Tag Archives: Disability

What The Hell Is Happening To Our Society?

la-oe-goldberg-disability-entitlements-2013040-001            Work-Makes-Free-Clear

 

With each passing day, as I read and see more and more injustice and cruelty from this feeble excuse of a government, I wonder just what the hell is going on here?

Here’s a selection of video interviews by the amazing Artist Taxi Driver to make my point for me. The last one made me so angry and frankly, ashamed to be British and it reminded me of a documentary I saw online recently exposing the truth about the British monarchy. Its called Royal Babylon and I’ve included that too. Prepare to be shocked if you’re the kind of person who thinks the Queen is just a sweet old lady and Winston Churchill etc were ‘great’ British leaders…this is definitely NOT the version of British history that Michael Gove wants to ram down our kid’s throats.

 

 

This Is No Way To Treat Human Beings: A First Hand Account Of An ATOS Assessment Centre.

  • My First Work Capability Assessment

    If, after you’ve read this, you feel moved to do something about it, please start by signing the WOWPetition, by clicking here

    I’ll tell you upfront what one of the worst things about this story is. It’s that I don’t feel comfortable naming the time or place of my first encounter with an ATOS Medical Assessment Centre. Certainly, I’ll be clear about it in a letter to the relevant MP, and to the organisation itself, and with no hope of being heard, to the Department for Work and Pensions, whom I hold solely accountable for what I witnessed today.

    Also, the actual assessment I witnessed, by two sympathetic, understanding, quiet, professional, helpful Eastern European Doctors seemed fine. It was the only bit of sanity in an experience that has left me with the impression of an enormous, industrialised processing of sick people by one organisation; ATOS, doing the bidding of a dangerously distant government department, the DWP, pursuing a dispassionate ideology incapable of engaging with the individual needs of those being palpably dragged through assessment.

    A little background; I attended as a ‘plus one’ for a friend of mine who has been in receipt of a benefit for many years that is being subsumed into the Employment and Support Allowance. I went along because some of the drugs my friend is on prevent them from driving, or staying awake, and my friend often suffers from a terrible memory, so I planned to prompt when my friend got stuck, and take in as much of what happened today so that I could remind them of it afterwards.

    I wasn’t really looking forward to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and I know my friend wasn’t either, as it has been hanging over them like a weight for a number of weeks. Without drilling down into all the detail, my friend relies on this benefit to survive with their children, and although my friend is probably eligible for Disabled Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payments as they are set to become, I have not been successful at pressuring my friend to apply for them. A lot of people are reluctant to label themselves, or to be judged by others, given the stigma that is increasingly attached to recipients of disability benefits by an ignorant public.

    So, this story has had all the names, some sexes, and some other details changed for public consumption, but I’m leaving in the facts as I witnessed them. It was horrific, and I’ve been seething with a dark anger about the events, kicking myself about not taking the phone numbers of the other witnesses, or the names of the staff involved. If only I hadn’t been so wrapped up in looking after my friend and their concerns about today, I could’ve acted like a better citizen, although after today I’m not even really sure what that means, and whose standards that could possibly be judged by.

    The story starts in the waiting room of an ATOS assessment centre. Present are A lady and her daughter, who I shall call Mrs and Ms. Nice. They are a quiet couple, apprehensive. The mother cares for the daughter and had helped her crutch her way into the barren, industrial waiting room, and was sat trying to reassure her daughter that it was going to be ok. After later conversation, it turned out Mrs Nice has been to three tribunals for members of her family and friends, all of which have been successful in overturning incorrect DWP decisions on DLA awards, so she is no stranger to the system.

    Also present is Builder John, a man who comes to play a pivotal role and who doesn’t even want to be there. John is self-employed and is used to earning lots of money every week through contracting his services out. Unfortunately John is awaiting surgery for an injury that is preventing him from engaging with the very physical nature of his job. John doesn’t want to be there, but has no choice but to do so to carry on qualifying for the measly £140 a fortnight in benefits that he will lose if he doesn’t, metaphorically speaking, jump through hoops. John cannot understand why there is a procession of sick and disabled people being dragged through assessments. He speaks of a happier time, before he was forced to claim benefits for those pesky asides like eating food, when he was blissfully ignorant of just how unfair the system is.

    Also waiting are Mr Shirt and Ms. Shirt. Ms. Shirt enters unsteadily on one crutch with Mr Shirt’s support, and after discovering that she is half an hour late, having got the time of the appointment wrong and with one arm shaking uncontrollably as a result of her disability, Ms. Shirt bursts into tears and nearly stumbles over in the waiting room, setting off a chain of events that lead me to witness something unsavoury, cynical, corrupt and distressing.

