In January, Aditya Chakrabortty pointed out that though statistically the UK is enjoying a recovery, in reality: “this has been a recovery for owner-occupiers in London and the south-east. It has locked out those without big assets, such as the young, and those renting in the capital. It has penalised the poor. And it has impoverished those who have been forced on to zero hours or bogus self-employment”.

He described the recovery constantly announced by Conservative speakers as so partial, so patchy and so dedicated to putting money in the pockets of the already wealthy that it makes a mockery of Theresa May’s speech about a “shared society”.

Welfare cuts have not only affected people with disabilities, as we recently recorded, but also a larger swathe of the public. Since 2010, under this government and the coalition, Theresa May’s actions speak louder than her words:

  • Under her term as Minister for Women and Equality, Theresa May’s edicts downgraded the provision for carers, children in need and vulnerable people. This policy continues.
  • DWP fit-for-work assessments are now causing mental health damage to 62% of people the department sanctions.
  • Reduced central funding means that as many bus services have been ‘axed’ people on those routes who don’t own a car now have problems getting to work or hospital.
  • The Independent Living Fund has been cut; in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.
  • In 2010 Ms May suspended the registration scheme for carers of children and vulnerable people – to the distress of people hoping to find a trustworthy carer for their child or a vulnerable family member.
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for sick and disabled people in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) has been cut by a third. This will affect 500,000 people.
  • Theresa May scrapped the former Labour Government’s proposed “go orders” scheme to protect women from domestic violence by banning abusers from the victim’s home.
  • Without accessible or affordable transport, due to benefit cuts or closure of bus routes, adults in ‘just about managing’ [JAM] families are less able to travel to work or to medical and other appointments.
  • As Home Secretary Ms May closed the previous Government’s “ContactPoint” database of 11 million under-18-year olds designed to protect children in the wake of the Victoria Climbié child abuse scandal.
  • 51,000 disabled people lost Motability vehicles, which were vital for them to live independently.
  • Frequent administrative inefficiency, a twenty-year phenomenon in this country under both Labour and Conservative governments, includes losing documents causing delays in payment to those with no savings, who then go cold and hungry.
  • Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from 164,000 people living with mental health issues. And the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reduced or stopped PIP for nearly half (45%) of all claimants (unpublished figures accessed by FOI request).
  • Ms May’s Investigatory Powers Bill has authorised the state to employ private companies to design hacking technology which can ‘create openings’ in devices, leading to the theft of financial and personal data, creating further problems.

Theresa May promises a government for the ‘strugglers’ – but many prime ministers have made appealing promises which were never kept and this brief overview of Ms May’s record does not inspire confidence.

 

 

 

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