First in its “corporate demolition” of our welfare state, a coalition of ‘welfare reformers’ including civil servants, politicians and an American health insurance company sought to marginalise and further alienate disadvantaged groups.

Now, we have moves toward Covid-19 vaccine passports (Kalvin Haley, Letters, April 8) and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021.

The current UK Government’s “resolute... stance that keeping protesters quiet is not the reason behind the controversial Bill, but rather limiting the disruptions large scale demonstrations cause” (HT Comment, April 8) echoes the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) description of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty’s final report on the UK as “a barely believable documentation of Britain, based on a tiny period of time spent here” that “paints a completely inaccurate picture of our approach to tackling poverty.”

A senior cvil servant has since reported that that UN report “made a lot of good points.” Demonstrations would raise red flags.

Since the 1990s UK governments have increasingly marginalised vulnerable people. Asylum seekers’ and refugees’ rights have been attacked via detention centres and vouchers rather than cash.

Multiple legal changes regarding entitlements to asylum and entitlements to working age state benefits for UK nationals have estranged vulnerable people from expert legal advice and weakened workers’ bargaining power, while government and mass media portrayals of such people have been marred by ‘targeting benefit thieves’ adverts and the like that minimise resistance to inhumane changes, even without the austerity and cuts to local government spending.

Public spending cuts diminish access to expert independent legal advice.

DWP’s hiring of a top barrister at a benefit assessment-related death stopped a coroner from raising a red flag.

Back in 2004, introduction of G4S security staff into jobcentres intensified a ‘screws vs inmates’ environment, discouraging claiming. Later, jobcentre closures increased claiming tensions.

We also have diminished reporting of turnout levels at local and general elections, obscuring the existence of those who feel they have nothing for which to vote.

Does Jesse Norman’s 64 per cent 2019 vote share in Hereford and South Herefordshire constituency really represent huge public confidence in Conservative government and his representation of the people?

Are Jesse Norman’s supporters really a ‘silent majority’?

I challenge them to make their views public.

Alan Raymond Wheatley

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