgrace. I can't remember who it was that said a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, but it's true I think.


Punitive government policy is responsible for causing the deaths of Ms. Pardo and her son. But then individuals who migrate to the UK in order to improve their lives are commonly viewed as 'scroungers' and should not be entitled to any financial support.

Directing attention towards Jobseekers who rightly claim benefits when they are unemployed is a strategy which deflects attention away from the main issue. The issue is the state has a duty to provide financial assistance to anyone who is in dire financial need and this includes foreign-born women who because of circumstances beyond their control are subjected to punitive state control. Ms. Pardo was not a 'scrounger' but she had the disadvantage of not being British born and this in itself is the issue not 'vulnerability.'

The welfare system is a bureacrat's paradise and has innumerable conditions which if the claimant is unable to meet automatically means they will not receive any benefit whatsoever. Furthermore, the delays individuals experience when attempting to claim their rightful income support because they are not 'entitled to jobseekers' allowance' is monstrous. The aim is clear - put as many obstacles as possible in the path of anyone who through no fault of their own needs state financial assistance and hey presto the number of individuals claiming benefits decreases by a huge margin.

Blame lies with central government and particularly the current government which is determined to punish anyone who becomes unemployed - because 'the jobs are out there.' Plus individuals but especially women who are foreign-born and migrate to the UK in order to improve their chances of finding work are commonly subjected to even more stringent controls. I've witnessed it myself wherein a foreign-born woman was denied any benefits because she did not meet the 'rigid guidelines' set by this labour government.

I also know the period between claiming and actually receiving income support if a person is not eligible for the punitive weekly job seeker's allowance is appalling. It takes many weeks before the DWP routinely examines individual cases claiming Income Support and even though claimants demand to know how they are expected to survive - bureacracy is not interested. The aim is clear - make it almost impossible for anyone to claim rightful financial assistance and reduce public spending in respect of helping disadvantaged individuals - not 'vulnerable' because it is not 'vulnerability' which causes such blatant disregard but disadvantage.

Yet labour government continues to claim it 'cares about the disadvantaged!'

Gappy said...

You seem unhappy about my use of the word 'vulnerable', Jennifer.

But I don't understand. Ms Pardo had a young child and no income, so I really don't think it was an inapropriate word to use. Surely disadvantage by its very nature renders people vulnerable.

I certainly didn't mean to come across as patronising, but the story made me feel sad, aswell as angry.