A female guest on the BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire show has given a heart-rending account of government-induced poverty under the Conservatives. It took the better part of two decades to detoxify the Tory brand after the Thatcher and Major governments. And with footage like this available for posterity, it may take a lot longer next time round.
‘I got so low I wanted to take my own life’
I went so low, and so down, that I just wanted to end my life.
Fortunately, a friend intervened and called Amos an ambulance. And once at hospital, she said:
I was introduced to doctors who… [helped to] put me on tablets and everything for me to cope. Then I was introduced to the food banks, to use the food bank.
My local church helped me also.
"I got so low I wanted to end my life"
Maria describes her desperation after being left with nothing while waiting for Universal Credit pic.twitter.com/HGMPea7Kh5
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) July 7, 2017
The experience of Maria Amos is not an isolated incident. Universal Credit has been mired in controversy since its introduction by the Coalition government in 2010. The scheme combines six benefits and tax credits into one payment. But the project has been fraught with delays and costly technical failures that have humiliated the Conservative government.
Worse, there have been major impacts for those reliant on the welfare state. Great Yarmouth Borough Council recently complained to the government after delays in Universal Credit payments meant tenants were left unable to pay rents on time. These delays in payments are now forcing people into homelessness due to inability to pay housing costs.
Children’s non-governmental organisation (NGO) End Child Poverty has also linked Universal Credit to a staggering rise in child poverty. The Child Poverty Map of the UK shows which areas of the country have the highest levels of poverty. It reveals that, in the UK, 3.5 million [doc] children are currently living in poverty. And in some parts, the child poverty rate is as high as 47% [doc]. This means that, in some areas of the country, one in every two children is living in poverty.
This is borne out by the wider economic figures. For all the talk of economic recovery, only two regions in the UK are better off today than they were in 2007. Unsurprisingly, they are London and the south-east. No one living anywhere else is experiencing an economic recovery. And some are experiencing a depression.
Enough is enough
The result is people like Maria Amos joining the queue for the 1.2 million food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust last year. The government’s economic plans have left people vulnerable to financial hardship. And its assault on the welfare state has meant that the support systems in place to help are failing. And all the while, the same government is spending £93bn a year on the corporate welfare state. Research conducted for The Guardian shows that taxpayers are paying around £3,500 a year each in handouts to wealthy corporations.
This situation has become untenable. Theresa May and the Conservative Party continue to argue that there is no ‘magic money tree’ for basic essentials like housing and food. Yet at the same time, they are shaking that tree leafless on behalf of already-wealthy individuals and corporations. After Theresa May’s devastating general election, and fresh polls showing Labour with an eight-point lead, the bell may be tolling for the Tories. And with the abundance of evidence of this atrocious Conservative decade, they may not be back in power for a very long time.
– Support The Canary so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
– Write to your MP and ask them to end the freeze on children’s benefits and reverse proposed cuts to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.
Featured image via YouTube Screengrab
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?