Tory cuts costs lives
A 38-year-old mother, Elaine Morrall died alone and cold while wearing a coat and a scarf indoors because she could not afford to pay for heating and had switched it off until her children got home from school. Elaine’s family said that her benefits were stopped because she was too ill to attend a universal credit interview.
Elaine was vulnerable, as she suffered from an eating disorder and mental health problems. Her mother, Linda, said that she had no income but was expected to be able to pay full rent. Elaine was told that being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview. She was sanctioned.
A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for her devastated four children. And Elaine’s mum has sent a scathing and “brokenhearted” letter to her local councillor in Halton.
In an open letter on Facebook, she wrote: “How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people?”
Linda said: “My daughter lived in Boston Ave. She died on the afternoon of 2 November, 2017 at home on her own. She was 38 years.
“In the cold with her coat & scarf on. Because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. Why?? Because she couldn’t afford it.
“Because she was severely depressed. Suffered from eating disorder and many other problems for many years.
“Mainly due to authoritarians of one form or another. I can give you details. […] was in out of hospital in recent months in intensive care.”
“But was deemed not ill enough for ESA [Employment and Support allowance]. Had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit.
“No income but expected to be able to pay full rent. Was told being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview.
“I went to the job centre to inform them that she couldn’t attend. But benefits [her]stopped again.
“Uncaring housing taking her to court. She’s due to go to court on Monday. Is being dead now enough reason? Is that what’s had to happen to prove she was ill?
“How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people??
“What are you and your fellow councillors going to do to protect your constituents?”
Halton MP Derek Twigg , who is now working with the family, said: “It is a very tragic case and I am providing assistance to my constituent.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Ms Morrall’s family at this difficult time.
“We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times.
“Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”
Under the devastatingly tragic circumstances, the statement from the Department for Work and Pensions’ is not only excrciatingly jarring and insensitive, it’s an unforgivable exercise in excuses and denial, it also constitutes the most appalling political gaslighting technique, of monumental Orwellian proportions
If there was any truth in that statement at all, then Elaine simply would not be dead.
To add further insult to the families’ grief, Jonathan Horsfall, Halton Housing Trust debt recovery manager, said: “We always follow strict procedures around arrears.”
“We strive to find solutions with our customers and have intensive support workers who enable us to do so where possible.
“Our support services are on offer to those who we know are in arrears, and are always reached out to for support.
“If customers are concerned about arrears we always encourage anyone to get in touch with us as early as possible in the arrears process so we can do all we can to help.”
Such statements are only plausible if they are taken completely out of the catastrophic circumstances they attempt to address. These superficial, bureaucratic and utterly meaningless statements issued from warm tidy little offices from cold officials are denials that are pre-formulated responses ultimately from an authoritarian government that has absolutely no intention whatsoever of changing its draconian welfare policies, no matter how many more vulnerable citizens die as a consequence.
Elaine Morrall, who died alone and in the cold at home, too poor to put the heating on in the world’s 6th most wealthiest nation. Government officials claim they offer “support” to vulnerable people such as Elaine, yet clearly, they dismally failed to support Elaine at all.
I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a very limited income. But you can help by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.