Petition requesting for unity within the Labour party cover letter

Dear Committee Members: Petition regarding public perception of Labour Party ___________________________________________

I enclose the Petition asking that the Labour Party help us with problems we encounter when speaking to friends and family, workmates, people generally about voting labour. As you will see, I am a new member, and only joined in May. I know that that may mean you don`t take me so seriously as a long term member, but I really do have such hope for labour since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, and well, I thought I would ask that you view my letter and the enclosed petition as it is meant – to help us all get the Labour Party elected in 2020.

This petition is a reflection of how party members, affiliates and voters  view the destructive way labour MP`s go to the Press instead of looking to discuss issues of difference constructively within the Party. We know how appalled the general public are when they see what goes on in the House of Commons, we need to show the public, and members that our M.P.`s are mature and capable enough to be able to disagree without, to put it bluntly acting like children throwing their rattle out of the pram. Since Jeremy Corbyn has been speaking as leader in the House of Commons I, and many new friends I have made through the new found hope in our democracy that Jeremy Corbyn has shown us, have been riveted to PMQ time. This isn`t just because we support Jeremy Corbyn, it is because he conducts himself as we expect our representatives in the House of our Democracy to behave. We need this constructive, listening, debating attitude to be a part of how we conduct ourselves in the Party, surely. We are bound to differ on issues, but what is turning people off is the destructive, personal underhand attacks that our M.P.`s conduct in the media. It wouldn`t matter what our policies are, it wouldn`t matter how well we could run the country and make it better for everybody, for society – if people see us squabbling like children in the media they will not vote for us.

So, I am not saying everybody has to agree, but I have no answer to people I speak to when they throw in my face: look at how nasty they are to each other in the papers and on the t.v. It`s like they don`t really care about us at all, it`s all like a game to them. Please, can you have a rule, or explain to me why not, that says any M.P., when they disagree with an issue, or a detail, first must officially bring it to the Party and get a response from the relevant person/office. In other words try to resolve it in a mature fashion. Then if they still want to go to the media there should be a rule that says the journal/programme/journalist has to agree to notify the department of the person the opinion is about and get THEIR response.

Also, there should be a rule that there are no personal attacks. What a bad example it is to the public, to our children, to witness our politicians resorting to name calling (or the equivalent). I wrote the wording of the petition, and this letter from the heart. It is a reflection of what I think and feel, and what i have heard and read from others who have recently joined, and also other people who don`t normally vote but have started to take an interest because of Jeremy Corbyn, and it gives them hope. Please don`t let us lose it.

Yours faithfully,

Marie Gebhard


Open Letter Re: The impact of austerity on MH. Demo 04/10/15 Ppls Assembly

To: Luciana Berger
CC: Jeremy Corbyn
CC: Heidi Alexander
CC: Owen Smith

RE: The impact on mental health due to austerity measures.

