The funeral of a local Portuguese resident took place recently.
The gentleman concerned had been living in Britain for over 15 years, and most of that time in Grantham. He fell foul of the Government’s changes to the law on migration last year, after a three-month spell of unemployment led to his suitability to remain in Britain being assessed. The news that he had to leave Britain was devastating to him and his close British friends.
Virtually overnight he was penniless and facing eviction from his home with an imminent demand to leave the country. The only help available to him was an offer to pay for his trip ‘home’ but to George ‘home’, was Grantham. At the last minute he found a job with a local firm on a zero-hours contract. He was ecstatic to be back in employment and his fortunes changed. Except, as with zero-hours contracts, the offer of work was a hollow one. No paid work came. He was found dead at his flat in North Street two months later.
Two British ex-servicemen faced the same threat of homelessness and also experienced hunger as they failed to pass the test required to keep their Disability Living Allowance. The Government is refusing to reveal how many people have died nationally since having their DLA support cut.
In each case, relatively young, honest, decent local men have suffered humiliation, misery and fear in the final months of their lives at the hands of those responsible for our so called welfare system. As the Government starts introducing the cuts promised, more appalling news like this is likely to come.
On another note, the news that Grantham Court faces closure is not the only concerning potential loss of an important local public service. Grantham library is facing further threat, too. A leaked report indicates there are plans to sell off the NHS site at Cross O’Cliffe in Lincoln and privatise the services there. Lady Margaret Thatcher sold off our national energy, water and our telecommunications sectors. It appears this Conservative Government is intent on selling off what remains of our publicly owned assets. The necessity of this action is questionable. The Guardian reported in June that the richest 1,000 families in Britain now control a total of £547bn. They have more than doubled their wealth since 2009 and own more than the poorest 40per cent of British households put together. Money is there. But the Government is choosing to target our national assets and our poorest people rather than distribute it more fairly. Shame on them.