Amber Rudd’s latest DWP celebration shows she really is living in cloud cuckoo land

Amber Rudd and the DWP logo
Support us and go ad-free

It’s only been a week since Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) boss Amber Rudd was rinsed for praising the work of her department and Universal Credit through the medium of a “globe-trotting TV extra”. Now she’s taken to Twitter to praise job centres. And it shows how detached from reality she really is.

“A thriving community hub”

Rudd tweeted that the job centre is a “thriving community hub”:

Unsurprisingly, people were quick to point out the reality:

Others highlighted the number of sick and disabled people the DWP now deems well enough to work:

Actual help with job hunting?

Further people pointed out how difficult it is to find any actual jobs at the job centre:

Some said that, in reality, it used to be much easier to find work there:

A personal story

I agree with these tweets. 15 years ago, the job centre could be a genuinely helpful place. I was a single mother on incapacity benefit for mental health problems. And whilst a certain level of anxiety accompanied any appointment due to said mental health problems, it wasn’t the dread that people experience now. But importantly, the disability adviser I saw was actually helpful and the system was designed in such a way that she was able to support me.

She agreed that going back to college and doing an MA would be good for my mental health. And she agreed that being able to do the course wasn’t the same as me being okay to work full time. So she arranged for me to study and stay on benefits.

When I felt able to return to part-time work, again, I was supported. I was given leeway where I could have gone back onto benefits if my health had deteriorated. It all worked out. And knowing that support was there made a massive difference.

Fast forward 

Although I’ve had to take time off for chronic health problems, I’ve remained in work ever since. I also remained on Disability Living Allowance. Until that is, the Tories got rid of it, and I got called for reassessment for Personal Independence Payments.

The assessment process was horrendous. It made me ill. I actually feel sick trying to write about it. I scored a whole two points and my claim was turned down. But I didn’t appeal. Not because I didn’t think I was entitled to the benefit. But because the whole process made me so ill. In the end, I had to put my mental health first. Which in itself shows just how fucked up the system is.

And compare this to a previous assessment, long before the Conservative Party decided to demonise disabled people, when an assessor could see the amount of distress I was in, and said he’d make a phone call and that we didn’t need to go through the whole process.

Amber Rudd, just shut up. Please shut up.

So no, Amber Rudd, the job centre is not a “thriving community hub”. It’s a place people fear going. It’s a place of dread where any small infraction can mean sanctions and reliance on foodbanks. And it’s a place where people with life-threatening conditions are told they’re fit for work and disabled people are made to feel like scroungers.

The lies and spin aren’t fooling anyone. But they are offensive. Rudd’s government has waged war against sick and disabled people; against the most vulnerable people in society. Either Rudd is happily trotting out lie after lie, or she really does live in cloud cuckoo land. Either way, she really needs to shut up and stop spouting twaddle that makes anyone who’s actually had dealings with the DWP feel physically sick.

Featured image via YouTube – BBC Newsnight / Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us