    Mr and Ms. Shirt are sent away for being late, but shortly afterwards, one of the other actors in this piece, “ATOS Receptionist” makes a phonecall to try and accommodate Ms Shirt getting an appointment later that afternoon. With good intentions, Receptionist calls another person who has an appointment that afternoon to cancel their appointment, and sends another player, “Security Man” to intercept Ms. Shirt as she struggles back into her car, apparently to let her know that if she can hang around for half an hour or so, she can stay and see the Doctor after the next appointment has finished.

    The time of the appointment Ms Shirt is given turns out to be exactly the same time that John Builder and Ms Nice have been given as *their* appointment time, too. Mr Shirt looks gravely concerned when he learns this fact, he’s clearly been trying to reassure Ms. Shirt that everything’s going to be ok, but he no longer looks like he believes it, and Ms Shirt sits on her hand in an effort to control the obvious, wild tremor in her arm.

    The catalyst characters arrive next. Mr and Mrs Cancelled. Mrs Cancelled answered the phone when Receptionist called to make room for Ms. Shirt in the already triple-booked afternoon slot. Mrs Cancelled is apparently no stranger to this assessment centre. She’s already had some of her benefits stopped, and has had to get Mr Cancelled to start and finish work early to accompany her to this re-assessment. She failed to convey to Mr Cancelled that she’d been told not to come in this afternoon, because one gets the sense she hadn’t fully understood how long the wait would be if she did choose to attend, despite being told not to. She attends, out of a fear you can see in her face of continuing to have no money at all, stretching the resources of Mr Cancelled, who is philosophical about the burden placed on his wages, but who chooses to express a perfectly reasonable opinion that his wife is being messed around with when her appointments are being scheduled and rescheduled, with knock-on effects for his employment and pay and convenience. Mr Cancelled makes it perfectly clear that he does not think the ATOS staff are to blame for this, but that it is the stupid DWP system that is causing this upset, pressure and hardship.

    Unfortunately, Receptionist chooses to interpret the valid concerns of Mr Cancelled as a personal attack. Nobody else in the room understands why, and the surly, abrasive, combative face that Receptionist presents changes the course of the rest of the day. It’s probably a face that has become necessary to present to difficult clients. It’s a face that, reassures Receptionist, is not for the genuine claimants – she thinks it’s a massive waste of time and effort that the deserving poor are subjected to these humiliating, inconvenient, and often painful assessments, too. Receptionist’s true views, however, are informed by DWP rhetoric about statistics. The same statistics that are so clearly unsafe in the hands of the Iain Duncan Smith, the man who has constructed a House of misinformation, and not yet taken to task over it by the Department for Work and Pension Committee, though they have asked him to answer for his misinformation on repeated occasions.

    Mr Cancelled is asked, in no uncertain terms, to leave with his wife, who seems distressed and confused and willing to leave to avoid causing more conflict, and to avoid upsetting her husband further. Her husband loudly proclaims that they will leave, his language may now be peppered by distressed obscenity but all he really wants is some clarity about when his wife’s next appointment will be. Receptionist can not give a date, nor reassurance that that appointment will not also be cancelled. Ms. Shirt realises that her assignment to an appointment is what has caused this mess, and starts to cry again. Ms Nice starts to cry too, and John the Builder stares on in disbelief. Mr Shirt is banging his head quietly against the wall behind his chair, and is heard to say “How did we come to this?”.

    Mr and Mrs Cancelled close the door behind them from the waiting room, but they are pursued down the corridor by Security Man. He says “AND I’LL TELL YOU ANOTHER THING”, for some inexplicable reason, he has chosen not to just let them leave, but to take issue with the fact that Mr Cancelled is upset that his wife keeps having her appointments change. Even though Mr Cancelled specifically said he knows it isn’t the personal fault of Receptionist and Security Man, they both seem to have taken it so. There is shouting from the corridor outside, and then the sickening sound of a scuffle, as Mrs Cancelled’s carer and husband is apparently tackled by Security Man, simply for having the audacity to speak out. John the Builder joins them in the corridor, quick to his telephone, where he films the ensuing, angry shouting and the insane exchange of angry words between a man upset about his wife being caused more pain, and a man, acting unprofessionally and physically, upset that his organisation might be deemed to be responsible for this. Mr Shirt checks through the window of the door. Ms Nice is now inhaling heavily, clearly in the throes of a panic attack, while Mrs Nice, also close to tears now desperately tries to calm her down. Ms Shirt is crying, shaking, uncertain. John the Builder tries to remonstrate with both parties in the corridor to diffuse the situation.

