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article imageOp-Ed: Benefit changes threaten the poor

By Alexander Baron     Sep 10, 2012 in Politics
The British Government is moving the payment of all state benefits on-line. As usual, this has been done without any consultation or consideration for the people at the bottom.
Before it got sidetracked with the war on terror, the Blair Government made considerable strides toward getting the entire nation on-line. Now, with computers cheaper than ever, Internet caf├ęs on every high street, and access in your local library, the entire nation is on-line. Or is it?
The Coalition Government appears to have made that assumption because as well as Iain Duncan Smith's dubious benefit reforms, it is moving all benefit payments on-line. It remains to be seen if as claimed by Citizens Advice that there are "8.5 million people who have never used the internet and a further 14.5 million who have virtually no ICT skills". Certainly the vast majority of the British population is on-line, but clearly there is a significant minority: pensioners, some unemployed people, some technophobes and itinerants etc for whom logging on in the morning or even spending all day on-line (like some of us here) is neither a desire nor an option. And what about the homeless?
Yesterday, the BBC interviewed a man who is living on the bottom rung, and he had some sound advice for the people who are implementing this new system, but as he said, they are too busy riding around in their chauffeur driven cars to pay any attention to the likes of him.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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