The Political Policies of Poverty
By Jayne Linney
Also published here
A post on Think Left (I) highlights the problems faced by ‘hidden children , those young people who go under the radar because no one knows why they’re missing from school!
For me this raise questions about what happens when these young people leave school? My guess is they’re likely to find themselves joining the increasing number of ‘Hidden’ Chronically sick and disabled people.
There is an ever growing number of Societies most vulnerable adults, who have been cynically and callously stripped of their financial independence via them being deemed ‘Fit For Work’ by the DWP, but who are unable to claim/fulfil the requirements for other State Welfare; this is up to 55% of those claimants, according to a recent study conducted by the DWP! (ii)
So what happens to the ‘Hidden’ ill and disabled? I can only hope they have family or another close network of people able, and willing, to support their basic needs of Shelter, Warmth, Food & Drink, & Affection. However even if they are fortunate to have access to such a network this then put them in the category of ‘Hidden Homeless’, forced to revert to being dependant upon others.
There is yet another ‘Hidden’ group even within the ill and disabled, that is those of us with invisible disabilities, particularly fluctuating conditions such as ME, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, and countless others. Living with widespread Chronic pain on a daily basis is soul destroying; just imagine NEVER being comfortable, not in bed, sitting in your favourite chair, walking, or standing and you can begin to comprehend what it’s like, then imagine sharp, hot, shooting/radiating/stabbing pains hitting any or even every muscle and joint and you begin to get the idea. We have better days where the pain and associated fatigue (because we don’t sleep well due to pain) is bearable and we might look OK, and we have bad days where everything you thought about before happens & all at once! I’m sure you can now accept, living like this has a major impact on our mental health also.
No one who is fortunate enough to not belong to our ‘Hidden’ group can understand what we feel like, if we’re lucky, we have family and,or an often small group of people who care about us enough, not to give up on us. Unfortunately the general public, and perhaps more importantly the DWP, frequently do not take the time to try and empathise, therefore those of us with ‘Hidden’ illnesses are more vulnerable than ever, to becoming completely dependent upon someone else. When we’re found ‘Fit’ for Work; we then often find ourselves deemed ‘Unfit’ if we try and claim Job Seekers Allowance!
So where does this leave ill and disabled people who do not have access to a financially able and willing person to support us? Logic can only force me to conclude of the 55% of people unable to claim any income from the State, some of them will end up actually ‘Homeless’, without anywhere to call home and subject to the obvious strains of existing on the street.
It has to be bad enough to find yourself without a home, not knowing where (and if) the next meal will come from! But how much worse will it be for people already too sick and,or disabled, never mind the next meal just where would you get your medication from?
It sickens me that in 2012, the year of the London Paralympics; here in the UK, chronically ill and disabled people are fighting to maintain their independence, their homes and even their basic Human Rights as !
And just who is doing anything to stop this, the current Coalition Government has, without a mandate from the people, destroyed and continues to strip away resources from the Welfare State, choosing instead to pay private Companies millions of pounds to carry out this devastation. The opposition whilst starting to make noise about ‘unfairness’,concur the only way from the UK economy to be revived is to maintain the Cuts.
This series of Policies to decimate the Welfare State has created a cycle of deprivation not seen for over 80 years and it is this bigger picture the UK people need to become aware of and quickly!