Dear Ms Luciana Berger et al,
Congratulations on your post, and may we all thank you, for taking this ministerial position on an area that has been gravely ignored.
We at  #uniteandight (which is a collaboration of 24 groups) wish to raise some concerns we have, and highlight immediate changes that are required.
1- Mr Duncan Smith insisted that the “most vulnerable people in our society” will be protected under his latest reforms. “Nearly 11 million adults in the UK have a common mental health condition …We also know that being out of work for four weeks or more can actually effect people’s mental health, even if the original reason for ill health was a physical one.” Yet the DWP has said that it only includes physical disabilities as making a person “vulnerable”. Having a mental health condition, no matter how serious, does not count. However, poor mental health is fatal in 2013, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 6,233 suicides of people over the age of 15 were registered, 252 more than in 2012, which represents a 4% increase.  I am not suggesting that 6,233 people have prematurely died due to welfare reform, but I wish to stress how vulnerable this group is.
2- Under DSM5 the latest directory of mental health conditions, it exhibits the diversity of what counts as mental health conditions.  Examples of such diversity are Autism spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome, and other Neurodevelopmental disorders, Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders including delusion disorder, bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, Depressive, anxiety and OCD related disorders, Trauma- and stressor-related disorders, Dissociative disorders, Dementia,  In 2012, 29873 women  and 13984 men died from dementia.  This is one of the conditions under the banner of mental health, but exactly how can we collectively pigeonhole people whose needs and conditions are multifarious?
3- To suggest that people who sit at home wallowing in self pity would feel better once they are employed is indicative of their ignorance. This only loosely alludes to depression, which incidentally is not a condition caused entirely by environmental factors, this is too deterministic and generalistic.  Researchers have noted differences in the brains of people who are depressed as compared to people who are not. For instance, the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is vital to the storage of memories, appears to be smaller in some people with a history of depression than in those who’ve never been depressed. A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors.  There are many people with depression who could possibly have everything in life to be content, yet they are depressed. It is not a choice, nor can it be solved by incentivising the person.  If they are depressed, then nothing will matter, they are lost in a bleak hole of despair.  Withdraw their welfare, withdraw their support, and they will not be motivated to improve their lives, for the already believe that life is too painful to endure, they have no hope, and are one prod away from suicide.
4-This ignorance is what had caused stigma. Stigma is not isolated to the public, but to the media portrayal of people with mental health conditions, professionals judgment of clients including therapists, the Department of Work and Pensions, the NHS, the Government and the sufferer themselves. If everyone is not exposed to the truth about mental health conditions, and understands the facts not the stereotypes, then no legislation will change.  Time to Change has started the ball rolling, but this is something only known about by clients.  We are not targeting those who do not understand mental health conditions, and so prejudice prevails.
5- Due to austerity measure, all health services have been cut.  Since mental health has NEVER been on a par with physical health, these cuts have resulted in the service entirely existing for crisis care only such as hospitalisation via sectioning.  There are no preventative measure, there are no provisions for care, treatment, or therapy for those who require regular living support with professionals.  CPNs have been reduced to giving clients (clients) medicines, and ensuring they are taken.  Psychologists do not have the funds to take on clients who need long term therapy which by the very nature of their paradigm treatment is long term for years.
6-Whilst David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt gloat at stating CBT has increased and more people now have access to this service, they fail to realise this this therapy is a basic therapy.  It works by uniting two paradigms,  Behavioural and cognitive.  The assumptions of behaviourism is that all behaviour is learnt and can therefore be unlearnt.  The cognitive assumption is that our brains are like a computer. The programmes we run are the ones we are given.  We cannot do something we do not have a programme for.  Therefore we have to re-programme our thinking.  There is not one Cognitive Behavioural therapist with ethics that would touch anyone with complex mental health conditions. These type of therapy would not help the client recover, it would not offer the client what they need and it potentially could open Pandora’s box without the means to support client’s emotional and mental torment. Therefore, CBT must be understood, and its limitations must be recognised. A posting on the governments’ Contracts Finder website reveals that the DWP intend to spend £21 million on the online CBT. Which incidentally is already free via, Beating the blues, and Fear fighter.  So why they  are investing in services that are already free is foolhardy.  