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Cameron heckled at Xmas lights ceremony

anonymous | 01.12.2012 09:31 | Health | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles | Oxford

Prime Minister David Cameron was heckled on Friday evening at a Christmas lights ceremony in Witney by several people angry at the impact of welfare reforms and cuts. The protesters read the names and details of people who had died as a result of these policies, and held placards accusing Cameron of having "blood on his hands".

Security were pretty quick to jump on us. One woman was violently arrested, while other security guards responded by dragging and shoving protesters and seizing a megaphone.

"It's sickening that a man responsible for the deaths of so many vulnerable people can play Santa at events like this" said Fran Yarnton. "Meanwhile huge numbers of disabled people are suffering from depression, self-harm and even suicide as a result of having their benefits cut or refused."


[1] A poll of GPs found that 6% of GPs had patients who had committed (or attempted) suicide as a result of undergoing (or fear of undergoing) the WCA (Work Capability Assessment). 14% of GPs had patients who had self-harmed as a result of the WCA, and 21% of GPs had patients who had considered suicide because of the test:
 http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/news_and_media/national_press_releases/new_gp_survey_shows.html

[2] A few of the most well-known deaths and suicides resulting from welfare reform are documented at:
 http://calumslist.org/

[3] Figures release under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that between January and November 2011, 2200 people died while waiting to be assessed for ESA (Employment Support Allowance), while 1300 people died after being assigned to the WRAG (Work-Related Activity Group), which indicates that the authorities believe they may be able to undertake some work with support. The DWP claims to have no statistics on the number of people who die after being judged "fit for work".
 http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf

[4] Around 424000 people are currently waiting to be assessed:
 http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/11/esa-appeals-increase-by-40-what-the-newspapers-wont-print/

[5] The mental health charity Mind reported "seeing extremely unwell people, who have only recently been discharged from psychiatric services, being found fit for work". The charity's branch in Oxford has supported more than 100 people through the appeals process over the past year, 90% of whom have seen the decision that they were fit for work overturned.
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/10/charity-chief-quits-over-fit-for-work-test?CMP=EMCSOCEML657

[6] More than 70 first-hand accounts of the ESA process are included in The People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment, a comprehensive analysis of this system and the policy objectives which fuel it:
 http://wearespartacus.org.uk/wca-peoples-review/

anonymous

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