Metal-footed man chains himself to Sunderland Jobcentre railings in benefits row

David Garbett, with his partner Alison Macpherson. David is protesting about the lack of progress in receiving his benefits by chaining his wheelchair to the Jobcentre in Stoney Lane, Southwick.
David Garbett, with his partner Alison Macpherson. David is protesting about the lack of progress in receiving his benefits by chaining his wheelchair to the Jobcentre in Stoney Lane, Southwick.
30
Have your say

A MAN chained himself to the railings of a Jobcentre in a row over benefit payments.

David Garbett, of Southwick, said he was left without money after his employment and support allowance, £99 per week, which he received fortnightly, was stopped on April 5.

He and partner Allison Macpherson have been struggling to pay rent and bills and had to visit foodbanks to feed themselves.

Mr Garbett chained himself to the railings outside Southwick Jobcentre as he called for the situation to be resolved.

Mr Garbett says he suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, has two titanium feet after an accident in 2007 and is also affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 46-year-old said: “I’ve been having tests for the past 11 months, and then I got a letter saying they were stopping my money.

“Me and my partner’s heads have been all over the place.”

Ms Macpherson, who is recovering from breast cancer, said: “I saw Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, on the TV saying the Government don’t want to change the benefits system, they want to change people. What into? Corpses?”

“We’ve ringing up 20 times a day, trying to get answers, but we get no reply.

“I can fight for me and David, but what about other people – elderly people – who can’t?”

Now, an appeal by Mr Garbett has been successful, and he has been given a backdated payment.

“I have to say a big thanks to the Jobcentre manager for helping sort things out,” said Ms Macpherson.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We are committed to helping thousands of people move from benefits and back into work if they are capable, while giving unconditional support to those who need it, and we have made considerable improvements to the Work Capability Assessment to make it fairer and more effective.

“If someone disagrees with the outcome of their assessment, they have the right to appeal.”