It is not clear how much they intend to spend on human therapists, where they think they can get them, or whether they will actually have training and experience to do the job. Counsellors intend to offer “integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions”. Yet, Prof Glenys Parry, chief investigator of the government-funded AdEPT (Adverse Effects of Psychological Therapies) study, said that there needs to be greater recognition of the potential for counselling to make people worse. Additionally since these sessions will be run via JCP it will be based on slots of 6-12 sessions maximum, which is the limited slots available to all NHS clients. Mental health practitioners have an ethical responsibility to protect and maintain the confidentiality of their clients. With online therapy the security of the client’s records and information could be jeopardised and confidentiality is at greater risk of being inappropriately breached given the written nature of the medium. Online therapy is currently deemed inappropriate for diagnosis of clinical issues such as chronic depression and psychotic. A disadvantage is that counselling typically takes longer to produce benefits that are noticeable to the person receiving treatment. Another problem is that counselling is not about giving advice, but can be about enabling the client to consider various options. For a client who needs guidance, tools to cope, direction, techniques, etc due to complex mental health conditions they will find they are pouring out their heart to a blank wall, and getting nothing back.  Counsellor’s are a sounding board, but most people with complex mental health conditions are very open, and talk incessantly about their issues because they want to be told how to remedy this.  They do not need a sounding board.  Lastly, the aim of this support is not to empower the client, and help them manage their conditions to live life more skilful, but it is entirely aimed at getting the client into employment.  The objectives of many clients suffering from mental health is more extensive than employment.  Clients desire and need life skills, coping skills, to obtain a full life with relations, academia, socialising, self care, finances, even being able to go on holiday! To limit the focus to ensuring the client is suitable for work, rejects the exhaustive matters of contention.
7-Mental health cuts are costing the NHS millions long-term as reduced preventive measures mean more people are ending up in hospital.  A report by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), commissioned by the Care and Support Alliance, has revealed that since 2005, 30,000 people with mental health problems have lost their social care support, following a £90m shortfall in funding due to cuts to local authority budgets. The research also shows that people with mental health problems have been disproportionately affected compared with older people or those with physical disabilities. Charities which had been the safety net for clients due to NHS cuts, now have had their funding also cut. Mind’s support workers have now had their remit changed to housing related support work only due the findings at where 80% of those homeless reported some form of mental health issue, 45% had been diagnosed with a mental health issue. Rethink Mental Illness, has found that services that help young people recover from psychosis, are struggling to survive in the face of major funding cuts. All charities have been hit by austerity.  Their funding has been cut, just as more people than ever needs them.  All mental health clients deserve access to a support worker, who they can see regular, talk out issues, practice exposure therapies, gain access to justice through advocates, get support with form filling such as council housing and welfare.  Someone who is in regular contact with clients will notice when someone is behaving differently to their own norm, and are heading towards crisis.  The support worker can intervene before the client hits crisis, and help them through particularly fragile episodes.  However, charities funding cuts should not be the ‘last straw on the camels back’. Mental health clients should be protected by NHS services who are obliged to comply with the recommendations in the Francis Report to improve care and safety for clients. NHS England have funded the additional costs of implementing these recommendations in the acute trusts but have withheld equivalent funding from mental health services, creating a significant gap in the budget.
8- We are all aware of the potential DWP deaths.  We have read the names, we have seen their pictures, we have laid flowers on the lawn outside Westminster for every human being who has prematurely died due to sanctions and the mental turmoil of Work Capability assessments.  UK Government’s reforms now, for the first time, has officially been blamed for his death of Michael O’Sullivan, a 60-year-old, after a coroner found that the “trigger” for his suicide was “his recent assessment by a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) doctor as being fit for work”. The inquest heard that the Atos Healthcare-employed doctor assessing O’Sullivan for the DWP, a former orthopaedic surgeon, had not taken the views of other doctors treating him that he was not fit for work. The coroner was told that the doctor had not asked O’Sullivan if he had any suicidal thoughts during the 90-minute assessment which would have been so incredibly unbearable for him, that many would have said anything to escape the room, even though he had mentioned them in a DWP questionnaire.
Like many with mental health conditions he was a father with serious mental health problems, who killed himself after being hounded back to work by the DWP. It is incomprehensibly to someone who has never suffered mental health, but it is the most consuming, overwhelming and painful, emotional, mental and physical torture.  When pushed, the only escape is to jump, and whilst we believe Michael represents the tip of the iceberg, we are terrified that many more will follow him.
All those with mental health conditions are terrified.  Terrified of the mental torture they live with day to day.  Terrified of prejudice and stigma.  Terrified of welfare reforms, and assessments akin to mentally abusive interrogations. But most of all they are terrified that they simply cannot hold on any longer.  That all this pressure from ‘fit for work’, the scrounger rhetoric, the failing services that now rely on the medical model and dope clients up to be compliant, and the loss of support are all pushing this vulnerable group of human beings to the edge and they are terrified that they too will die.  On behalf of all those with mental health conditions, a beacon of hope has been ignited by your party.  Please do not extinguish that beacon.

