Austerity the sequel: how to rub out sick and disabled people who survived the first round

Another morning at Stockport jobcentre! – and straightaway, a reminder that energy companies have been trying to freeze some groups of people to death for a while – ie before this year, when energy companies decided to line up the rest of us.

I’m speaking to Chris, who is in her 50s. Chris has heart problems, diabetes and COPD. She has spent time in homeless hostels in the last few years.

Like many people at the jobcentre at the moment, somewhere in her mind, Chris lives on tenterhooks wondering who will finally rub her out: her energy company, or the DWP. Could be a dead heat, of course. They’re both putting a lot into it.

Chris’ energy company is currently hoovering money out of her paltry benefits for arrears repayments that she ran up when she had a place to live. Energy prices have long been out of Chris’s reach (I’ve written before about people in this situation) – upshot being that Chris is used to approaching winter in the crash position.

Which is exactly what she is doing now. “I’ve got no gas at the moment, because they’re taking £10 a week arrears off me, as well as it [prices] going up. So, I can’t afford gas.” Can’t say this bodes well for someone with a serious lung condition, but I can absolutely say that news of Chris’ situation will be music to Tory ears. This winter is their big chance to finish off a few of the poverty-stricken sick and disabled people who’ve somehow managed to cling on through Austerity One. Infamous leaky bumzit Jeremy Hunt knows perfectly well that these people are not going to survive Austerity Two and energy price rises, even if they’d really like to. But there we go. Such is austerity in the Tory mind. What’s a few more bodies on the pile.

For now, we can all surely agree that Chris and everyone at her end of late-capitalism’s great washout starts the new price cap era absolute miles behind. After that, I guess it’s just a matter of how long her lungs last.

Of course – the DWP is also busy lining Chris up for a hearse. She was getting sickness benefits, but then some wag in the department sent her for a work capability assessment and the DWP decided she was fit for work. Genius.

Chris didn’t appeal this decision, because she was worried that she wouldn’t have any money while she appealed. She didn’t know what to do, or who to ask, so “I just took it… I was in a homeless unit and if I wasn’t getting money, it wouldn’t be paid for, because they are large amounts, the rent.” So, now Chris spends her days coughing her way up the street to the Restart building for various useless back-to-work courses. Things are definitely going to end well for her.


81 thoughts on “Austerity the sequel: how to rub out sick and disabled people who survived the first round

  1. Truss has caved in on protecting Pensions but you can bet they’re gonna throw Benefits claimants under a bus. After 10 years of cuts to already grossly inadequate Benefits the amount left to live on is now beyond impossible. Foodbanks can’t feed everyone, energy bills are pure fantasy, and people will starve.

      • Things are gonna get worse..

        “What me worry? I should care,
        Shit for brains, wire for hair,
        I’ve seen the future and I ain’t there,
        Things are gonna get worse.

        Velcro slippers and a spandex wasteband,
        Washed up on Planet Wasteland,
        Zipped up like a nylon spaceman,
        Things are gonna get worse.

        Things are gonna get worse, nurse,
        Things are gonna get rotten.
        Make that hearse reverse, nurse,
        I’m trying to remember everything that I’ve forgotten.

        Things are gonna get worse nurse,
        things are gonna get crappy,
        colour me perverse nurse,
        bad news always makes me happy.

        Things are gonna get worse nurse,
        things are gonna get dismal,
        smite me with a curse nurse,
        make it something real abysmal

        Things are gonna get worse nurse
        I ain’t optimistic
        I’ve got a mouth like a purse nurse
        and a bungalow smelling of piss and biscuits

        things are gonna get worse nurse,
        murder by statistics,
        take me back to the first verse,
        the last ones just too pessimistic

        Euthanasia – that sounds good,
        An Alpine neutral neighbourhood,
        Then back to Britain, all dressed in wood,
        Things are gonna get worse.”

        John Cooper Clarke

  2. The Government & energy companies have said that they will not cut of electric & gas if you are vulnerable or a pensioner, which is a blatant lie. Yet again the most vulnerable are paying the cost with their lives. Yet again it is the Tory state sponsored murder of the the poor & vulnerable & disabled. Once these Tories get kicked out they will be criminally charge under the Human Rights Act which they are trying to scrap for that reason. The UK Bill Of Rights is also illegal under the Human Rights Act. So Tory MP’s start getting nervous because that is your only job defending against disability Human Rights. 4 Tory Prime Ministers & their Cabinets over 12 years. Trashing Human Rights.

