The swingeing coalition welfare cuts are driving some people “to the point of threatening suicide”, Unite, the country’s largest union, told a group of MPs today (Thursday 27 February).
Unite regional community coordinator for London and the East of England, Pilgrim Tucker, was briefing MPs prior to the House of Commons debate later this morning on the War on Welfare petition, centring on people with disabilities.
Pilgrim Tucker said: “We hear from people who are increasingly depressed, to the point of threatening suicide, on a more and more frequent basis due to these reforms.
“This kind of pressure applied to the people who are often least able to protect themselves has no place in a civilised society.
“Each individual measure within the Welfare Reform Act fundamentally threatens the daily survival of hundreds of thousands of people, and taken in combination, for vulnerable people, they can be lethal.
“It is absolutely vital that the cumulative impact of these measures, and the other cuts and recent changes affecting disabled and vulnerable people are scrutinised, made public and addressed.
“We are seeing, over and over again, this basic standard being threatened and removed from people who are unquestionably not capable of working due to mental health issues or physical disabilities.
“The measures contained in the Welfare Reform Act, and other changes to benefits, such cuts to council tax benefits and the increase in number and severity of benefit sanctions, are the number one problem for a very high number of our members.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.