On Wednesday, thousands of Londoners marched in the streets against the government’s budget cuts to benefits for disabled people.
More than £9,000,000,000 of welfare cuts are planned over the next five years. Many people with serious health problems are going to be at risk of losing the support that makes life liveable, and even that which would help some of them get back to work.
The government are making the usual assurances, that those most in need will still be cared for. I’m not sure how this is going to be plausible, given how much is being cut – over 10% of the treasury’s entire deficit reduction plan is coming from these benefits alone.
And there are the usual objections being raised from the more cynical corners, about if all these people really need all that free money, and whether plenty of them wouldn’t be fine going back to work if the government weren’t letting them getting so complacent.
It’s not like there should be no oversight at all against those who are claiming what they don’t deserve, but it’s upsetting how much emphasis some people want to put on not letting benefit cheats get away with it, how quickly they’re inclined to rush to indignation, and how little of the conversation tends to focus on the thousands whose lives are dominated by debilitating conditions.
We don’t seem to get snide about faceless corporations amassing billions in personal profit in quite the way we do about the thought that a working class family might not be working as hard as we are.