Saturday, July 26, 2014

How Britain Looks After its Heroes

WHENEVER British soldiers come home from whatever war they have been fighting, or old soldiers find themselves in the news as say, victims of robbery, it is customary for headline writers to refer to them as "heroes".

Not wishing to be grudging I thought I might as well adhere to the convention. Our story concerns what happened to an ex-soldier, who became the victim, not of common street robbers, but of government policies administered by smooth officials.

A friend posts the article written by Michael Havis for the Stevenage Advertiser.

A year ago former soldier David Clapson, aged 59, died at his home from diabetic keto-acidosis, which the NHS calls “a dangerous complication of diabetes caused by a lack of insulin.”

Because he had no money, Mr.Clapson could not pay for his electricity to keep his insulin supply cool.

His jobseeker’s allowance of approximately £70 a week – on which his family says he was reliant – had been suspended three weeks before on June 28, for missing meetings.

According to his family, Mr Clapson was found “alone, penniless and starving” a short distance from a pile of printed CVs, with nothing to his name but £3.44, six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date tin of sardines.

The coroner found that David – a former BT engineer of 16 years, who had served two years in Northern Ireland with the Royal Corps of Signals during The Troubles – had nothing in his stomach when he died.

Now his sister, Gill Thompson, says “lessons must be learned” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) before vulnerable benefit claimants are sanctioned in future.
Severe Condition, ..."Correct Procedures"
She said: “I rang him regularly to check on him and so did friends, but because he was such a quiet and private person neither family nor friends knew just how bad it was.

“Apparently the DWP rely on information from the claimant, support workers or medical professionals to understand the level of vulnerability.

“Should his severe condition not been taken into consideration when issuing this sanctions? Should someone have checked his file?”

In a letter sent by the DWP regarding the case, head of benefit centres – Claire McGuckin – said “I am confident that the correct procedures were followed for the administration of benefit.”

Gill said: “I am disgusted with the DWP response and now feel I should make this more public. David should have been helped by health professionals not persecuted by the authorities. He was not a scrounger but wouldn’t seek help. He needed true professional and clinical support which never came.

“The authorities should have been more willing to understand and help a vulnerable adult before they die.“The signs were there and lessons must be learned to ensure cases like this are truly eliminated from a fair society.”
The pile of printed CVs found near David Clapson's body suggests that far from being a "scrounger", he was making every effort to find himself a suitable job, something rarely to be offered by those places misleadingly described as Job Centres. He might not have had time for their pointless "meetings".

Maybe the DWP staff would have been better able to pay attention to Mr.Clapson's particular needs and condition if they were not under constant pressure to take away people's benefits. Money for which he would have paid adequate national insurance during his 16 years working for British Telecom, as well as his time in the army.

Under the war on welfare presided over by Tory Ian Duncan Smith and his understudy Esther Mcveigh, thousands of people have died after decisions taken by DWP officials or the private firms brought in to profit from removing people's entitlement to unemployment or disability benefit. 'Hero' or not, David Clapson joined the statistics.

Read more:

See also:

And there's more.

Since I posted this blog, I see Tom Pride (Pride's Purge) has gone further into the area and assembled a whole sheaf of cases.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home