Things we learned last week (29/04 – 05/05)

kamsandhu —  May 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

1.  Nearly 350,000 people needed an emergency food handout in the last year, ten times more than in 2009-10

Speaking in the Independent, Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University and a former adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the World Health Organisation, said that although the intentions of the volunteers are honourable, food banks are just a “short-term fix”. He warned that ministers could allow charitable food banks to become “institutionalised” as an alternative to state support. It’s shameful, he said, that the “sixth-richest economy on the planet has people who are essentially retreating to a Dickensian world.”

Read more here.

2.  Discretionary housing payments could help those with reduced housing benefits 

Even if your housing benefits have been reduced due to benefits caps or bedroom tax, you can still qualify for Discretionary housing payments. Applications can be made through your local council, who will decide on eligibility. Gingerbread, an organisation offering invaluable information, news and expert advice for single parents, explained that the council will take into account any special circumstances you have such as “expenses arising from illness, or if you are likely to be made homeless if a payment is not made”. While there’s no right to appeal against a decision, you can ask the council to take another look at your case.

Read more here.

3.  Fit For Work tests a “burden” on the NHS as doctors against “cruel” tribunals in new campaign

More than 40 leading medics and charities have leant their support to a campaign by Scottish disability rights group Black Triangle. Their aim is to encourage GPs to use little-known regulations to challenge cases where declaring patients fit to work could lead to physical or mental harm. The group’s medical adviser, Dr Stephen Carty, said that often patients were declared fit for work without consultation with their GPs, leading to the distress and attempted suicide of many suffering from serious mental and physical illnesses. The British Medical Association Scotland has warned that GPs are being “flooded with additional avoidable work” as patients seek medical evidence to support benefit claims.

Read more here.


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