All I want for Christmas is one Tory MP who’ll tell the truth about how they’ve screwed over disabled people [OPINION]

Gauke Marr Christmas
Support us and go ad-free

On Sunday 17 December, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Gauke appeared on The Andrew Marr Show. Marr questioned Gauke about the impact of benefit sanctions on those with mental illness. And it wasn’t even just those of us who’ve experienced the sharp end of the government’s benefits system that could see through his words. Even Marr pointed out [2:12]:

Part of the problem, perhaps, is that your department doesn’t really know very much about the effect of the sanctions that you’re in charge of on actual people.

No excuses

But ignorance is no excuse. Because the impact is well documented. As Marr stated [3:05]:

This is an argument where the professionals are on the other side to you.

In February, leading psychological and psychotherapeutic bodies called for the government to scrap its benefit sanctions. They wrote:

We see evidence…which links sanctions to destitution, disempowerment, and increased rates of mental health problems.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Gauke also attempted to promote the Conservatives’ much-trumpeted mantra that they are helping disabled people into work. In fact, Gauke believes [4:00] that the benefit sanctions regime actually helps people into work because it “helps change behaviour”.

Meanwhile, in November, Theresa May claimed that:

I am committed to tackling the injustices facing disabled people who want to work, so that everyone can go as far as their talents will take them.

A personal perspective

But as a working disabled person, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Due to mental ill health, I am unable to sustain full-time work. I love my work and wish I could work more. This year, I lost my Disability Living Allowance when it transferred to Personal Independence Payments. As a result of this, I lost my entitlement to the disability element of Working Tax Credit. Both of these benefits were vital to supporting my life as a working disabled person. And this means, like so many other people, I am feeling far from festive as I approach Christmas with more debt than I can handle.

So this is a personal plea this Christmas to all government ministers. Please be honest. You are either woefully and inexcusably ignorant of the challenges disabled people face; or you genuinely don’t give a shit and would rather punish us so you can cut corporation tax and give tax breaks to the wealthy. But stop pretending you care. Actions speak louder than words. And your actions speak volumes.

Get Involved!

Support Disabled People Against Cuts.

Featured image via screengrab

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

Comments are closed