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'It's conscious cruelty' - Filmmaker Ken Loach on the new benefit system

The film director Ken Loach says he has spoken to many people who have experienced the harsh reality of applying for benefits, as he portrays in his film "I Daniel Blake".

Ken Loach says the most vulnerable are being targeted and warns most people are just one pay packet away away from needing help, but it won't be there.

"I Daniel Blake" distributor is Entertainment One UK.

In April, the government plans to cut the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for ill or disabled claimants who are judged to be able to work in the future.

The allowance will be reduced by a third to £73.10 per week, the same as Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is designed to give an incentive to disabled people to find work.

The Department of Work and Pensions says, "Our welfare reforms are increasing the support and incentives for people who move into work, while keeping an important safety net in place for those who need it."

Daughter's anger after her dad died waiting for assessment

Abbie's father James Harrison was a Community Centre manager in Liverpool for 35 years but his health deteriorated when he was made redundant.

Doctors disagreed when he was declared 'fit for work' after a Work Capability Assessment, even though he had a serious lung condition and depression.

He died of heart failure still waiting for a second medical assessment to prove he was ill after Job Centre staff wrote to his GP telling them not to issue him any more sick notes.

His daughter has been speaking to Elaine Willcox:

The Department of Work and Pensions says, "Our welfare reforms are increasing the support and incentives for people who move into work, while keeping an important safety net in place for those who need it."

'Degrading and cruel' - claimants view of the benefit system

James Harrison who died after being passed 'fit for work'. Credit: ITV Granada

James Harrison died after Job Centre staff wrote to his GP telling them not to issue him any more sick notes.

He was a Community Centre manager in Liverpool for 35 years but his health deteriorated when he was made redundant.

He was declared 'fit for work' after a Work Capability Assessment, something his doctor disagreed with, even though he had a serious lung condition and depression.

He died of heart failure still waiting for a second medical assessment to prove he was ill. His daughter Abbie said he was forced to use a food bank and was made to feel 'degraded and ashamed'.

The film director Ken Loach has made a film to show the harsh reality of applying for benefits in his film "I Daniel Blake'.

In April, the government plan to cut the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for ill or disabled claimants who are judged to be able to work in the future.

The allowance will be reduced by a third to £73.10 per week, the same as Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is designed to give an incentive to disabled people to find work.

Ken Loach says the most vulnerable are being targeted by the new 'benefit reform'.

His film "I Daniel Blake' follows two benefits claimants plunged into poverty, its distributor is Entertainment One UK.

This week on Granada Reports we will be taking to claimants who've had their benefits cut, the charities trying to support them and those forced to go to court to prove they are ill.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope said "We know that reducing disabled people's incomes won't help halve the disability employment gap. It will just make life harder"

The Department of Work and Pensions says, "Our welfare reforms are increasing the support and incentives for people who move into work, while keeping an important safety net in place for those who need it."

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Train staff to vote on industrial action

Credit: pa

A ballot on strike action is opening for workers on Arriva trains in a dispute over pay.

Arriva took over Northern Rail routes last year.

Unions say the current pay offer from the company shows contempt for the staff.

But a spokesperson for the company said they're committed to investing in people and working towards a satisfactory conclusion.

The ballot by the Maritime and Transport Union is due to end on the 25th of January.

Ex offender earning honest crust baking bread

An ex offender who is now earning an honest living by making bread.

Francesca Barker fell in love with baking on a probation course after narrowly avoiding being jailed for fraud two years ago.

She's now opened up her second bakery in Manchester city centre and employs ex offenders determined to give others the second chance she was given.

Our correspondent Ashley Derricott went to meet her.

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