As Frances Ryan writes on this blistering polemic, Britain faces fundamental questions about what form of society it wants to be. Will we choose a survival-of-the‑fittest gadget, wherein poverty and disability are dealt with as moral failings, deserving of punishment? Or are we organised to face our very own vulnerability, realise our shared humanity, and rebuild our welfare kingdom?
Ryan, a Guardian columnist, makes clear simply how some distance we’ve fallen over what she evocatively calls the “precipice of country wide individual”. Over six chapters, she sets out the numerous methods wherein disabled humans have been made to pay since the economic crash. In Poverty, we find out how the cumulative effect of benefit adjustments – cuts to council tax assist, the bedroom tax, accelerated sanctions – has driven an estimated 650,000 disabled people into poverty.
The bankruptcy on Work considers how elements of the media reviled disabled human beings as fakes and “gain cheats” inside the early years of austerity, laying the basis for a new, punitive device of advantages assessment. By 2016, there have been 3,seven-hundred advantage investigators – five instances as many as look at tax evasion (benefit fraud expenses the taxpayer £1.3bn a yr, at the same time as the tax hole because of unpaid taxes is around £35bn). At the equal time, the aid that has been in the area to assist disabled people into work become stripped away.
Chapters on Independence and Housing observe how these issues were compounded by cuts to social care offerings. It is a depressing catalogue of penny-pinching: meals on wheels being scrapped; disabled humans being charged for care visits, or left by myself and not able to wash or devour; Motability cars were taken away, leaving people housebound; humans being refused wheelchairs and crucial alterations to their houses. One mainly stunning instance is that of Robert, a tetraplegic man housed in a second floor flat without elevating access; so that it will leave his domestic, his carer has to tug him down the stairs.
In Women and Children, Ryan examines how those organisations were particularly impacted by way of austerity: in some tragic cases the lack of benefits and assist offerings for disabled moms have brought about their kids being taken into care. Hundreds of hundreds of kids had been left looking after their disabled mother and father in the absence of kingdom services. All of this is tougher to task due to cuts to prison resource.
I surprise if the ebook could have been higher established as a sequence of case studies, which might have dialled down the polemic and advocated extra empathy. Ryan has a devastating case to make; the question is: are we prepared to concentrate?
David Cameron becomes confronted in the Commons on Wednesday with figures displaying that thousands of greater government inspectors are hired to tackle advantages fraud than deal with tax evasion with the aid of the wealthiest UK citizens.
Angus Robertson, the Scottish National party’s leader in Westminster, requested the high minister why 3,250 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff have been assigned to investigate welfare fraud, while 300 concentrates on handling the rich.
“Surely we have to care similarly approximately human beings abusing the fax machine and people abusing the benefits system?” Robertson asked throughout top minister’s questions. “Why has this government had ten instances more staff frequently dealing with the poorest in society abusing blessings than with the extremely good-rich evading their taxes?”
In reality, the government confirmed on Wednesday that the ranks of DWP benefits investigators have swelled to three,seven-hundred – a better number than the one quoted using Robertson, and up from 2,600 in February ultimate 12 months.
That compares with seven-hundred individuals who work at HM Revenue and Customs within the two gadgets whose job it’s far to research the wealthiest 500,000 people living in the UK.
David Cameron became jeered when he admitted the figures mentioned via Robertson would want to be examined, however, retorted “they sound to me bogus”. He delivered: “The predominant job of the DWP is to make sure that humans obtain their advantages. The essential activity of HMRC is to ensure humans pay their taxes”.
Benefits fraud prices the government £1.3bn a year, in step with reputable statistics, at the same time as the space among tax owed and tax paid is put at £34bn a year by using officers.
MPs on the general public debts committee stated this parent fails to don’t forget the losses to competitive tax avoidance schemes of the type formerly criticised using the high minister. Labour places the tax gap at £120bn. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has claimed an awful lot of the lacking revenue can be accumulated if HMRC had more funding.