MSPs have given the UK government’s work and pensions secretary (Damian Green) a signed copy of the I, Daniel Blake book with an additional message on the inside cover.
Mr Adam, who presented Mr Green with the book (screenplay author Paul Laverty was also present) stated that I, Daniel Blake, the story of a 59-year-old joiner who is plunged into extreme poverty and confronted by a faceless bureaucracy when his benefits are stopped was drawn from real-life research.
On the inside cover the message reads:
“To Mr Damian Green, MP, Minister of State
We noticed you condemned our film in Parliament as “having no relationship to the modern benefit system” and as being “monstrously unfair” to the Job Centre staff.
It is a pity you hadn’t see the film first.
Do you always reach conclusions before examining the evidence? Especially, while speaking at the dispatch box?
I thought the script might be easier for you in your busy schedule.
FOR THE RECORD WE STAND BY EVERY SINGLE INCIDENT AS A FAIR REFLECTION of what is going on today UNDER YOUR WATCH.
IF YOU HAVEN’T TIME FOR THIS SCRIPT, VISIT A FOOD-BANK. They will tell you, as they told us.
DO THE DECENT THING – put a stop now to this barbaric and systematic attack against OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.”
Signed by Paul Laverty.
If Damian Green had indeed watched the film he would have seen it thank Job Centre staff for coming out and telling the production team about their experiences with having to be put on Personal Improvement Plans for not sanctioning enough people.
Here is a ‘Personal Improvement Plan’ given to a Job Centre staff member for not sanctioning enough people.
SBR = Stricter Benefit Regime
DMA = Decision Making and Appeals
ASE = Actively Seeking Employment
RE = Refusal of Employment
MEL = Minimum Expected Level
Then there is the leaked scorecard showing sanctioning levels across England, Scotland and Wales.