I apologise for the length of this letter.  This area in particular has been swept under the carpet, and so now that we have a beacon to turn to, we are flooding you with all our concerns!!!
Yours faithfully



Storm posts

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Complex mental health conditions in Austerity. An open letter to anyone left to help us!

Dear reader,

I beg you, on behalf of us all.  Protect us from being cruelly abandoned.

Austerity has offered us a double edged sword.  We are unfit to work and so exist in poverty, and our hope of ever being well enough to work is getting dashed by the cuts in funding to mental health services and charities.

I appreciate deeply how CBT is now being rolled out to more people, but this is a superficial therapy, for people who will benefit from unlearning maladaptive behaviour and change their toxic thinking. However, this therapy is not appropriate for those with complex conditions.  I myself have been told that and was sent on to services that would cater for people with complex conditions.  Sadly this area has no funding, so after assessments I like many others was told a variety of reason which blamed me for not being suitable for this therapy. People have heard a long list of reasons –

  1. you are not really motivated  (which is entirely subjective no matter how much you try to prove you are motivated)

  2. you are too intelligent and thus resistant to therapy!,

  3. Fear of what will happen if the you recover is another factor!

  4. Fear of judgment.

  5. Fear of rejection

  6. Fear of assuming greater responsibility.

  7. You are not ready for in-depth therapy if you have not harnessed your coping skills for anxiety and panic, then delving in to traumas will make you dangerously worse

  8. You have a personality disorder

  9. you are unwilling or not trying hard enough

  10. you are not applying or using tools you already have

  11. you are not intelligent enough to understand

The reasons given to abandon the most mentally fragile from support is endless.  With an NHS service, if you are told you are unsuitable, this means you cannot look for a different therapist.  It doesn’t work like that.  You can as I have done in the past made an official NHS complaint, which involves a meeting where you explain what has occurred and why you believe this is wrong.  To be honest, the onus seems to remain with the patient and the therapist is backed by their peers.  This rejection alone is enough to take the lives of those of us who have now lost all hope.  For the rest of us, we wait until we are re-referred all over again, and go trough this same process and are thus rejected again.  I have been denied therapy 9 times in 13 years for a variety of reason. When you have invested all you energy, effort, and hope into the potential of recovering, to be told that once again you are unsuitable is devastating.

Now what do you do?  In what other NHS service would you find patients unsuitable?  Someone with a broken leg would not be told that they are not ready to have it set in plaster, or they seem unmotivated to have their broken leg in a cast! You would never hear a doctor advise someone with a broken leg to go home, and try their best to mend it themselves, and then if it has not worked to come back! Of course if it has not worked it would require the leg to be re-broken to be reset into place which involves more work, or worse, the leg has become infected and now needs to be amputated! If this broken leg was emotional trauma, this would be what happens.  But do not assume that when you return with a more severe issue you will be helped.  Sadly no, because now they cannot afford re-break and reset the leg, or amputate, so they will find another reason, to send you home.  They will say that since this leg is so bad, it highlights how little you have actually tried to recover!

So who then can we turn to?  Many moons ago a mental health charity called MIND gave me a support worker, and an advocate to fight for therapy.  During our battle (which took over 18 months) the remit for support workers changed to Housing related issues only.  I therefore did not count! But my support worker had promised to stay with me until I got took on, and she left when I began my extended assessment.  After being denied therapy again, I contacted MIND but this time, was reminded I do not fit their remit (due to government cuts) and so they can not help me.

Evidently, due to austerity those with complex mental health condition’s where CBT will be of no benefit are finding psychotherapy and Transactional analysis being denied due to cuts (all investment is going into CBT) and charity support being cuts.  This group of highly damaged people are being told they are not worthy to have a life beyond the crippling existence they have.

The majority of disabled people have both physical and mental health conditions.  Often one impacts the other. Due to the mental health neglect, it becomes impossible to access the physical health treatments.  If for instance you have avoidant personality disorder, or agoraphobia then going to a hospital or clinic, waiting in a waiting room, and then enduring an assessment is unbearable.  To then be told you need to stay in for an operation is simply an invisible impossibility.  As mental health services neglect to treat complex conditions, they are not just abandoning the mind and emotions of the person, but like the ripples in pond from a pebble, it spreads out and impacts everything.  Their physical health gets neglected, then their family relations are impacted, most lose their partners first who are often their free carer’s.  This isolates the sufferer so significantly that people have ended their lives.  It is beyond overwhelming to maintain such a physically, mentally and emotionally painful life, where there is no hope of improvement.  Eventually you become so consumed that the only escape from this agony is death.

Are these sufferers to be left to rot, increasing in severity because they cannot afford to treat us? NO! They will be tortured by the government next!

