Letters

Letters: DWP are the biggest thieves of taxpayer money

One Big Issue reader recalls their own experience of street homelessness in 2022

A miniature figurine businessman looking down on an information booklet for department for work and pensions

The DWP faces criticism from campaigners. Image: Alamy

Big Issue readers react to articles on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), homelessness, Aled Jones and creamy cauliflower.

Blanket cruelty

Your article [on bigissue.com] about a homeless man’s blanket being soaked by a security guard was really sad to see. We are all humans and deserve to be treated equally, without judgement no matter that person’s circumstances. We hope this young gentleman is receiving the support he needs and deserves.

@stonepillowcharity

Greed is bad

I am unable to sign your [End Housing Insecurity Now] petition as I live outside the country. Being a British citizen I feel ashamed of what I read and hear on the news.

Unfortunately, I put the situation down to greed. The government and the royal family (I am sorry to say) need to step in. With the amount of property and personal wealth they have, I hope they stop and think what is happening to their subjects. People suffering from not being able to pay energy bills or buy enough food, and losing their homes. Children being allowed to live in poverty.

The government should feel ashamed. The figures show how far behind we are other countries in supporting our people. Greed comes into it: not controlling the energy companies and how much profit has been made. I read how all services are failing, and this is not new. In the NHS, it is shameful and unnecessary for people to be left sleeping in the corridors of hospitals. I agree with Prince William, there needs to be change, but it needs to happen now.

Hoping your petition succeeds – add my support if possible. It hurts to see what is happening to the country and its people.

Joan Elenor

Out in the cold

When I was homeless in 2022, I had to wait in an office from early morning to mid afternoon with up to eight or so other individuals all seeking temporary accommodation. During that time we would be interviewed so some of us got a place, eg in a hotel for a night or two, while others did not. I saw one man the following day who wasn’t successful and asked him what he’d done having had to brave the streets. “I was freezing,” he said, “so I just walked round all night.” Presumably, the police would prefer this because he hadn’t tried to sleep in a shop doorway under cardboard.

Dan Chadwick, Cardiff

Singing praises

Please thank Aled Jones for his big shout-out to Hefina Orwig Evans, who launched his career [Issue 1594, 11 December]. “Auntie Hefina” and her husband, the reverend Evan Orwig Evans, were godparents to my late sister. (My father had been at theological college with The Earwig; they had remained good friends, and we used to spend summer holidays with them in Anglesey during the 1950s.) They were lovely (and loving) people – and I was touched (but not surprised!) that Aled Jones should remember Hefina with such tenderness.

Harvey Webb

AI in the DWP

The government and the DWP has floated plans to introduce AI in public services [re: DWP using AI to assess benefit and universal credit claims poses “significant risk”, on bigissue.com]. They should have their own bank accounts examined first because they are the biggest thieves of taxpayer’s money.

@au_pays_bleu, Instagram

Recipe for success

Just tried the cauliflower recipe [Issue 1594]. Absolutely terrific – maybe a bit too much sauce (but so delicious no problem finding a use for it). BUT very sorry to see the instruction to discard the leaves – unnecessary waste, and they are tasty! I cut them up and put them in the bottom of the dish, where they cooked perfectly.

Margaret Mason, Pwllheli

I noticed in your recipe for this that £2.84, more than a tenth of the total cost, went on herbs. Bay and thyme are hardy herbs and readers should be able to find these in their local community garden, of which there are many, for free. To paraphrase a certain supermarket, every penny helps!

Geoff Dennis

It’s a wrap

Just enjoying the Christmas edition, in particular the children’s artwork [Issue 1594] as I’m a retired teacher. I’ve ripped out the two-page compilation of entries to use as wrapping paper. Maybe next year you could put this as a centre spread to create a larger piece? Or even sell rolls of it? Many thanks and best wishes to you and all your lovely sellers.

Wendy, Manchester

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