Get 'I, Daniel Blake' on Primetime BBC 1
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'I, Daniel Blake' needs to be shown on BBC 1 to create the awareness of the welfare policies which are degrading British Families every single day.
The film highlights the social cleansing in London, the bedroom tax that steals money from desperate families and the benefit system which is forcing the honest working people of Britain into the squalor and depravity of un-regulated council homes and the reliance on the charity of others in food banks to put food on the table.
Social Cleansing, as defined by the Oxford dictionary is the large-scale removal from an area of members of a social category regarded as undesirable. A key measure of deprivation in the UK is the number of children who are entitled for free school meals, which shows a drop of one third in some London boroughs. This link has been criticised but the evidence can be seen here. This change is likely due to a number of Conservative Party policies: the cut to housing benefit, the benefit cap and the plan to sell off social housing. A perfect storm which sees many families forced from their homes. The film sees Katie, who has been forced into a single room in a London homeless shelter with her two kids for two years. That is until she can pick up a new home in Newcastle which forces her out of her job and her eldest daughter out of her school and away from her friends. She is also forced to defer her place at the Open University so that she can care for her family.
The Bedroom tax (Officially the 'Under-Occupancy Penalty'), brought through in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 punishes renters with a 14% cut in benefits for having one spare bedroom up to a 25% cut for families with two spare bedrooms or more. The 'Tax' must be made up by tenants. Given various social circumstances such as children leaving for university, or as presented in the film the death of a family member. This reform can see people forced out of a family home which they have built for many years or when they're potentially most vulnerable and grieving, see one quarter of their benefits cut. The Oxford Journal of Public Health has shown how after five years the families affected by the bedroom tax are suffering with their health. With increased incidence of depression and anxiety, the link between poverty and poor health is well known but it is clear that these policies are making a bad situation much worse.
The Welfare reforms have failed their clients. Too many people are in the service of food banks just to live. The Trussel Trust have given out 1,109,309 food parcels in the year 2015-16 from which 415,866 of the parcels were for children, all this from 424 food banks. Frank Field, an advocate for the poverty these families suffer, says "How can the world’s fifth richest nation not know the extent of physical damage caused to its own children by a lack of food?". This year the numbers of food parcel handouts is set to increase again, as between April and September over 519,342 parcels have been handed out and 5 new food banks have opened.
This is not the "Country that works for everyone" as promised by the Conservative government. It is my hope that the film being shown on BBC 1 will reveal to the country the evils it is hiding. If the film is followed by a debate, the government can be held to account. It is right that these people's stories are heard.
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