Mother of four found dead as she couldn’t afford to keep warm after her benefits were cut

Image result for benefit cuts

Tory cuts costs lives

A 38-year-old mother, Elaine Morrall died alone and cold while wearing a coat and a scarf indoors because she could not afford to pay for heating and had switched it off until her children got home from school. Elaine’s family said that her benefits were stopped because she was too ill to attend a universal credit interview.

Elaine was vulnerable, as she suffered from an eating disorder and mental health problems. Her mother, Linda, said that she  had no income but was expected to be able to pay full rent. Elaine was as told that being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for her devastated four children. And Elaine’s mum has sent a scathing and “brokenhearted” letter to her local councillor in Halton.

In an open letter on Facebook, she wrote: “How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people?”

Linda said: “My daughter lived in Boston Ave. She died on the afternoon of 2 November, 2017 at home on her own. She was 38 years. 

“In the cold with her coat & scarf on. Because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. Why?? Because she couldn’t afford it.

“Because she was severely depressed. Suffered from eating disorder and many other problems for many years.

“Mainly due to authoritarians of one form or another. I can give you details. […] was in  out of hospital in recent months in intensive care.”

“But was deemed not ill enough for ESA [Employment and Support allowance]. Had her benefits stopped numerous times, which in turn stopped her housing benefit.

“No income but expected to be able to pay full rent. Was told being in intensive care was not sufficient reason for failing to attend a universal credit interview.

“I went to the job centre to inform them that she couldn’t attend. But benefits [her]stopped again.

“Uncaring housing taking her to court. She’s due to go to court on Monday. Is being dead now enough reason? Is that what’s had to happen to prove she was ill?

“How many people have got to die before this government realises they are killing vulnerable people??

“What are you and your fellow councillors going to do to protect your constituents?”

Halton MP Derek Twigg , who is now working with the family, said: “It is a very tragic case and I am providing assistance to my constituent.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Ms Morrall’s family at this difficult time.

“We understand that people can’t always attend appointments, which is why we will re-arrange alternative times.

“Assessment decisions are made with consideration of all the information provided, including supporting evidence from a GP or medical specialist.

“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”

Under the devastatingly tragic circumstances, the statement from the Department for Work and Pensions’ is not only excrciatingly jarring and insensitive, it’s an unforgivable exercise in excuses and denial, it also constitutes the most appalling political gaslighting technique, of monumental Orwellian proportions

If there was any truth in that statement at all, then Elaine simply would not be dead.

To add further insult to the families’ grief, Jonathan Horsfall, Halton Housing Trust debt recovery manager, said: “We always follow strict procedures around arrears.”

“We strive to find solutions with our customers and have intensive support workers who enable us to do so where possible.

“Our support services are on offer to those who we know are in arrears, and are always reached out to for support.

“If customers are concerned about arrears we always encourage anyone to get in touch with us as early as possible in the arrears process so we can do all we can to help.”

Such statements are only plausible if they are taken completely out of the catastrophic circumstances they attempt to address. These superficial, bureaucratic and utterly meaningless statements issued from warm tidy little offices from cold officials are denials that are pre-formulated responses ultimately from an authoritarian government that has absolutely no intention whatsoever of changing its draconian welfare policies, no matter how many more vulnerable citizens die as a consequence.

Elaine Morrall, who died alone and in the cold at home, too poor to put the heating on in the world’s 6th most wealthiest nation. Government officials claim they offer “support” to vulnerable people such as Elaine, yet clearly, they dismally failed to support Elaine at all.

 


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17 thoughts on “Mother of four found dead as she couldn’t afford to keep warm after her benefits were cut

  1. I’m not a lawyer, but my opinion is that the DWP and its ministers could be held civilly and/or criminally liable for some Universal Credit deaths. The Work and Pensions Select Committee has already accused the DWP of not performing proper due diligence of their flagship policy. At the very least, a judicial review of Universal Credit is urgently needed, but would be difficult and expensive to crowdfund.
    We have no choice but to wait and see what Universal Credit concessions are granted when Hammond delivers his budget on November 22—but I’m certain that they’ll be greeted as merely a sop.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think you are right, as someone who was on UC for all of 2016 I can state that it is a poorly run system and errors are many, I can attest to that from my own experience.

      UC needs to be replaced with a universal basic income payment, James Burke said on the radio something I have been saying, that 95% of jobs will be gone in the next 30 years due to robotics and automation. The govt is doing nothing about addressing this I am told by my MP.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For the attention of Dr.xxxxxxx COPY OF LETTER TO GP

