Labour would end this Government’s demonisation of benefits claimants – Chi Onwurah MP

Chi Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle Central, defends benefit claimants from the vilification and bile heaped on them by the government, and particularly the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith. He gives three examples of claimants, who were unfairly sanctioned by the Jobcentre. One was a disabled man, who was so upset that in the end he took his own life. Another was sanctioned for not looking sufficiently hard for jobs, in the week his father died. This would obviously have put other things on his mind, like grief and the need and desire to give his father a suitable burial. Even in the army you got compassionate leave for such events, but not under Major Duncan Smith (T*sser, RTU). And finally there was another man, who was sanctioned for not filling out a form he didn’t receive. Finally, Mr Onwurah gives his own experience, growing up in a household where his mother was on benefits because of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. This is a very welcome article, as it shows that some Labour politicos at least are taking seriously the way benefit claimants are victimised and demonised by this vile government of the rich for the rich.

Politics and Insights

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This afternoon I will be leading a debate on the treatment – or more accurately the demonisation – of benefits claimants.

On my website I publish monthly pie charts of the issues constituents raise with me. Benefits is consistently in the top three.

Benefits claimants are by definition going through a tough time; they may have lost a job, have an illness or disability or are in low-paid or part time work, or they are caring for young children or relatives, making it harder to work.

They need our support, our care, concern for and understanding of the challenges they face. As our Shadow Secretary of State Rachel Reeves has said:“Jobcentres, and the HMRC offices that currently administer tax credits, are vital public services that British citizens pay for with their taxes. People who use them have as much right to expect fair and respectful treatment as patients in…

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