  3. The Tories are criminals hiding behind politics. If it is politics it is not a criminal matter. What does that make the Tories getting their lawyers in because the can not get through the UK Bill Of Rights because the Tories can’t involve that in their Brexit plan.. Why? Because it is breaking Human Laws, which mean Brexit is illegal under the Human Rights Act. Unless they sort out Brexit which the have not done. Which makes Brexit Null & Void like the fracking vote.

  4. Larry the Downing street cat that has been through 4 Prime Ministers thought he was going to have a quiet day today.

    • Haha I was just listening to my cat purring in my ear hole and was thinking we humans over-complicate things and have a lot to learn from our feline friends ?

  5. Boris Johnson is the new Prime Minster Part 2. The Tories are in a state because they have spent 7 months of 2022 on holiday, so they are snowed under with work they have not done. Slackers. With Boris in, there will not be an early General Election. Business as usual back to square one. Or is it Back To The Future Part 5 !!

    Budget delayed till 2023. The Unity Party, because they have ditched the Tories will be championing disability with disability champions at the DWP concentration camps with yellow stars & triangles to be stuck on your forehead for recognition of position & treatment at the DWP. Once you have a set of 5 yellow triangles & stars you will get a bonus of becoming a DWP Disability Champion to face the world outside the DWP.

    The DWP rivers of blood policy is Universal Credit’s success in it’s failure of Human Rights for disabled people.

  6. I clicked on ‘Comment’, so I should put something here, because that’s what you do when you comment; you write something.
    I can’t empathise, not at this point in my personal life, but I can sympathise in bloody spades. I suspect my sense of humour (and this must apply to you too Kate) is quite literally the barrier against a heart attack or collapse of some kind…because I am angry for so much of the time now. It takes most of my day up.

    A year ago the military kicked in a councillor for me at the point of moving here; -and why that happened. We got on, but she was shocked when I filled in the assessment thingy, at how much time I spent in fury. It isn’t anything to do (in my case) with depression or mental illness: it is powerlessness. I can do fuck all.
    I can read these tales of the lives of so many; of N; of this lass; of Trev-when you are on the bones of; and I and we, can do nothing about the scum sucking shits responsible for it.

    I watched an earlier showing of Question Time on the day that that nonentity resigned, and…well, I had a bad reaction when Jess (Blairite) Phillips mentioned that the Tory scumminess had overshadowed the fact that the report on the institutional abuse of children; after bloody years; had been released, and had gone unnoticed because of those scumbags. I’ve been waiting for that report; it is damned important to me; it took a fucking long time, and they destroyed any impact. In fact, I haven’t seen anything reported? Was Phillips right?
    I’ll check.
    ..and now these vile pond scum are talking about recycling Johnson!!

    I’m sorry; I know full well that I’m rabbiting on. What the Right has done is abuse. Systematic abuse of the disadvantaged.
    What can you say? This really is legalized murder.

    • What gets me (among other things) is that the bastards abolished Sick notes and got away with it, so you can’t even go on the sick and claim Income Support anymore if you are genuinely ill, they will over-rule the NHS doctors and say that you are fit for work. And then they raised State Pension age as well and also got away with that. I reckon that many of the older long-term unemployed are most likely unfit for work but are unable to get sick notes therefore have no choice but to claim unemployment benefit and go through the motions of applying for jobs for the sake of it, and attending pointless back-to-work schemes ad infinitum to enable Provider companies to profit from the commodification of the unemployed. All of which sucks. And on top of that they keep us at below poverty level by cutting benefits with every Budget, and again they get away with doing it. Meanwhile we read of Boris Johnson’s holidays in the sun, and Rishi Sunak’s new swimming pool, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s £90 Million investment portfolio, and then get told it’s all our fault for buying too much foreign cheese, etc. while they fit a revolving door to no.10