Recently DWP released a publication stating that 90 a month were dying shortly after being taken off their benefit.  For those of us with complex mental health conditions with no hope of recovery (since we keep being denied help) we are expected to complete long complicated forms (which predominantly focus on physical health condition’s) and then we enter the interrogation stage. This involves an assessment which whistle-blowers have confirmed intend for you to fail. The test also focuses primarily on physical competency.  Once you have failed to be recognised as disabled (due to austerity) you are then passed to Job centre plus.  Whistle blowers have confirmed that staff have targets for example to sanction 20 people a week.  The techniques used vary from not informing you of appointments and then sanctioning you for non attendance, to deliberately agitating claimants so that they react.  Remember the people we are discussing here have complex mental health condition’s A sanction can last up to 2 years.  This means no money, no food, no cleaning liquids, no replaced clothes and furniture, and eventually no home.

So thanks you austerity people who never caused the economic crash, people who are so vulnerable that their very existence hangs in the balance are being pushed from pillar to post, neglected, abandoned and misjudged.

No one surely is unsuitable for therapy.  Everyone stands the chance to recover, to live full and active lives.  No one should be left on the scrap heap, and striped of all hope that death is their only way out.  People just need the RIGHT therapy.  For therapists to be supportive, empowering, and patient. For time to not be an issue, for NHS cuts to not restrict the types of help available, and for patients to be able to find the type of therapy and therapist that best suits them, rather than be allocated one person who will determine in essence whether you live or die.

When did the value of life become so restrictive that it omits the needy? If people receive the right care, the right attention, the right treatment, what they will be able to offer the world is without bounds.  Here we have potential Scientists, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Authors, teachers, even therapists!  They just need to be allowed to fulfil their potential with the right help.

People with complex mental health conditions usually are the product of childhood and life long traumas.  Should those hurt and damaged by others go on to be hurt and damaged by the healthcare system and the government? I do not think they should, I think this is the equivalent of kicking someone when they are already down, and only bullies do that.

Please, I beg you, help us before we have no hope left to keep us alive.

Thank you




UN officials to visit UK over coming months to investigate whether Iain Duncan Smith’s “reforms” to disability benefits are compatible with Human Rights

Politics and Insights


I reported last year that the UK has become the first country to face a United Nations inquiry into disability rights violations.A formal investigation was launched by the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Officials from the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are to visit  Britain after the Tories announced a wave of new austerity measures, including slashing disability benefits by £30 a week.

Thousands of sick and disabled people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are having their weekly payment cut from £102.15 to £73.10, which is the same amount as jobseekers’ allowance, if they are assessed as being able to undertake “work-related activity”. Bearing in mind that in order to claim ESA in the first place, prior to assessment, a doctor has already deemed these people unfit for work, the move to cut lifeline benefits further is…

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Marie Gebhard

Mental health continues to be a second class service. I wrote this 2 years ago- yes that it moi!!! This government has turned the service into crisis service only. Unless you are a major and evident danager to yourself or other you can forget receiving therapy. Being agoraphobic is a different matter. You are rarely dangerous enough to be accepted for help, but since you are agoraphobic you cannot even get to the services. You are cut off, and left to fester. Some will reach crisis point and receive some help.. most will be ignored. Of those ignored the Department of work and pensions are not tolerant. This much misunderstood illness means people are FORCED to partake in interviews, assessments, interrogations, work placements etc. I know for a fact that if I had to endure one of things I would be like many placed in a position where I felt trapped, unable to immediately escape to my self zone when needed, and would quite easily and sadly take my own life. At present 90 people a month have died since I wrote this. Yet no one seems to be up in arms about this. No one seems to think that people need support, help, care, treatment. They have cut services like MIND, they have cut mental health services, they have cut peoples understanding and compassion, and now these desperate isolated people, and being cruelly punished for being sick!
Perhaps if they were treated initially and not by being doped up on pharmacology there would not be these desperate people pressured to endure a living hell, because no one will help them recover, and the government wont tolerate or respect their condition! No wonder people are dying, a waste of a life, potentially could have been so much more, but because no one cares, they fade away and die, unnoticed, as though they do not matter and never did, Thank you Iain Duncan Smith for your and your departments ignorance. For putting money before the cost of human beings. If I survive your disabled culling, I will never ever forgive you for what you have done to my peers.

