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Tracy Kenny And The British Media

October 28, 2013

Fightback are asking for this to be shared around so people know the truth of Tracy Kenny’s situation. With thanks to Newsjiffy.

Tracy Kenny,who has been on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for over two decades due to having contact dermatitis, which means she is allergic to substances including allergic to rubber, glue and metal has had her benefits stopped.

This has produced quite a lot of glee from the newspapers. The Star describe her as a “benefit scrounger” and the Manchester Evening News and Daily Express use the emotive word “pocketed” to imply she is ripping the taxpayer off.

The Manchester Evening News and the Times also describe ESA as a handout, even those people have to qualify for it. The word handout implies it is given out like leaflets. Many of those who claim it have paid in to the system. The Times article does not mention who wrote it, which is unusual.

I know there are a tiny, tiny minority of people who do cheat the system – there always will be under any system, and I believe that anyone who is healthy enough to work and can find work that does not conflict with their beliefs within a reasonable distance should work.

However, I don’t see what alternative Tracy Kenny has.

Many employers insist on a uniform and those who don’t usually expect smart shoes to be worn in the office. How easy will it be for her to find shoes that she is not allergic to and that employers are happy for her to wear?

She’s tried clogs and socks on their own don’t work either.

Many people commenting on the stories have told her to just wear socks – only some of the papers mention that this has not worked.

Even if this had worked, how many employers would be happy for her to turn up to work in just socks? And walking on pavements in socks would probably make her feet bleed.

One person commenting on the Manchester Evening News story suggested she get an home-based “ironing job” or “lick envelopes.” The fact that people think there are jobs where you can sit at home licking envelopes shows how ignorant some are about the state of the job market. Also, ironing jobs are unlikely to pay much as most people can’t afford to pay others to have their ironing done.

Another person even suggested that she should walk barefoot – because of course loads of employers would be happy with that.

Tracy Kenny also has to use a mobility scooter when she leaves the house – difficult to commute for long distances on as the battery needs recharging – and has to wear special gloves on a daily basis.

How easy is it for someone to find a job who cannot wear shoes, has to wear special gloves and has to use a mobility scooter to travel?

Tracy Kenny takes more than 20 tablets every day and has to apply a variety of creams and ointments. How can she do that while working? I assume different tablets have to be taken at different times.

It seems clear to me that with her health issues Tracy Kenny will struggle to find a job with an employer that is happy for her to work barefoot while wearing special gloves and where there is easy access for a charging point for her mobility scooter.

This employer would also have to be happy for her to take breaks to take tablets and apply creams.

It says a lot when the Daily Mail story is the most reasonable. Unlike the other newspapers above, the Mail actually mentions that she has tried to find other jobs but her allergies – including a dust allergy – stopped her working in these jobs.

Margaret Cox of the National Eczema Society told the papers:“People just don’t understand just how awfully painful a severe eczema can be. If your skin is cracked, bleeding and sticking to clothing, can you imagine walking?…”

The glee of certain newspapers that Tracy Kenny has lost her benefits is a disgrace. The reporters at the Times, Manchester Evening News, Star and Express who wrote such unfair stories should consider how easy they would find working if they had to wear special gloves on a daily basis, could not wear shoes or could only travel on a mobility scooter.

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