      • It comes down to Tory State Sponsored Murder for profit of the sick & disabled. I had a life long sick note & travel pass before the Tories put the cash cow price on the sick & disabled & the poor. I now have a button phobia [If you can push a button you can work] My button phobia prevents me from phone calls, emails, doing their dirty leg work running about as well as many other problems like shirt buttons, buy tickets to travel buttons as well as chocolate buttons. So could you put it in writing in a letter on paper format so there is a paper trial !! Medicals are going to be impossible to prove of not prove I have a button phobia, let alone a home visit. Once everyone gets wind of button phobia’s they will all want a button phobia as the new Covid Virus to fuck up the DWP & the Tories. Fraud !! I don’t think so. Tory fraud !!! Totally. There has been & huge rise in the number of people on the long term sick, which makes me think, how do millions of people all of a sudden get on the long term sick so easy. Have they all got Long Covid all of a sudden or a button phobia !! Anyway, I am now getting a office furniture phobia to add to my button phobia.

        • I think I’m also at risk of developing ‘button phobia’ in so much as it’s something that worries me since I heard about such a thing existing as a potential condition people can suffer from, i.e. Umbilical hernia. Not good.

  7. My heart goes out to Chris, and everyone like her, who are stuck in the Tory Hunger Games!

    They play with our lives as if we are nothing – but then I guess, to them, we are!

    That this is still happening, in 2022, shows just how deep the rot goes.

    Despite the false Austerity started in 2008, which will just continue on into Austerity 2.0, now; despite the loss of so much income, due to the fcukup that is Brexit; despite the continuous funneling of Tax Payer’s money, out into the Cayman Islands, and other Tax Havens around the world, via Tory Donors & business partners, the UK is still rich enough to be able to look after their ill/disabled/elderly/vulnerable – it’s just that they simply choose NOT to!

    As someone disabled myself, I live in a permanent stew of fear & rage!

    I fear what this new lot of Tory wasters are going to put us through – after all, it’s we disabled who caused all this crises, isn’t it? Well, according to them, it is!

    I’m also absolutely incandescent with rage at the total injustice that the Tories can, once again, bypass our democratic rights, & choose, yet again, one of their own wasters as the new PM!

    I also dread to think that it will be #BorisLetTheDeadPileHighJohnson, who’ll be back as PM, despite being fined for Partygate; despite being sacked for being such a liar; & despite committing multiple cases of manslaughter, as he let thousands of UK citizens die!

    I just simply don’t recognise this post-Brexit Britain that we’re being forced to exist in – but then, with the costs of the Tory greedfest being put onto our shoulders, I shouldn’t think that many of us will still be alive once it’s all over, because two more years of the Tories is really going to bring that death toll higher!

    • The irony is that Boris rushes in ostensibly to save their party from implosive factionalism by creating yet another destructive faction in the attempt to redefine the Conservativism that he himself has helped to destroy! Mind you, Starmer could be said to have done the same thing to the Labour Party in banishing the Left to create the illusion of unity.

    • I am also disabled & what people don’t realize is that anybody could become disabled at any moment, so they are not protected in any way what so ever. The Tory Government should be charged under the Disability Hate Crimes which no one has ever been charged as of yet, because they have broken every Disability Hate Crime Laws & Human Rights. The bigger picture is the UK should be ashamed that they let it happen because they feel it has nothing to do with them, which is even worse.

        • I think what was meant is that it is old news, food banks & all that doom that is now infecting the middles classes that are just waking up after 12 years of Tory failures.

          • That’s it Stepping.

            Sorry Trev, I meant that other than the parasitic rich who seem to thrive on the poverty of others; the working model for the rest of us is doom. Nothing gets better; it gets worse, and destroys those who least can cope with it.

            That’s what I meant by ‘history’.
            And now we have a PM who is richer than King Chas.
            Damn right we’re doomed.

          • Oh yes, a new PM, Liz Truss has regenerated into Jodie Whittaker… I mean Rishi Sunak. It’s getting very confusing. That’s right, Rishi Sunak is the new Time Lord. (and we’re doomed).

  8. Yes Frazer We’re all doomed I say – Don’t panic, don’t panic it’s Jonesey – Captain Mainwaring Pike you stupid boy. We are all character’s in Dad’s Army with a part to play in saving the nation – Oh really Captain Wilson goes.

  9. Boris is just waiting for the new Tory leader to fail, whoever it was [give about 4 weeks] & then Boris will go for leader again, with another leadership race. November will be strikes strikes strikes & the UK at a standstill.

