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When Did It Start Being Okay To Treat People With LD Like Trash?

March 25, 2015

An extract from Kate Belgrave:

Yesterday, I visited Brent Council with Eddie* (name changed), an unemployed 51-year-old Kilburn man who has learning and literacy difficulties. I’ve been accompanying Eddie to his various council and jobcentre meetings for months now. The whole thing has been a right eye-opener, for me at least. It has certainly opened my eyes to the various systemic meltdowns that austerity has left us with, and the people who are on the rough end of the whole shambles.

This guy definitely is at that rough end. Last time I wrote about Eddie, I explained how he’d been shouted at by a jobcentre adviser at his latest appointment. The adviser had signed him up for a work choice course without telling him what it was about, or how to organise his travel to it (it’s on the Caledonian Road somewhere) and then took exception when he started to complain. We’d both sat there as the adviser listed his sins (loudly) as the jobcentre saw them. No concession was made to his learning or literacy difficulties during that unpleasant exchange. The only reason that I’d cut that adviser any slack at all was that she’d been reasonable in the past and looked purely exhausted on the day of the yelling-match. Maybe she’d just been bawled out by some sanctions-happy manager who didn’t think she was hitting targets. I generally wonder where the PCS is at these moments. It’s pretty clear to me that some jobcentre workers are too stressed-out to cope a lot of the time (this adviser told me several months ago that back in the day, she saw about five JSA claimants a day. These days, she sees about 15). There certainly are some sadists working at jobcentres, but there are also people who try to be reasonable. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to be reasonable when you’re working in an utterly unreasonable, punitive, sanctions-driven workplace. Anyway – more on that particular situation soon. We’re picking it up with the jobcentre later this week.

Yesterday, we were at the Brent council offices. We were there because Eddie has another problem – he’s about to be evicted from the crummy studio flat that he’s been living in for a couple of years. He had a meeting with the council to try and get registered as homeless. Eddie isn’t too worried about leaving the studio flat as such and you wouldn’t blame him for that if you saw the place. “Studio” is too romantic a word for it. “Hovel” would be closer to the mark.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. l8in permalink
    March 25, 2015 1:37 am

    Reblogged this on L8in.

  2. l8in permalink
    March 25, 2015 1:38 am

    #HateCrime ?

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