    It’s simply insane. In Britain, in 2013, there is an industrial, machinated subjugation of ill people to demeaning, degrading, invasive medical assessments being enforced at the behest of a pathological DWP and implemented by an arrogant, uncertain ATOS.

    John Builder returns to the reception room, an angry but drawn expression on his face. He expresses his frustration that neither Receptionist nor Security are to blame for this crazy mess, but as he is defending the difficult situation they are in, they return to the room.

    “STOP TALKING!” Mandates Reception. There is a pause in the room, a little confused. Mr Shirt points out that John Builder was just trying to defend the position of Receptionist, but John’s temper is blown. In an emotive outburst, John tells Receptionist he won’t be told to shut up. Rightly, he gives what-for, in that most British of manners he explains he is perfectly entitled to talk to other people, to Mrs Nice and Mr Shirt in the waiting room, that this is not a fucking concentration camp. The words hang, pregnant, because that is exactly what it fucking feels like.

    Receptionist explains that it isn’t her fault, that the huge number of false claimants are the reason that the DWP has to test everybody to make sure the system isn’t being sucked dry. Mr Shirt looks crestfallen, and after Receptionist and Security simmer down, he explains to everyone else in the room that DLA fraud rates are 0.5% and that ESA fraud rates are 0.3%. This seems like a tired, rehearsed skit from him, and he borrows a pen from Mrs Nice, and a couple of post-it notes, on which he scribbles “wowpetition.com”.

    John Builder, Mr Shirt and Mrs Nice express their utter disgust at the government, both Conservative and Liberal Democrat bits of it, although they all agree that they can’t understand how looking after vulnerable people became so distasteful to government, and how people who’ve paid into the social security system are now being subjected to this cynical, judgemental, prejudiced, ignorant DWP system, administered by an inappropriate, unprofessional, reactive and dangerously ignorant private company that keeps getting it wrong.

    It’s a disgrace, it’s the most depressing scene I think I’ve ever witnessed, and the dehumanisation of all involved has left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    Is this really what we have come to?

Bedroom Tax Protest: The Mass Sleep Out: 24th August

Reblogged from  http://tmso.org.uk/. Please support

The Mass Sleep Out – What’s it all about?

The Mass Sleep Out (TMSO) is a national day of action being held on August 24th, 2013. On this day people will gather in towns and cities across the UK and sleep on the streets, to raise awareness of the impending mass homelessness brought on by the bedroom tax and other government cuts.

What started off as an idea has now captured the hearts, minds and interests of more than 2000 people across the UK who wish to stand against the cruel measures being imposed by the coalition government.

Whilst the highest earners in the country are awarded tax breaks and big business invariably gets away with not paying it’s fair share – or in some cases paying no tax at all – the ConDem coalition is targeting some of the most vulnerable in society to pay for the financial crisis. Many of these people are now facing eviction proceedings as they are simply unable to meet the financial demands being made of them. This cannot be allowed to continue – now is the time to show your disapproval!

We need your help!

There already events planned as part of our national day of action on August 24th in over 40 towns and cities across the UK, but we would like to see this spread further!

If there is no event currently planned for your own town/city, we urge you to consider getting one started. We can offer support for anyone seeking to do so, including help & advise from other event organiserspromotional material to raise awareness of your event and important documents/statistics relating to the bedroom tax.

If you don’t wish to organise an event yourself – and even if you are unfortunately unable to attend on the 24th – there is still plenty you can do to help. We are relying on word of mouth to spread the message of this campaign, so please talk about it to people you see and share on your social media accounts to publicise the campaign as much as possible.

Confirmed Events

Barnsley
Barton-Upon-Humber
Bath
Belfast
Birmingham
Bolton
Bournemouth
Brighton
Bristol
Cardiff
Carluke
Cheltenham
Coventry
Derby
Derry
Dundee
Eastleigh
Edinburgh
Folkestone
HemelHempstead
Kingston-Upon-Thames
Leeds
Leicester
Liverpool
Livingston
London(City)
Manchester
MiltonKeynes
Newcastle-Under-Lyme
NorthLondon
Norwich
Northampton
Northumberland
Nottingham
Penzance
Peterborough
Plymouth
Portsmouth
Salisbury
Sheffield
Southampton
Southend-on-Sea
Stirling
Stockport
Swansea
Wakefield
Weston-Super-Mare
Worcester
Worthing

Can’t find an event in your area? Please feel free to set one up, and get in touch by using our contact form or via our Facebook page so we can help promote the event for you!