  10. What action are the Tories doing in helping disabled people in power cuts !! We keep hearing how the disabled need to be helped first in some propaganda statement that the disabled are being well cared for & looked after by the Tory Government. Yet the disabled that are sort of disabled but not really disabled that are in the WCA WAG groups are in no Tory Man’s Land & can sort of work but not really.

    You are only disabled if you go on Strictly Come Dancing, which should really be called Strictly Come Wheel Chair Dancing or perhaps that won’t get the big viewing figures. The Tory Party are now disabled with very limited movement in doing any thing let alone boil an egg. Let’s help the disabled Tory Party get back on their feet & start working because they know they can but their disability is holding them back from doing any work. You can’t have your disabled cake & eat it Tories.

  11. The least amount of unemployment, the most amount of job vacancies !!!
    There is a black hole there, or is it a contradiction !!
    The unemployed on Universal Credit are not an unemployment figure, they are in employment working for their benefit on Universal Credit.

    • A DWP spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the £6.4 million covered the “design, development and maintenance of the website”.

      He said in a statement: “The figure of £6.4 million relates to an extensive programme of work over a three-year period, to design, develop and maintain the Support with Employee Health and Disability service, an early and limited version of which has entered public testing.

      “The service continues to be developed and expanded in response to feedback from small business users and expert stakeholders, with spend on areas including detailed research, digital build, management and marketing costs.”

      • A drop in the ocean compared to the Billions squandered by Iain Duncan Smith (aka plain old George Smith) and Lord Fraud on developing Universal Credit, and done during so-called Austerity too! It takes the piss.

    • This is such shit. Used to half-joke that they wouldn’t be happy until they’d killed everyone, but think I’ll stop half-joking about that. Suppose they’ve decided that one way to avoid the otherwise inevitable electoral oblivion they face is to take out the electorate.

      • I’m already living without heating and so are many others I’ve spoken to, just wait til the Winter really kicks in, people will die. Money goes nowhere on food shopping and bills. And what else are they going to cut? Policing again? Where I live the streets are unsafe, ive seen youths in black balaclavas in the town centre in broad daylight, on a night they’re running around the streets with machetes and swords chucking fireworks about and not a copper in sight. Seriously, people dare not leave their houses after dark. On top of that the foodbank situation is beyond a joke, should never have to exist in the first place never mind stretched to such incredible lengths now. Society is falling apart at the seams.

        • Is it that we forget what happened in the past, so today seems worse?
          I remember before I went to Oz that I could not afford the heating in my flat (under floor), and only had it on for Christmas week. I used my thumbnail to scrape the frost off the window to look out.
          It was much colder then, and there was no double glazing. BUT:

          I was not living in a society where so few had so much money, and flaunted it. Where it was justified as if it was normal, and everyone could be like that, they just had to ‘work harder’.
          I was not living in a society where employee enslavement was rationalized and sanitized by being called a ‘gig economy’.
          Where it is legal for an employer to give no work at all, and if you try to get work when ‘contracted’ to them, they will ensure you get no work at all. And that’s legal. And it’s justified.
          Where not just the wealthy, but ordinary people can get food delivered by human packhorses, who wait around in the streets scanning their phones for the next job.

          I have never seen anything like this. We have NO Police here, and it is starting to show. They are based in Harrogate. The worse part of that (for me) is how this is justified by senior Police. How decreasing services are justified.

          I wish I could say something positive, I really wish I could. But until we unite as a society and quite literally stage a revolt (it even sounds silly., doesn’t it?), -nothing will change.
          Where this has occurred in ‘less civilised’ countries, Governments have been forced to bring in changes very quickly to save their worthless souls.

          Ahhh sod it.

          • Well some of that is very true Linda, when I was a kid there was no central heating or double glazing, ice on inside of bedroom windows, toilet out in the yard. Getting up for school in a freezing bedroom, getting dressed as fast as you could, no heating upstairs apart from a paraffin stove on the landing that gave off awful fumes. But we have supposedly progressed since the 1960s/70s.

    • Quelle surprise!

