I have a friend who has had his benefits ‘sanctioned’ for making 3 mistakes with the Job Centre over a 12 month period. His income has gone from very little to absolutely nothing. He has no food and no electricity and not a hope of any comfort or luxury for the forseable future. He can’t use the foodbank because he has no electricity for his cooker, for the same reason he cannot wash his clothes or have a warm wash. He is realistically facing eviction because they stopped his Housing Benefit too. Can you imagine living like that?
He points out he would be better off in prison because at least he’d get three meals a day and be able to have a wash. I’m sympathetic to many of the Government’s efforts to cut back and save money but their approach to welfare benefits is inhuman.
I am convinced that Job Centres and benefits offices are deliberately incompetant to reduce the number of successful claims. They hit their targets, meanwhile I weekly see young people dropping out of education or considering crime to avoid being destitute. Some terrible, divisive and destructive seeds are being sown at the moment.
BUT….we must work hard to communicate to these young people that they have immense value to society and have the ability to overcome adversity. To persevere.
Our Government is failing disenfranchised young people at the moment. But as a community we can step up and take some responsibility to love, care for and empower them. Do your bit, no matter how small.