Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The human cost of benefit cuts

I'd not heard of writer Paul Reekie until last month. But now, for me, he has come to represent the reason why Where's the Benefit? is needed and why these attacks on disabled people must stop.

The first time I'd heard of him was when I read this story in The Scotsman. The article contains this extract of a letter from Reekie's publisher Kevin Williamson to the Chancellor George Osborne:

"I thought I would let you know that Paul took his own life. He didn't leave a note but he laid out two letters on his table. One was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was notifying him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

"The reason I'm writing this letter is just so you know the human cost of attacking those on benefits."

"The letter will be binned and forgotten, but there will be loads more folk in Paul's shoes over the coming years trying to cope with unemployment, depression, house repossessions and stress."

Friends of Paul set up the Black Triangle - Anti-Defamation Campaign In Defence of Disabled Claimants on Facebook in memory of him. The 'info' page explains the name:

The Nazis forced people with mental and other disabilities to wear black triangles in the extermination camps during the Holocaust.

The generic classification they used was "Arbeitsscheu" - literally "Workshy".

Any loss of life is tragic. I hope that at least his death can serve as a wake up call to those attacking us that their actions do have very real consequences. Ultimately I would like to see Paul's death prevent any more disabled people being put in the economic position where they feel that death is their only option.


  1. Any chance someone can make a twibbon out of this?

  2. Thankyou for this great website, it means a lot to many people :))