Tag Archives: welfare


My disabled girlfriend just asked me for a slice of cake. I had to say no. See, I’ve decided to adopt the Conservative approach to cake.

Unfortunately, I explained to her, the purchase of the cake was funded by HARD WORKING PEOPLE, and HARD WORKING PEOPLE didn’t want people who don’t work as hard as her to have access to the luxuries that they can’t have, because despite the fact that they are HARD WORKING PEOPLE, they are still unable to afford cake.

She protested, so I explained that 0.1% of cake benefit claims are fraudulent, so I’ve adopted a policy of guilty-until-proven-innocent, and if she wanted access to the cake, she’d need to go for a fit-for-cake assessment.

I then reminded her that if she wanted the cake badly, she could apply to the access-to-cake fund. But as soon as she looked in the opposite direction I moved the money to my wallet. “Sorry,” I responded disingenuously, “we don’t have enough money to fund your cake.”

She really wasn’t happy about this, so I introduced a new rule in the house. Vulnerable voices were are allowed to campaign against rules in the six months prior to a cake purchase. However, if she incorporates and pays me a big sum of money, I’ll happily allow her to influence future rules.

Next, I told her that she didn’t need the cake, as I’d looked in her fridge and found some carrots. Clearly she was wasting the money provided by HARD WORKING PEOPLE on cake that she didn’t need. She’d have to learn to budget.

I then explained the situation to her landlord, who, upon finding out that she was claiming cake benefit, asked for six months rent in advance.

She kicked up a fuss, saying that she’d worked hard until her disability made it impossible to work. But I ignored that, because I know that it doesn’t matter any more. We can’t afford to give non-HARD WORKING PEOPLE cake for doing nothing any more, because if we did, we’d have to take money away from the banks and THAT WOULD LEAD TO BANKERS LEAVING THE COUNTRY, WHICH WOULD INITIATE ARMAGEDDON.

Okay, so it's a chocolate roll, but the point remains

Okay, so it’s a chocolate roll, but the point remains

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The hidden impact of draconian welfare on the disabled – an example

I tend to keep deeply personal stuff off the internet where possible, but having just received some news and with an election on the horizon, I think this needs to be made public.

My partner and I have been looking into moving in together. Currently she lives in a one-bedroom flat, and I rent a room in a house-share. We live fifteen minutes apart, separated by a short walk, and a rather big hill.

We’ve been together for nearly four years now, and following a rather rough relapse in August last year, we decided to spend some time looking into how we could make living together work without affecting either of our independence as individuals.

I work part-time for a local charity while I’m building up my new theatre company. I also take whatever acting or modelling work I can get, and take on the odd freelance job. My gross annual income is less than £10k.

My partner is disabled and left her job two years ago as, despite her best efforts, she was no longer able to work. Her health since leaving work has improved considerably, as her has quality of life. However, she still only has a limited amount of energy each day, and at any time she can find herself spending the day in bed if something changes in her condition.

She has personal carers who look after her for a couple of hours a day, helping her with basic tasks. I spend a lot of the week staying over at her flat, in part because she is unable to stay at mine due to the presence of stairs into the house.

Extra stress is placed on both of us, because I effectively live day-to-day out of my backpack. None of my chosen lifestyle is available at my partner’s flat – there simply isn’t room for my guitar, my books, my CDs, my games console etc. So when I want to relax, I have two choices – turn on the laptop and play a computer game (after a full day staring at a screen), or watch TV – something that I rarely do when I’m on my own. As a result, I spend a lot of time at her flat working.

She also feels the pressure because she’s aware that I spend all of my time at her flat, and feels guilty as a result. I’d like to stay at home more often, but it’s not unheard of for me to be making my way up the hill with my backpack at midnight, because she’s not feeling great and needs someone to keep an eye on her.

Today we finally made the phone call to the council, to find out how our finances would be affected if we moved in together. We expected to lose some income between us, but what we were told shocked us, and has meant we have had to stop thinking about moving in together.

If we move in together, my partner will lose all her benefits apart from DLA (which is currently spent entirely on disability support needs – specialist tools, accessories, adaptations of normal household fittings, transport, and crisis needs etc.), because my income of £10k is deemed by this government to be enough for a couple to live on.

In Brighton.

Just think about that for a minute.