Jessography Unmasked


Dear Agoraphobic sufferer of 2013:

As I sit, in 2013 here desperate for relief, desperate to live again, and fearing deep down I shall never recover, I thought of you. I hope so much that the state and society now understand Agoraphobia. I hope that science has moved on and found the cause of this crippling illness, and thus discovered a cure for it. I hope you feel the sun on your face and the sand beneath your feet. I hope you see your children run through tall grass, and spend your weekends punting on rivers. I hope that you are not blamed for your illness as we are. Doctors treat us with contempt, begrudgingly refer us to therapy, then because we cannot get to therapy they then wash their hands of us, throw us on the scrap heap, and leave us to rot. Due to this neglect, our conditions…

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These Statistics Tell Us Fuck All But One Death Was Too Many

the void

first-they-cameIf there’s one thing we can learn from the release of statistics examining the deaths of sickness benefit claimants it’s that most journalists writing about social security haven’t got a fucking clue what they are talking about.  Both The Guardian and The Daily Mail reported this week that 2,380 people died within two weeks of being found Fit For Work by the DWP when in truth these people could have died anytime up to two years after their assessments.

The reason for this blunder – and that seems the wrong word given the subject matter, negligence might be better – is simply because they misunderstood the DWP’s garbled explanantion of how they collect data for statistical purposes.

Two statistical reports were reluctantly released by the government yesterday and both are equally confusing – and no doubt deliberately so.   The first is a report on the death rates of people on…

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Welfare cuts deaths: 60,000 demand Government reveal how many people died after being found ‘fit for work’


The following article was written by Dan Bloom for Mirror Online. Click here for original.

Tens of thousands of people are calling on the Government to reveal how many benefits claimants died after being found fit for work.


The government is refusing to release the figures despite being ordered to by a watchdog.

A searing ruling by the Information Commissioner said chiefs had acted unreasonably after not publishing any figures for 3 years.

But instead of giving in, the Department for Work and Pensions is fighting its own watchdog to get the decision overturned.

Furious benefits campaigners now want to know what the government is trying to hide.

Retired welfare advisor Maggie Zolobajluk, 63, launched a petition which 60,000 people signed in a few days.

The pensioner told Mirror Online she was left in despair after watching how Government welfare cuts hit her clients in Sutton, Surrey.

“Why doesn’t…

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The story of how one man died soon after the DWP’s benefit tests found him ‘fit to work’


The Department for Work and Pensions has released statistics showing that thousands of people have died soon after being found fit to work by its disability benefit tests.

The DWP says the figures alone “provide limited scope” for understanding why people died. Here is one case study from 2014.

Trevor Drakard was found dead in his Sunderland home a few months after his incapacity benefit was stopped. He had killed himself.

Mr Drakard, 50, who had recently been assessed as “fit for work” and ordered to find a job, was in the process of appealing against the decision with assistance from Citizens Advice Bureau when he took his own life in July 2014.

An inquest in September of the same year in Sunderland heard how Mr Drakard, who had suffered with epilepsy from the age of six, was left feeling depressed “due to the stress of losing his benefits”.


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What the DWP didn’t want you to know…

A Fair Say

Job centre plusChurch Action on Poverty uncovers new Government research which reveals millions of pensioners and working age families losing out as more than £10 billion in benefits go unclaimed.

The Department for Work and Pensions research report, published without comment in June, reveals shocking figures for the numbers of people missing out on pensions and other social security they are entitled to.

This is believed to be the first time the Government has released details of the amount of benefits which go unclaimed since 2010, and reveal a sorry picture of millions of people losing out on the benefits they are entitled to.

  • More than a third of eligible pensioners (between 1.2 -1.4 million people) missed out on receiving Pension Credit during 2013/014 and the total unclaimed came to between £2.5 and £3.3 billion.
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance was the worst performing benefit. The report estimated that more than 650,000 families (at least…

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Guess what, I’m a grown up….

Poppy's Place

Why is it that non disabled people seem to think I’m a child. I have news for you folks – I’m not. I’m a well educated, 54 year old mother of two adult children,

And I am disabled, not stupid.

For many years I have had to deal with people who seem to think they need to crouch down in front of me in order to have a conversation. Just like you do with young children.

And people who seem to think I’m not capable of knowing my own mind and what I want – the infamous ‘Does she talk sugar’ brigade. Why not ask me? I can talk and, as a friend once said when a waitress asked him this question, I rarely stop talking.

This ‘treating me as a small child’ thing has come to a head recently as, due to a worsening of my condition, I am…

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