      Keir Starmer accepts £55bn ‘black hole’ calculation

      “Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he accepts that there is a £55bn gap in the public finances, a figure provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

      Whether or not there is a “black hole” that must be filled with tax rises or spending cuts has been a point of debate.”

      Economists question ‘black hole’ in UK finances

      ” A group of economists has questioned UK assertions that a “black hole” in the public finances will need to be filled with austerity measures and tax rises.

      The centre-left Progressive Economy Forum said the £50bn “hole” disappears entirely if the debts are calculated differently.”

    • Watched it. I despair. We have already seen the very worst outcome of damp homes.
      What these scum have done is forced people (like you) to go without heating, or heat one room only (I was reading how a whole family has moved into one room. In 2022. In a first world country).

      Uneven temperature in a house may also cause damp. If it gets really cold, unheated pipes……God!

      I spend Christmas alone. (I prefer it, -one of the lucky ones that doesn’t get lonely). But how can I go and get stuff? More than I need. In this environment. I can’t.
      I really am not being a martyr. I can’t do it. I’ve been thinking about this for days.
      We have a great pie shop down the road. They do a great lamb and mint pie.
      That’s what I will have. I cannot; I really cannot understand how people can have a bingey Christmas in this environment.

      I won’t go and serve Christmas lunch to homeless people at the church. The though of turning up once a year to do ‘good works’ is … I would not commit to regular help. I know it. So doing that is rank hypocrisy.
      There is something I can do. I am so pleased that our local foodbank is apparently well sponsored, but elsewhere isn’t. That I can do.

      ..and I have to tell you all, that because I am not struggling, I feel a greater and greater divide with this blog. I don’t empathise; I have to sympathise.
      I’m 77. I have never seen anything like this in my life. We have lost every gain of the industrial revolution, and returned to the master/servant era; -in the 20/21st century!

      I don’t think this is depression; -that is an old enemy of mine, and it’s evil. But I now feel sad every bloody day about what these filthy scum are doing.
      And they get away with it because so many working class people support them. And because there is no effective opposition.

      I think this is called a rant..

      • I think you’re perfectly entitled to rant. The situation Is bloody incredible. But you enjoy your lamb pie, you are perfectly entitled to that too. Me, I work part-time at the foodbank year round and sometimes my shift has coincided with Christmas eve so I’ve done it because what else would I be doing, apart from watching the Great Escape probably. This year I’ll be working the Friday just before Christmas on the 23rd and no doubt it will be just as busy. As for the politicians, especially the Tories, we can’t put much faith in them or what they tell us because it’s all so heavily biased. The so-called “fiscal black hole” doesn’t really exist, it’s just a term they are using to refer to their own self-imposed target that they are going to miss according an economic forecast that’s as reliable as Astrology. So much for Austerity. But Putin’s war is something that is out of our hands (meaning we ordinary people) and we can only trust that NATO and TPTB know what they are doing in that regard. Having said all that it’s no fun being in a cold flat with no bloody heating on!

        • Thanks, Trev and Stepping.

          I helped a friend out, and she was able to give me that money back. I want to donate that money. The stupid thing for me was how to get a fair whack of food to my foodbank. I thought of a bloody taxi!
          I know these stores do the PR thing of sending people’s donations to foodbanks, but given their prices, and more particularly, food waste, I’m buggered if I will let them have any kudos on this.
          I rang my foodbank about this and was chuffed to hear that my one is heavily sponsored. It actually has enough coming in; how about that!

          This lass told me that it would be good to send a cheque to a struggling foodbank in say, Bradford.
          …And she mentioned the Trussell Trust….

          I have an inherent distrust of organised ‘business’ type foodbanks, and wasn’t all that happy with what I came up with, so I have looked at independent foodbanks today. God! there are so many of the poor sods!
          I’ve come up with the ‘Welcome Centre’?? which seems OK. Some are staunchly Christian based, and given that I question what the big G meant when he said ”suffer the little children who come unto me”, I am not keen on them.

          Any thoughts Trev?

          • The Welcome Centre is an independent foodbank covering the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire, and I know it well, it’s a good organisation.

          • Done. Only putting this, because it’s so bloody easy to say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’.

            A bit faffy, I got it wrong (predictably!) at first.
            Done through Aviva who are doubling donations until 13/12, so all good.

            Of course it makes me feel better! But sadly I know that this will only provide tucker for about a week..

