As a carer, if I had to give you my rating on a scale of one to ten with ten being great and one being beyond crap I’d say I’m at three currently.
If there’s one thing that David Cameron is clear about, it’s that he wants us all to do the ‘Right Thing,’ a phrase that popped up no less than seven times in his deeply moralising speech about the benefits system earlier this week.
The Prime Minister feels we have a “culture of entitlement” when it comes to welfare, and polling shows huge public support for a crackdown on benefit payments. But do many young people leave school expecting to be looked after financially? Do the wealthy elite expect to rule?
When I was a student, back in the early nineties, I had a holiday job at the frozen-food supermarket chain, Iceland. One morning, presumably fresh from a leadership course at Frosty HQ, our manager called all the staff together to admonish us for our apparent lack of enthusiasm for the sale of turkey nuggets. “Sometimes I feel that some of you are only in this for the money” she hissed. She was cut off by incredulous laughter. After all, what other motivation could there be for spending one’s weekend restocking a giant fridge freezer?
For the last four years I’ve been paying my karmic dues (I would say “contributing to the big society”, but it makes me feel a bit sick in my mouth) by teaching English to a group of asylum seeking women in East London. This is what they want to know.
It was reported today that Ian Duncan Smith is threatening to stop heroin addicts from being able to claim incapacity benefits. About a hundred of my patients are heroin users and they are all signed off work. IDS pointed out that it was unfair that hardworking tax payers were paying for the addictions of others. This may well be true but is an attempt to force heroin users in to gainful employment really a viable option?
I am one of the 70% of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipients with a lifetime award that Iain Duncan Smith set his sights on this week. He intends to introduce more rigorous, regular assessments for the replacement PIP benefit and abolish lifetime entitlements such as mine.
So Boris is back, and with yesterday’s news that tenants are being evicted by unscrupulous landlords ahead of the Olympics, housing issues are already at the fore of the agenda. And what an agenda. Rachmanesque rentiers aside, the government’s reforms have unwittingly created a toxic policy mix that is a ticking time bomb – one with a short fuse, at that: detonation 2013.
The UK has now plunged into a double dip recession, according to figures released Wednesday. But in Germany the economic prognosis could not be more different. Why is the German economy showing such stomach for the fight against the global downturn, while Britain staggers from its toxins?
Over the past six weeks I’ve had mixed feelings towards the proposals to close 36 Remploy factories, leading to compulsory redundancies for 1,518 disabled workers. On the one hand, I’ve always been against sheltered workplaces which feel to me like a relic from a bygone age. But on the other hand, the government’s timing of this move, coinciding with high unemployment, cuts to support funding and the erosion of employment rights feels very unfair and misjudged.
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