Oct 232014
 

There are a lot of activists who don’t like petitions. They don’t sign them. They don’t share them. They look down on them as not being worthwhile.

And quite often they are right. Most petitions are a waste of time and energy. But just occasionally one petition will take off and it will change the world, just a little bit.

A case in point is this petition – Hold an inquiry into benefit sanctions that killed my brother

After 211,778 signed this petition the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee have taken up the case and launched an inquiry :-

Here is the press release from Change.org and an article in the Mirror about it


 

MPs set to hold benefit sanctions inquiry following 200K petition after ex soldier died when his Jobseekers’ Allowance was stopped

More than 211,000 people signed a Change.org petition started by Gill Thompson calling for an inquiry into benefit sanctions after her diabetic David Clapson, 59, was found dead in his home.

Gill’s three-month campaign called for an independent inquiry into benefit sanctions – which refers to occasions that money is withheld from claimants if they fail to meet the terms agreed.

The Department for Work and Pensions cross-party select committee has now agreed and its inquiry into benefit sanctions is due to start early next year. It is expected to be completed shortly before the General Election 2015.

David from Stevenage who worked for 29 years had his £71.70 weekly allowance stopped and died three weeks later. When his body was found by a friend, his electricity card was out of credit meaning the fridge where he kept the insulin he used to treat his diabetes was not working.

He died from diabetic ketoacidosis three weeks after his benefits were stopped caused by not taking insulin. A coroner found that when David died there was no food in his stomach.

Gill, 57, from London welcomes the decision to hold an inquiry. She said: “I’m still getting my head around the announcement. It’s still so overwhelming. When I started the petition I didn’t know what would happen.

“It’s wasn’t just for David. Nothing can replace him but the one thing I thought I could do was to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I’m not normally a campaigner and David wasn’t someone who liked being made a fuss of, but sometimes in life there are certain things you have to do – and starting this petition was one of them.

“I am so glad I did it now. I hope through this investigation lessons will be learnt. People turn to the state when they are in need – that is what the system is for – a safety net for hard working people like my brother when they need a bit of support.”

Debbie Abraham’s MP for East Oldham and Saddleworth has been calling on the DWP select committee to hold an inquiry into “inappropriate use” of benefit sanctions since November last year.

Mrs Abraham’s who is a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee said:

“Gill has shown great courage in the wake of her brother’s appalling death to take on this cruel government and its inhuman policy of targeting vulnerable people who are reliant on social security.

“The huge response to Gill’s Change.org petition with more than 200K signatures is proof that the British public will not stand by and do nothing when they see vulnerable people suffering.”

“The government has done everything it can to avoid having this inquiry. There is increasing evidence of the negative effects of social security sanctions on some of the most vulnerable in society, which shows that their so-called welfare reforms don’t work. This is a government that doesn’t give a damn about ordinary people.

“Latest figures show that there are now more people in working families who are living in poverty than in workless and retired families combined.”


So come on you armchair activists – and you street activists – Get Signing and Sharing – petitions can change the world – just a little bit.

Here’s one that is close to DPACs heart to be getting on with https://www.change.org/p/enda-kenny-t-d-enda-kenny-and-hse-stop-the-abuse-of-anthony-kletzander-in-ireland

Please sign it and share it. you never know – you might be changing the world, just a little bit, again. We’d be very grateful if you do.

 

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 Posted by at 13:30

  7 Responses to “Don’t knock armchair activism – its an important part of our work”

  1. It may be that many petitions do not achieve their aim, but that is no reason to not sign them, for every signature gives hope that the aim of the petition will succeed.

  2. I don’t think the call for an inquiry in to benefit sanctions goes far enough.

    We need an independent commission of inquiry into ALL of the abuses the disabled and vulnerable and benefit claimants have and are suffering at the hands of this Government and the DWP.

    I myself have been treated appallingly by DWP who have taken money from me that I did not owe.

    They accused me of benefit fraud, from the day I signed on income support until the present day they said I had to give them all that money back, this is not how overpayment’s are calculated.

    they also took away my income support and my free prescriptions.

    WE NEED A COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DWP ABUSES OF BENEFIT CLAIMANTS.

    this commission should invite evidence from victims of DWP abuse.

    this would encompass ALL decision made my DWP since this Government took power ONLY then will we have JUSTICE.

    Just image how much money the DWP have stolen from benefit claimants in the past 4 years or more ??

    WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK ITS OURS MONEY NOT THE GOVERNMENTS JUST SO THEY CAN GIVE IT TO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS IN THE FORM OF TAX CUTS AND PRIVATIZATION.

    I AM DISTURBED THAT DPAC WHO SUPPOSEDLY FIGHT FOR DISABLED PEOPLE RIGHTS TAKE NO INTEREST IN PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF BENEFIT FRAUD AND SUBSEQUENTLY UNJUSTLY TREATED !!!

    WHY ?????????????

    will you answer this question DPAC ????

    • We do care about people who have been falsely done for benefit fraud, and we do take it very seriously and we are aware that this is happening. But the awful situation we face all the time is that we don’t have enough active people to campaign against all of the injustices that are happening to disabled people. If we were to try to campaign on everything we would succeed with nothing, so we try to concentrate on issues where we think we can do something for change, and I’m sorry that means there are things, really important things like this that we can’t work on, and frankly we hate having to do that. We need more active members to come forward and take part in opposing these injustices, then we will be able to do more.

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