    • That article staying warm what does it do to your body, is a joke. some idiot that likes ex-stream sport in a lab going from 25 degrees to 8 degrees in 30 seconds & his tips of you don’t need a hat to keep warm. Shops used to have cloakrooms so you would not walk about in hot shop then straight back into the cold to get a cold. These tips people give who have not got a clue about keeping warm. It’s all spend lots of money to save money. Now if you don’t have money to save money then you save money, Idiots !! Get an Air fryer spend money otherwise our business goes under.

      Masking tape or duct take to tape over the drafts, because its the drafts that are the killer to do with coldness it goes right through you & drafts effect you even if it is not very cold.

      Britain is in a state of shamefulness & is proud of it because keeping up with the Jones’s at christmas with your social friends means they can’t admit their cutting back so their spending at christmas is going to be more than ever, not letting uncle binge know we cant afford your happy food layout. So in the new year these people’s debts are going to be huge keeping up with the jones is going to put people in debt showing face as an idiot now moaning about what an idiot you are. Now they want to talk about poverty & they are still nowhere near it.

      • There is an element of keeping up with the Jones’ at Crimbo and the original message gets lost in a sea of consumerism. But you’ve just reminded me to put my woolly hat on!

        • I’m having beans & toast like every christmas because I don’t want something else !! Ahh poor me !! I have had decades of poverty so it is nothing new. These newbies are in trouble & they know it.

  12. The CBI are crying out for immigrant workers, Sunak tells them to “innovate”. The Brexiteers have quite predictably shot themselves in the foot, and I’m no expert in economics but neither are those in charge by the looks of things, and you can’t blame everything on Covid and Putin….

    UK faces worst downturn of any advanced economy, OECD says

    Mystic Rish! predicts bold future where innovation trumps immigration

    The truth that Rishi Sunak dare not speak: Britain still needs the EU

  13. Sounds like Labour have got the wrong end of the stick when it comes to calls to scrap the Work Capability Assessments and the whole issue of expecting sick and disabled people to work.

    “Labour plans to overhaul routes into work for sick or long-term unemployed”

    How about leaving people alone and refrain from stopping people from claiming State Benefits? Scrap the WCA, stop bullying sick people into applying for jobs, abolish Sanctions, stop sending elderly unemployed people on Back-to-Work schemes.

    • It is all part of the joy of being among the people that policy is done to. Labour just can’t let go of the idea that the lower orders always need… fixing.

      • Maybe, but it almost seems a bit more sinister than that, as if all political parties have the same hidden agenda at heart, that of the Protestant Work Ethic, the notion of working one’s way to Heaven or of forcing people to work for their own good because ‘they’ know better. But surely not, that’s getting into the realms of conspiracy theory. I was at Reed in Partnership (aka “Better Working Futures”) again today with all the other unemployed 60+ year old, even those with white hair and walking sticks, and whilst getting myself ready for today’s appointment I received two text messages and one phone call from Reed before I’d even left the house. They are also ringing me at home tomorrow for a telephone appointment and I’m booked in for yet another Interview Workshop again on Thursday morning. If not a conspiracy it’s hard to guess what their game is, apart from keeping themselves in a job and making money for the company. One thing’s for certain, nothing much will change under Nu Labour 2.0

      • Over the last decade or so a great many of my old friends and acquaintances have died, if I paused to add it up must be in the region of 30 people at least, mostly aged in their 50s and a few in their 60s, all short of reaching State Pension age. Duncan Smith’s lot, the CSJ, want to put Pension age up to 70 and they will get their way eventually.

  14. Seriously though, how the hell are we meant to live? When 75% of your income goes on electricity and you’ve used up your allotted allowance of foodbank sustenance, you’re still waiting for a possible Discretionary Hardship payment (or maybe you’ve already had one) and there’s another 3 months to go to the next installment of ‘bump up your Benefits’ (i.e. Cost-of-living payment), what do you do next? Where do you turn for help? The situation is fucking hopeless, and is beyond a crisis, it’s a bloody disaster, a national emergency. The Government AND the Opposition need to get their finger out and wake the fuck up, big time.

  15. Pingback: Why you can’t rely on getting a sympathetic DWP work coach | Kate Belgrave

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