Published on Saturday 8 September 2012 13:40 in Business
By Jeff Salway
Last week I wrote about the scandal of Atos, the paralympics sponsor responsible for the deeply flawed work assessment tests that have driven hundreds of ill and disabled people to suicide.
Somehow it gets worse. This week word emerged of plans to dock 70 per cent of the employment support allowance paid to claimants who haven’t taken sufficient action to find work. These are the claimants that even Atos has ruled aren’t fit for work.
The past week has also brought news of the first ever UK appeal by the Save the Children charity, which is raising money for children in families hit hardest by the recession.
In launching the appeal charity accused the government of failing to tackle growing poverty, hardship and inequality in the UK.
Then there was the revelation from Citizens Advice Scotland that the number of food parcel requests north of the Border has doubled over the last year. The advice charity has referred some 3,000 people to food banks since April alone, most of whom were experiencing difficulties with benefits, debt, job loss and rising food prices.
The government has a duty to look after those struggling to fend for themselves. Not only is it failing to do so, but it has no will to do so. On the contrary, it continues to weaken the safety net while protecting the interest of the elite.
The richest get a tax cut and carte blanche to continue using offshore tax sheltering schemes while terminally ill people are stripped of their benefits and told to work and families are forced to resort to food handouts. No wonder even the government no longer claims that we’re all in it together.