    Dear Sir,
    Ref: My Application for Employment Support Allowance.
    Further to my letter dated the 30th May, 2016 and the appointment of the 9th June, 2016. I can now confirm I have been placed in the “Support Group” on the 15th August, 2017.
    Please find enclosed:
    The Medical Report Form dated the 27th February, 2016 – which is riddled with errors and omissions.
    Statement to the Court of Appeal (15.08.17) – my objections to the DWP’s Procedures and long delays.
    Statement of Reasons for Decision (15.08.17) supplied by the 2nd and final hearing – confirming the evidence provided is correct and in agreement with my application of the 13th March, 2015.
    Around this date – 13th March, 2015 – you gave me some very straight talking to – which I now appreciate. Unfortunately, at this time, I could not “sit around” doing nothing. I needed to maintain my contact with my two sons and finance their upbringing.
    Hence, my claim for EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT ALLOWANCE – 32 months afterwards, I am still waiting the EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT, the ALLOWANCE now in place, will not satisfy the debts incurred during this “WAITING TIME”
    Answers still remain from the DWP!
    Investigations are underway, by the Independent Case Examiner and their conclusions are expected, sometime next year. However, I am positive these will only confirm the DWP and CHDA “methods” are correct.
    In accordance with the Medical Report Form, which declares “Observation and examination did not indicate any significant problem with vision”, I would like to discuss the possibility of re-claiming my driving licence. In addition, I would like to stop smoking – the basic question not asked during my medical assessment!
    Please note, my appointment of the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
    Kind Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve ‘liked’ this post, although ‘like’ is hardly the appropriate word here. This is just plain sick. Of course the officials involved were only following government protocol, “just obeying orders” you might say. Now where have I heard that before?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ‘Procedure’ and ‘Process’ have become the buzz words for avoiding responsibility for what are, let us face it, evil acts. The nazis followed procedure when they murdered millions. We have to challenge the idea that procedures can be fair, society is complex, we need human solutions for human problems.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Doesn’t anyone twig that this is the government’s intention to cause death?

    Obviously as many as possible off claiming housing benefit, PIP you name will be saved. Homes freed up for re-development in the private rental sector. IDS and Mrs May crack open another bottle of vintage champagne every time one of these deaths occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The policies are intentionally harsh. Proving that the government intend to cause death would be problematic. Proving that the government are negligent in disregarding those deaths is much more straightforward. We do have the evidence of that, whereas “motive” is much more difficult to prove

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The DWP are filthy liars and psychopaths. Anybody could have guessed that with any experience of them at all.

    I’m blind; have been since birth. I was on Incapacity Benefit plus SDP and I got my ESA “Questionnaire” a couple of days ago and am now going to arrange a visit with Citizen’s Advice to complete it. Despite my best efforts on the phone, I can’t get the swine at the DWP to move the clock forward two weeks to give me more time, because my mother–who usually helps me navigate unfamiliar places–happens to be away on a family visit. I asked them, clearly, if they could offer any help, and they said no. Apparently, sending a blind person a printed form, and then failing to provide any help but instead deferring to Citizen’s Advice or the Sally Army or whoever, is standard practice. It’s always been the case for me in the past, too, for as long as I can remember. Only the intervention of my MP, who happens to be in a safe Labour seat and to also be a compassionate Corbynite, has ever worked. So the suggestion that the DWP either provide help or rearrange appointments are both laughable. I have the telephone recordings to prove it, too.

    I hope things work out for me and that I don’t end up in the WRAG (gotta love the acronym, eh?). This has been the most extraordinarily bad luck, and I always hate these nerve-racking encounters with the DWP. I am willing to look for work when there is a positive case for doing so, but right now the odds are stacked against me despite my own personal ambitions. There are plenty of projects to keep me going, many interests to pursue, and many things to volunteer my time in, and looking for work has to top them all for the most misery-inducing process imaginable. I have had experience of that in the past, too, of course. It’s tragic the depths this government has sunk to, but it is fundamentally unwilling to assume any responsibility or risk in advancing our chances in the workplace at all.

    Thanks for all the work you do, Kitty. I enjoy this blog. Keep it up!

    Cheers,

    Sabahattin

    Like

  7. “We strive to find solutions with our customers and have intensive support workers who enable us to do so where possible.

    “Our support services are on offer to those who we know are in arrears, and are always reached out to for support.

    “If customers are concerned about arrears we always encourage anyone to get in touch with us as early as possible in the arrears process so we can do all we can to help.”

    In reality, the first is a lie insofar as it is totally misleading – they work for the DWP or JobCentrePlus and have their hands tied behind their backs(those who actually give a ****)
    The second is also a lie, unless you count having your benefits stopped without warning even though an appointment has been sought but no notification of when or even whether.
    The third, as in the second, is also inaccurate. Since the Benefits Enquiry Line (BEL) was stopped the HB office can and sometimes do, break the law – the BEL would take them to task and force them to comply with the law. No longer, now that the legal constraints have been removed unless you know the law and your rights and are forthright enough to make it known and are not intimidated by them, HB can and is sometimes withheld without notice, regardless of whether there are arrears or not.

    Like

  8. Hi Kitty,
    Are you aware of the NazisT4 policy to kill off what they called “useless eaters”? This was a covert policy to kill mentally and physically handicapped Germans by various means including neglect. There is a similar policy here to do away with “useless eaters” who are seen as a non-productive burden, only by a different means – deny them the means to live.
    This mass killing is achieved by the complicity of chief constables who enforce an edict that the police never record or investigate allegations of crimes committed against those on state benefits by the DWP. I have been trying to expose this for the last five years but it isn’t just the police who are complicit.
    Here is my submission to the Public Accounts Committee’s Inquiry into Benefit Sanctions, published in December 2016 which explains how I was framed for benefit fraud and the role of the police and other state institutions: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/public-accounts-committee/benefit-sanctions/written/44047.html
    Here is my website: http://www.framedbythedwp.co.uk
    My final attempt is that I am suing the chief constable of Merseyside Police, Andrew Cooke for exemplary damages for discrimination and this treasonous louse has applied to ‘strike out’ my claim. The hearing is due to be heard in Liverpool County Court on 1st May 2018. My only hope is that the judge, unlike the four previous ones, isn’t bent.
    Best wishes,
    Phil Grace

    Like

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