We Kid You Not: UK man starves to death after benefits cut; food bank uses soar; Five richest UK families richer than poorest 20%

Monday, March 24, 2014

“A 'vulnerable and fragile' man starved to death four months after most of his benefits were stopped and he was left with just £40 a week to survive on.

“Atos Healthcare —which assesses peoples’ ability to work on behalf of the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) — assessed that 44-year-old Mark Wood, from Bampton, was fit to work. But at an inquest into his death, Oxford Coroner's Court heard testimony that Mr Wood was far from fit to hold down a job … Mr Wood had obsessive compulsive disorder, Aspergers syndrome, phobias of food, pollution, paint fumes, and social situations, and cognitive behavioural problems.”

-- >OxfordMail.co.uk, February 28

Scotland: 'Terrifying' rise in food bank use

“Food bank providers told MSPs it was 'clear' that UK government welfare reform had been one of the drivers of the 'terrifying' increase in the number of people using food banks in Scotland. Ewan Gurr from the Trussell Trust said in 2012-13 there had been 14,318 people who had used their food banks. 'Its terrifying that the number has risen to over 56,000 and we're not even at the end of this financial year.'

“Mr Gurr said it was clear one of the main factors driving this 'exponential rise in the demand for emergency food relief" was welfare reform. He cited benefits sanctions and delays, falling incomes and the rise in the cost of living as the other major reasons.”

BBC.co.uk, March 4.

Britain: Poor unable to pay for heat to cook donated food

“More than one third of councils are subsidising meals at food banks while some families are so short of cash they are returning food which they cannot afford to heat, it emerged on Sunday night.

“An investigation has discovered that town halls have spent almost £3 million on feeding benefit claimants and low-paid workers who resort to foodbanks …

The Independent, March 20.

Britain's five richest families richer than bottom 20%

“The five richest families in the UK are wealthier than the bottom 20% of the entire population and the gap between the rich and the rest has grown significantly over the last two decades.

“According to shocking research from charity Oxfam, just five UK households have more money than the poorest 12.6 million Britons — almost the same number of people as those living in households below the UK poverty line.”

IBTimes.co.uk, March 17.

From GLW issue 1002