To say we are in shock is an understatement. If we were to move in together, we would both lose our independence. And that would be if it was possible in the first place. I’m struggling to live off £10k on my own at the moment, there’s simply no way it would be possible to look after two of us. Even in council housing, c.£450pcm would have to go on rent and council tax (thanks to the new Brighton & Hove City Council changes that mean that disabled people living with partners now have to pay full council tax), before the bills have even been considered.

So we have no choice but to carry on living apart.

For me to make up the shortfall in what we would lose between us, I would need to be earning a minimum of £25k. As someone who has never chased money, and has no dreams of financial wealth, this simply isn’t going to happen. We have no huge outgoings, we don’t smoke, drink, or go out much. I have my fifteen year old car, which allows us to get out and about- if we relied on buses we wouldn’t be able to go to a lot of places, plus it’s more expensive than driving in Brighton.

Of course, I could give up everything I’ve ever worked for, got back into full time work (assuming I can find a job) and be miserable to pay the bills, but that would only add further pressure to our relationship.

We have no choice but to live separately, and there is no hope on the horizon. Even with the potential of a change of government, Labour have said that they will continue with Tory cuts to the welfare system, meaning further pressure will be put on those already most marginalised by society.

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British decency – another call to arms, six months on #atos #wrb #disability

I’ll be honest, this is a re-hash of my post from February, but I think it is just as, if not more important now.

Following my post in February highlighting the disgraceful behaviour of our MPs on welfare reform, today I am once again asking all British citizens with a shred of decency in their body to take action to help protect the most vulnerable in society.

I know that as people going about our every day lives it’s very easy to just gloss over items of news that don’t directly affect you. I know that in the current climate the media very rarely portrays the real-life implications of government decisions, preferring instead to promote the government’s own agenda. And I know that in reality, we don’t have time to get involved in every single issue that affects us or those around is. But if today’s treatment of disabled people during the protests outside of DWP did not convince you that our government is callous, uncaring and driven purely by financial motives, I ask you to read the following, before taking action.

If you can read those blogs and still believe that the government are doing the right thing by making disabled children and cancer sufferers pay for rich bankers’ mistakes and irresponsibility (with YOUR money, let us know forget) then please, go and carry on with your daily life. Just pray that you don’t ever get cancer, or have children that are born with disabilities. Remember also, that seven rulings were overturned, not just one or two. Think that the government won’t do the same to future rulings that might affect you more directly? Think again. And remember, 88 per cent of government cuts are still to come.

So, what can you do?

For those of you still here, there are several quick actions your can take to help the most vulnerable.

1. Talk about it. You can’t tell me that it doesn’t come up from time to time in the pub. If your friend mentions “benefit scroungers” (which, by the way, no one is denying DO exist – just not in the quantities the media and government would have you believe) – make sure you mention that disabled children and people with cancer are being made to suffer by the cuts introduced by this government. You don’t need to lecture anybody, just mention that there is another side to the story.

2. Educate yourself. Like the following pages on Facebook to hear about the other side of the cuts, the side you don’t read about in the news. Also known as the truth. There are many more of course, plus people and organisations on Twitter. Search #wrb and #atos to find the most vocal.

3. Write to local and national newspapers asking them to present a balanced case when presented facts and figures on disability benefits. You can visit Full Fact for a regular redressing of the balance if you are unsure about the facts and figures quoted. Full Fact is entirely independent and regularly addresses inaccuracies presented by all political parties, and all media outlets.

4. If you have time, write to your MP and tell them how disgusted you are using this quick and easy form.

5. Those blogs I listed above, check back to them occasionally and see how people are really affected by this government.

I know we all have lives to lead and we can’t revolt at every decision made by government, but remember – the people most affected by these cuts are often unable to stand up for themselves. The ones that do, such as Sue Marsh and BendyGirl, only have limited time and energy to do so because of their conditions. It’s up to the rest of us able-bodied individuals to tell this government that they have crossed a line.

To the people affected by these changes, they aren’t about money. They’re about independence, respect and common decency something I’m sure that every decent citizen in the developed world would not be willing to live without. They say you can judge a country by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Right now we’re treating ours with disdain, incompetence a serious lack of respect.

This blog is the tip of the iceberg – please feel free to leave further suggestions in comments below.

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