IT IS understandable that the family of Mark Wood are championing the cause of Oxfordshire Welfare Rights, the organisation that took on their complaint over the tragic 44-year-old’s benefits cuts.
OWR has already faced a budget cut itself, after Government Legal Aid changes, and it is concerned about its future funding from the local councils.
We appreciate that the days of a bottomless pit of money for council grants are over. And some of a certain political persuasion will not hold a lot of sympathy for the welfare rights group, believing that it largely takes up cases in which the Government’s decision that a beneficiary is fit to work is correct.
But the Wood case is so shocking that it shows there is a need for those who will champion the downtrodden.
To recap, Mr Wood was a vulnerable man who starved to death after his benefits were cut, because it was ruled that he was fit to work.
Subsequently, the Government has admitted that this was the wrong decision.
Unfortunately for Mr Wood and his family this admission has come far too late.
And while our benefits system has mushroomed to an unsustainable state, because of a large number of chancers and layabouts, as a society we need to protect vulnerable people.
Mr Wood’s case proves we cannot trust that the Government, and whichever company it may bring in to review benefits cases, will handle cases properly.
So it’s crucial that organisations such as OWR continue to be funded.