An Open Letter to Iain Duncan Smith
Dear Mr Smith
On the Andrew Marr Show you spoke of needing to protect Pensioners from Welfare Reform Cuts, which you justified by their lack scope and opportunity to earn and increase their Pensions. I agree with you on this point, however I fail to understand how when you offer empathy for their very situation, you refuse to apply the same to another group of people in often identical situations, Chronically Sick & Disabled people?
I grew up in the 60′s & 70′s and was taught that you go to work and pay ‘your dues’, namely Tax and NI, you live within your means and try to save for a ‘rainy day; this is what I did for over 30 years.
And then I became ill, very ill with something that left me so totally fatigue, my employers, my GP, 3 Consultants , Occupational Health & my family, all worked hard over 3 years to support me arrive at the inevitable conclusion; I had become Disabled through my ill health and could no longer work. That was 3 years ago and since then I have been forced to claim Employment and Support Allowance; and the changes and cuts you and your colleagues have made under the guise of Welfare Reform mean that I now struggle to survive.
Maybe in your world, where you have access to family money, have a well paid job and good health, you would think that having worked for so many years I had managed to save enough money to support myself but, in my world, despite working hard doing the a job you claim to be so valuable ‘Everyone should engage in it’; the savings I did have, after 30 years of paying my stamp in Community Service, were completed depleted within the first 12 months.
I can not comprehend how, you can claim to understand the difficulties people have when they no longer can add to their finances and yet you continue to claim that people claiming out of work benefits are ‘Scroungers’.
I never thought that at fifty I’d be not only Chronically sick and Disabled, but be struggling to survive, forced to choose whether I heat my Housing Association Flat or I eat. This is my world Mr Smith, I’m unable to work therefore I also have no scope or opportunity to supplement my income through employment but because I’m 16 years too young, you’re content to label me as scrounging. You talked about Fairness, well please tell me how is this fair?