The Poverty Alliance brought together people from across Scotland who are marginalised by poverty, disability or other issues, and asked them: If you had 30 seconds to speak to the candidates in this election, what would you say? Here are some of their responses:
Wants more support for people to get back into work. Wants accessible services for people with disabilities, feels disempowered by welfare process. Felt lost in the system, no one gave him the bigger picture of everything he should be applying for and therefore missed out.
“The next UK parliament should work in partnership with disabled people and make applying for benefits a friendlier process. I would also prefer to be sent information by email due to my disabilities.”
“I want to be treated like a human being by the next government. Poor people didn’t cause the financial crisis so why are we the ones suffering for it? Food banks are just the modern day soup kitchens of the 1940s, I want cheaper, healthier food. I expect more cuts and demonisation of the poor from the next government. Channel 5 should be boycotted for their benefits shows. There’s no appreciation for people living day to day. We live in a rich country so why are children going to school hungry? I want an increase in apprenticeships pay and reversal of housing benefit cuts to 18-21-year-olds.”
I want to be treated like a human being by the next government.
“The UK’s national debt problem isn’t because of the poor. The UK needs to sort its debt out while still protecting the vulnerable. Through times of crisis, people are still getting poorer and I want protection from this. If rents go up then benefits should go up too. More money should be put towards benefits.”
“I think the election will be about Brexit, Europe will punish the UK for leaving and the poorest will be hardest hit. Poorer people will take the brunt of the cuts that will be imposed. I would like the next parliament to look at narrowing the wealth gap. I think Universal Basic Income would be a great idea.”
Poorer people will take the brunt of the cuts that will be imposed.
“At UK level they treat people in a degrading way through the medical assessments. People have been isolated then go to medical assessments and are treated badly there. DWP and Atos do not listen to people properly and don’t understand mental health problems. People walk out of there more depressed. People are worried to go to food banks in case their neighbours report them to social work. Children aren’t being fed properly and people can’t enjoy the school summer holidays with their children due to the stress of feeding and clothing them. The UK government needs to get honest with themselves and they need to listen to the grassroots. They need to treat people as human beings.”
The UK government needs to get honest with themselves and they need to listen to the grassroots. They need to treat people as human beings.
“I’d like to see people on benefits treated with respect. My health has gone downhill since applying for benefits and it has made me lose all confidence which I’m only getting it back now. Listen to doctor’s notes. A lot of people don’t want to belittle themselves to the DWP in order to get benefits – people don’t want to open up to them. I’ve been in Wisegroup back to work scheme 30 years ago – these good schemes don’t exist anymore. A bonus to treating people with respect is a bonus to the NHS as people’s health will improve.”
“The UK government should listen to people who are ill – people can’t live on fresh air. Social security is for people in need – they should get more money. In-work poverty is an issue which needs to be tackled.”
In-work poverty is an issue which needs to be tackled.
“I want to see a commitment to tackling the demonisation of the poor in the media. I want to see candidates calling other parties to account for their actions so far in tackling poverty. I would like to see poverty a central issue in the debates, at hustings, in the press – but I rather think it won’t be.”
I would like to see poverty a central issue in the debates, at hustings, in the press
“I expect the next parliament to stop dodging their responsibilities on poverty. Westminster needs a poverty strategy now and whoever is in government should be doing that but, if they won’t, then the party in opposition must challenge that in a robust and determined manner.”
I expect the next parliament to stop dodging their responsibilities on poverty
“I would ask them what policies they will introduce to prevent poverty rising further and what they intend to do to take people out of poverty and I would expect them to recognise that work no longer is a route out of poverty. I would ask them how they will prevent the most vulnerable people from falling through the cracks and ending up destitute.”
I would expect them to recognise that work no longer is a route out of poverty
“I would want them to focus on benefits, entitlements and sanctions, to focus on employment rights, zero-hours contracts, increasing wages, closing tax loopholes and increasing higher rate tax thresholds. I would also like to see some sort of commitment to a citizens’ basic income.”