Ken Loach’s film, I, Daniel Blake, offers a great insight into the way that the welfare system has been changed from a support structure for those in need to a means of punishing the poor and vulnerable.
The film demonstrates this transition, highlighting how in the worst cases, the punative inhumane actions of those in charge are actually killing people.
The growing inhumanity of the system has been well documented by charities such as the Caritas Social Action Network which produced a report last year titled the Impact of Welfare Changes which highlighted how claimants were being pushed to the brink.
Indeed, it has been the charities that have been called on to pick up the pieces left by the devastation caused by the punitive system.
Foodbanks have grown expotentially over recent years to a point where more than one million people now go to them for support. Yet the steady institutionalistation of foodbanks has continued apace.
Sadly, few ask why in a country as rich as the UK, that boasts more than 120 billionaires, more than one million people go to food banks?
Loach deserves great credit for bringing the appalling injustices together in a heart wrenching narrative. The acting from Dave Johns (Daniel Blake) and Heyley Squires (Katie) is brilliant but the skill of Loach as director and the power of the screen play written by Paul Laverty make this film work so well.
It is a must see for anyone interested in social justice in Britain today. It will make you angry but don’t forget to take a box of tissues along as well.
Well done Ken Loach for this brilliant film, opening a window on what grinding poverty looks like in 21st century Britain.