Petitioner’s Joint Open Letter to David Cameron

To the Right Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service:

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to offer you a chance to reconsider the disastrous plan of persecution you seem determined to inflict on the sick, the disabled and the working poor, with your proposed cuts to tax credits that will affect families and disabled people working 16 hours or more, and your declaration that people who are found unfit for work by their GPs are to receive an ESA benefit that is diminished by £30 per week for no reason.

These decisions are in direct contradiction of recommendations and promises made after Parliamentary debates and select committee investigations into the effects of cuts on social security benefits.

Would you like to know the effects of your decisions on the most vulnerable people in the UK? Having heard your speech to the Conservative conference, we know you like lists, so we’ve made one of our own:

  • More than 120,000 UK citizens have been left without money for weeks on end due to the disproportionate loss of benefits.
  • Teachers are stating that thousands of children are coming to school hungry.
  • Coroners are stating that people are dying with benefit refusal being cited as being a factor.
  • Citizens Advice has estimated that nearly 30,000 UK citizens have been denied food, heating and electricity – the essentials of life – after your government ignored a select committee recommendation that the DWP should pay ESA to them while their claims underwent Mandatory Reconsideration.
  • Not a single one of the 26 recommendations made by the Oakley Review has been implemented.
  • There has still been no cumulative assessment into the impact of benefit cuts as promised to WOW petitioners 18 months ago

The real difference to thousands of sick and disabled people has been a massive drop in the quality of their lives.

Your government has attacked the sick, disabled, unemployed and working poor, more than four million of whom receive Social Security benefits (don’t call it “welfare”, Mr Cameron. Your government lost the right to do that when you started cutting benefits below the amount that covers the basic physical and material well-being of people in need).

Your government has dehumanised them by calling them “shirkers and skivers”, saying they want ‘something for nothing’ when you know perfectly well that they are also taxpayers who deserve state benefits as much as anybody else – and more than the corporate sector, which receives a far greater proportion of public money, even though such subsidies are not needed.

You told us your government was “fully committed to ensuring that disabled people of all backgrounds and ages can fulfill their potential and play full roles in society.”

You stated that “disabled people will be at the heart of a new disability action alliance, ensuring that the policies and actions taken forward will make a real difference to their lives.”

But you closed the Independent Living Fund and have not implemented recommendations made nearly two years ago by your own experts on improving Access to Work, which helps to pay for specialist equipment and support workers, necessities that allow people with disabilities to stay in the workplace.

Your Work and Pensions Secretary, along with ministers from his department, walked out of a debate on food poverty on December 18, 2013, rather than answer the questions it raised. Meanwhile the number of food banks in the UK has increased exponentially, year on year. You can’t blame that on Labour – when you came to office, fewer than 41,000 people received three days’ food bank aid per year; by 2014, that figure had increased to over one million.

Do you feel proud of the poverty you have inflicted on the poor, while giving tax breaks to the obscenely rich?

Your Work and Pensions Secretary habitually misuses statistics. His department recently stated that Mandatory Reconsiderations of benefit decisions – introduced in October 2013 as a panic reaction to the huge proportion of successful appeals against unjust refusals of payments – were being completed within an average period of 13 days. He failed to mention that this means 89,000 sick and disabled people were being made to wait much longer – in some cases, many months.

How do you justify that, Mr Cameron?

We recently learned that a coroner had directly linked the death of a man with your government’s decision to withdraw an Incapacity Benefit. This happened in January 2014 but only became public knowledge after your government released figures showing that thousands of people have died after being told they are fit for work.

You can read a list of just some people who have died due to the loss of their benefits here. Please take the time to do so.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/09/13/the-increasing-death-toll-due-to-the-loss-of-benefits/

We cannot understand why, when your government knows that depriving UK citizens of their social security payments will damage their health or hasten their deaths, you have not taken action to prevent this. In fact you have consistently refused to undertake an assessment that has been demanded into the full impact of all cuts to support and social care for disabled people.

Your government’s utter disregard for the plight of the vulnerable has resulted in three new petitions:

One demanding that your government immediately implement two of the Oakley recommendations – to set up an independent review of government benefit sanctions, and to pay hardship payments from day one of a sanction.

Another to remind the government that it has failed to honour the parliamentary motion of 18 months ago to “assess full impact of all cuts to support & social care for disabled people”

Lastly a petition to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate Iain Duncan Smith, who in 2013 was reprimanded by the UK Statistics Authority for his regular use of untruths and the persistent misleading of The House of Commons, Select Committees and the Media which despite the Government agreeing that “statistics should be presented in a way that is fair, accurate and ‘unspun’ “is still continuing to this day.

You say you have nothing to hide, but you will not fulfill your promises to launch a full independent inquiry and a full assessment into benefit cuts.

For the sake of the nation, please consider honouring those commitments.

Yours sincerely,

Gill Thompson………..            Petitioner 2014 and 2015

Mike Sivier…………….            Petitioner twice in 2015

Maggie Zolobajluk…..Petitioner twice in 2015

WOW Petition ………..Petitioner 2013 and 2015

Jayne Linney……………Petitioner 2013 and 2015

Please email our letter to your MP and ask for their comments.

You could use your own words or copy and paste this extract:

“Over time a disturbing pattern seems to have emerged. A petition highlights a situation, it gains publicity and the attention of MPs. Debates are held and select committees and ministers make recommendations and promises. Then all goes quiet, promises are forgotten and recommendations are ignored .

The net effect of a series of petitions since 2013 has been negligible and in most instances the situation has worsened since then.

I would like to hear your comments to the above statement and the following letter”

yours sincerely,

You can find your MP’s email address here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/.

Please email me to let me know if your MP replies. maggiezed@hotmail.com

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