The Ken Loach film “I, Daniel Blake” powerfully highlights the impacts of austerity by focusing on the now brutal, impersonal and uncaring benefits system. Iain Duncan-Smith says it doesn’t fairly represent the work of the Department for Work and Pensions but hundreds of personal testimonies shared since the film was released suggest it represents the tip of a growing iceberg. The DWP’s own data found that, between 2011 and 2014, 2380 people died or committed suicide shortly after being declared fit for work by the Work Capability Assessment.
The important work of the Sheffield Working Women’s Opportunities Project shows a concerning number of women now being pushed into prostitution in Sheffield (Star November 2). “I, Daniel Blake” outlines a rapid downward spiral which leads to acts of desperation – often done to buy food and clothes and pay the rent for young families.
The government only has a majority of 12 and many backbench MPs seem ready to rebel over other issues. If opposition parties work together they can defeat the government and stop some of the austerity measures which target the poorest and most vulnerable. But this can’t happen while party infighting continues and Labour fail to perform their role as the leading opposition party at Westminster.
Sheffield Green Party