I went to a preview of Ken Loach's very necessary Palme D'Or winning new film I, Daniel Blake; I wept. I am so glad
a special screening has beenarranged
by the Peoples Assemblyin Birmingham and sorry I
cannot be there.
Life was bad for the unemployed prior to Iain Duncan Smith's reforms, when I was working with and for benefit claimants in debt. Parliament did not, however, permit jobcentre officials to stop unemployment income for one month, three months or three years with a benefit sanction.
I reflected at the preview that I, Daniel Blake describes only one of three nightmare bureaucracies which require officials to implement oppressive laws that impact on the mental and physical health of our poorest fellow citizens and their children by creating debts, hunger and homelessness.
Now, when the jobcentre stops an income with a benefit sanction, local authorities continue to enforce rent and council tax arrears; magistrates enforce fines for poverty related offences such as TV licence or fare evasion, both adding court costs and bailiffs fees. Those debts have often arisen because benefit and other incomes in and out of work have been shredded since 2010. The debts pile up while the unemployment income is stopped by the sanction and are then enforced for months after it ends.
The poverty crisis is even deeper than the tragic circumstances accurately captured by Ken Loach.
from the Reverend Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
No citizen without an affordable home and an
adequate income in work or unemployment.
93 Campbell Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BF, 0208 3765455, 07961 177889,