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23rd Feb 2017: Film Screening of ‘I Daniel Blake’ followed by Mike Cormack discussing of benefits sanctions

Come along to Cabaret Voltaire (36-38 Blair St, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR), doors open at 6.30pm and film starts at 7pm. After the film a discussion about the benefits reforms and issues associated with poverty will take place with Mike Cormack from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty

I Daniel Blake

This is a free community screening of ‘I Daniel Blake’ in light of the benefits sanctions and the devastating effects that benefits sanctions are having on people. Come along and take part in the discussion and hear about the issues that have forced the Scottish Government to restructure their provision of benefits in the light of UK welfare reforms.

‘I Daniel Blake’ is the latest film made by Ken Loach and screen writer Paul Laverty.  The film has been critically acclaimed around the world receiving multiple awards and accolades such as winning the Palme d’Or – the highest prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival as well as the Prix du public – the prize awarded by the audience attending at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival.

The film follows the story of an out of work carpenter, Daniel Blake as he tries to negotiate the heart condition which keeps him from working and the benefits system.  Whilst trying to communicate his doctors advice to the those who are administrating the benefits, he meets and befriends Katie and her two children, Dylan and Daisy who have been forced to relocate from their home London…

Come and take part in a nation wide series of screenings where the distribution company has made it available to communities pre-release to DVD so that important conversations can take place and so that people who have not seen the film, and who cannot afford to, may do.


More Information


This film follows various characters through the day to day difficulties they have to face to make ends meet in a depressed economy where there are not enough jobs to go round, and where there are unforgiving bureaucratic processes which alienate people from getting the support they need to survive.  The film has been researched deeply by Loach and Laverty, and the film was even made with benefits advisors acting in it who have left their jobs feeling that the measures being imposed on people are not humane.

Things like the Work Capability Assessment (the test used by the British Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to decide whether jobless welfare claimants are entitled to sickness benefits) have been linked to suicides and psychological damage causing an inquiry to be launched to investigate.

Whilst we find that publicly there is wrangling not to accept that benefits sanctions are responsible for people taking their lives, there seems to be a quickly accumulating body of evidence and supporters that there is a tangible link.  Well respected publications such as the British Medical Journal are weighing in on the discussion:




There are many human rights issues which have been raised and championed by ‘I Daniel Blake’, and the United Nations has even got involved to investigate the problems inflicted on people.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ran an inquiry and produced the report below called ‘Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland carried out by the Committee under article 6 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention’.




On page 12 of the report it states: “The welfare system has faced a progressive change both in the conception from the “welfare” of individuals to the economic well-being of the country”

It goes on to recommend that “Ensure that any intended measure of the welfare reform is rights-based, upholds the human rights model of disability and does not disproportionately and/or adversely affect the rights of persons with disabilities to independent living, an adequate standard of living and employment. “


Jeane Freeman MSP
Jeane Freeman MSP

In response to this, the Scottish Government has led reforms.  Jeane Freeman MSP gave a public statement saying: “shortly the Scottish government will have the equivalent of 15% of the UK spend to set up a social security system in Scotland. And we have said from the outset two things; that our social security system will not be the source of saving money or making cuts, and it will be based on dignity, fairness and respect.

We have got the opportunity in Scotland to build a system that we can be proud of and that is worthy of its name. What we cant do is fix everything that is wrong with the UK system, because we don’t have the powers to do that.”

You can here the whole of her statement along with Paul Laverty the screenwriter and others discussing the film by clicking on the link below:



Further Reading:







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