David Clapson was found dead last year after his benefits were stopped on the grounds that he wasn't taking the search for work seriously. He had an empty stomach, and just £3.44 to his name. Now thousands of other claimants are being left in similarly dire straits by tough new welfare sanctions.Consider the man and his life's arc:
We know that David Clapson was actively searching for work when he died because a pile of CVs he had just printed out was found a few metres from his body. The last time he spoke to his sister, a few days before he died, he told her he was waiting to hear back about an application he had made to the supermarket chain Lidl.
But officials at the Jobcentre believed he was not taking his search for work seriously enough, and early last July, they sanctioned him – cutting off his benefit payments entirely, as a punishment for his failure to attend two appointments.
Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage on 20 July 2013, from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). When Gill Thompson, his younger sister, discovered his body, she found his electricity had been cut off (meaning that the fridge where he kept his insulin was no longer working). There was very little left to eat in the flat – six tea bags, an out-of-date tin of sardines and a can of tomato soup. His pay-as-you-go mobile phone had just 5p credit left on it and he had only £3.44 in his bank account. The autopsy notes reveal that his stomach was empty.
She (the sister who discovered his body) is at pains to describe her brother as someone who had worked for 29 years, anxious to stress that he should not be seen as "scrounger". He spent five years in the army, two of them serving in Belfast, 16 years working for BT and another eight at other companies before he stopped working to care for their mother who had developed dementia.Soldier, longtime worker and family caregiver, yet these facets mattered not in a system that required compliance and performance.
The Little Match Girl died in a dehumanized system, as did The CV Veteran.
Note that financial securitizations are non-taxed and private equity underwriters (PEU) keep their preferred carried interest taxation which makes their firms virtual nonprofits. Obviously, elected leaders believe these group's have earned and deserve the government's help.
I have seen so many people -- particularly those in their 50s - 70s -- taken apart by what has happened in their industry as greed has hollowed out the economy. These are people took pride in their jobs and held themselves to this invisible standard that we all just took for granted, but is being wiped out.
Others, like the people mentioned above, not so much.