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The cost of cancer

Allan Cowie, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland, has revealed that after fear of pain, money worry is patients’ greatest cause of stress. And demeaning work assessments ruling people are fit to work are also causing unnecessary suffering.


Many Scots, according to the charity boss, have been left with the fear of being labelled scroungers, meaning vital benefits go unclaimed. Cowie said:

“ We worry the stigmatisation of those on benefits may mean patients with cancer are too ashamed to claim. We have encountered cases of terrible poverty. We have heard of instances where people only worry about benefits when they face losing their home. Up until that point, they are more concerned with the dreadful worry of if they will live or die. We have also heard of cases where people have no food in their homes because they have channelled all their money into keeping a roof over their heads. This is not acceptable in this day and age.”

Cancer sufferers face additional cost…

The price of the cuts

Cuts in a range of welfare payments – including child benefit, tax credits, housing benefit and disability living allowance – will see the average Edinburgh household losing £2170 by 2016.

Some of the biggest cuts will come about as a result of the so-called bedroom tax which will cut housing benefit payments to households with spare bedrooms.

Figures from 2011-12 show that 15,500 households in Edinburgh – 60 per cent of all applicants – required a one-bedroom home. The annual number of one-bedroom city properties available to rent is around 500.

The tragic fact is that with the passing of Thatcher, her legacy, ‘Thatcherism’, remains government policy where the poorest who struggle to survive are the easiest targets for the implementation of austerity cuts.