Benefit cuts raise fears of self-harm spreading north says PCS Scottish Secretary Lynn Henderson

Morning Star

 

Britain Thursday 21 March 2013 by Rory MacKinnon The Morning Star

Caseworkers in Scotland fear a rise in violent and traumatic episodes as April’s benefit cuts loom, a senior union official warned today.

 

Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish Secretary
Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish Secretary

PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson told the Star that members faced “increasing despair” among benefit claimants.

The union, which includes staff at Jobcentre Plus, the Child Support Agency and the pension service, led a national strike this week to protest against cuts to pay and pensions.

But the strikers are also battling deep cuts to benefit payments that they themselves are expected to enforce from next month.

From April 1 those in social housing will lose up to 24 per cent of their housing benefit if their home is “under occupied.”

Meanwhile increases for a host of benefit payments will be capped at just 1 per cent per year, despite inflation projected to rise three times as fast.

Ms Henderson told the said she was concerned by a spate of self-harm in England last year.

In December a Torbay teen set himself alight in a council office after reportedly being refused housing, while a Birmingham man set himself on fire in protest outside a Jobcentre Plus office in June and another man attempted suicide at a Birkenhead job centre in May.

In April the DWP itself circulated a later-leaked all-staff memo urging “the utmost care and sensitivity” from caseworkers following the attempted suicide of a man who lost his sickness benefit the previous week.

“Incidents of this kind are thankfully rare, but it does remind us of the responsibility we have, and influence we have, over the lives of those we provide help to,” it continued.

Ms Henderson said she feared the crisis would spread to Scotland.

“Our members in the DWP and HM Revenue and Customs have seen increasing despair from clients.

“They understand the stress clients are under. Up to 40 per cent of DWP staff delivering universal credit will be on universal credit themselves.”

But the union had allied with the Black Triangle Campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts to stop the grisly headlines from reaching Scotland.

“We believe in the legitimacy of protest,”

she said.

The Morning Star

See also: Jobcentre Staff To Be Forced to Sanction Themselves! Posted on January 25, 2013 by johnny void

Comments
  • GEOFF REYNOLDS March 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Given that the government has hailed any action by disgruntled DWP staff as being futile, i would appreciate it, if any person working at DWP could send me evidence that would bring this evil regime to its knees.

    Any evidence, however small would be appreciated.

    It goes without question that your identity would be kept secret. Evidence from ATOS contracts would be warmly welcomed, in light of the evil being perpetrated against the disabled.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    The decline in living standards in the uk, the introduction to poverty and the statistics to more than prove, suicide rates are spiralling, are the brainchild of one twisted individual, BILL GUNNYEON.

    GUNNYEON is the faceless one who hides behind his position of Chief Medical Officer of the DWP.

    Bolstered by donations from the Insurance Industry, (of which Gunnyeon and his chums are honoured speakers), our government have set out on a path of Welfare Reforms that deny the very poorest in society, especially the disabled.

    Each piece of legislation bears the hallmarks of this modern day “Angel of Death”.
    Every item of denial of benefit carries his endorsement. To him you are just superfluous to a life in this day and age, hence the corrupted, twisted policies that he underwrites……

    History has told us that behind every fanatical leader, there is always a minion lapping at their heels to gain some kind of recognition. They are usually hated by most because they recognise the level of toadying as dangerous.

    Obviously, the aforementioned is more than dangerous. His elevation to the dizzy heights of his title has underpinned his craving to take away life…..

    His dark thoughts from childhood now manifest themselves in legislation, in effect removal by statute.

    What i cannot understand is why he pursued his career on the grounds of helping disabled, yet abuses his position by demonising them…………..

    Maybe he has a psychological problem that has not been detected. I wonder if ATOS software that he helped to build, could identify his problem? I seriously doubt it because its not fit for purpose!

    One things for certain, whatever cuts to whatever benefit, he is the key…….

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