Who said the poor can’t budget? Read this IDS and hang your head in shame.

sRBT1  I discovered an interesting website dedicated to collecting stories of people struggling with the bedroom tax. Sadly http://www.bedroomtax.org.uk/ so far has only one story, the story of Sue and Steve from Norfolk. But what a story it is. Its the story of a man, disabled by an accident, who has to count every penny in order to survive. I’ve reproduced his story below and urge anyone who has their own story to tell to contact this website and so help them build a database of hard evidence of what is actually happening to ordinary decent folk. Here’s Sue and Steve of Norfolk’s story. I challenge anyone to read it without shedding a tear…

 

Sue and Steve – Norfolk

SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013

Our story so far

 First some old history. In November 2000, I was in a car accident in which a car hit me from behind while I was parked off the road. The driver’s side (off side) of the other car hit the passenger’s side (near side) of my car.

 As a result, I have been using a wheelchair and not only have back, and neck injuries, but I have suffered a ‘Cardiac Incident,’ (a minor heart attack), due to rapidly increasing weight.  I had been a runner, running marathons and used a lot of energy; this meant I had a big appetite and it took a long time to change that and reduce my weight which at its worst was 28 stone, plus.

 I suffer from fibromyalgia, depression, sever pain in the lower back and neck and constantly have to have pain relief.  My left leg is useless as a leg, and will if I don’t watch it get caught under my own wheelchair wheels as I’m not always aware of where it is.  My right leg is better but standing upright, for even a few seconds’ causes a massive increase in pain then, I collapse and have even passed out.

 I have an adapted bungalow with a ramp access and a mobility adapted car.  I do not work as to spend more than four hours out of bed reduces me to tears because of the increase in pain. I could work from home, and under permitted work rules I teach a computer beginners class once a week in my village for two hours.  I spend a lot of time in bed and have, thanks to the ‘Royal British Legion,’ a top range bed which is motorised to allow me to sit more comfortably and use my computer.

 I have had three assessments by the Occupational Therapist in recent years and all recommend I have my own separate bedroom because of my medical conditions.  So, when the ‘Bedroom Tax’ came to light I was not overly worried for myself or other disabled people in a similar position as me as, we had an extra bedroom for my medical needs.

 At first, it was unclear how things were going to ‘pan out’ with the new regulations but one thing became clear, very quickly, the poorest people would once again be hit hardest by the new rules.  While this was happening the richest people would be paying less tax with a reduction of the higher rate income tax.

 First we had the letter telling us that our Housing Benefit was to be reduced by 14% as we have a two bedroom bungalow and as a married couple we only need one bedroom. I pointed out that we were only allowed the two bedroom bungalow because of my medical condition. ‘We know that,’ said my local housing benefits office, ‘but the Government has said that having an extra room for medical reasons is not to be taken into account.’  We could, however, apply for a payment from a discretionary fund to make up the shortfall.

 We applied for this in February and eight weeks later they have still not even looked at our application because there is still some confusion as to what our situation is, due to the Government not giving correct, or timely information. The council informed us that it is not clear if we should have our benefits reduced, and it is not clear that if we should, if they are allowed to help disabled people with a medical need for an extra bedroom from the Discretionary Fund.

 My first thoughts have been along the lines of what a ?$%& up. The second being, if it is a Discretionary Fund surely, that means the people controlling the funds can use their discretion on how it is used and who benefits from it.

 While this is going on we have also been told we will have to pay some of our council tax as well, which means that overall our housing benefit and council tax benefit will be reduce by 22.5%. This means we will have to find an extra £14.50p, in round figures, a week out of our benefits to pay these two items which is close to 10% of our weekly income support.

 So, where is this money coming from? Well, after a review of our budget (and we have run a budget for years to keep control of spending) we found that the only area we had so far not cut down on was food.  We already do not have any heating on in the house except Sue has a ‘Calor Gas’ heater for which she makes two bottles of gas last her the whole autumn winter and spring. I have not had heating in my bedroom for five years. I just pile on extra covers on my bed to keep warm and wear mittens (fingerless gloves) to keep my hands warm when using the computer.

 So, as I am the member of our small family who is benefiting from having the extra bedroom I am going to take a cut in my food. I have devised a plan to bring my weekly food bill down to just £12.71, Which includes all my food, hot drinks and a bottle of flavoured water a day.

 I will have porridge for breakfast every day, costing just £ 0.17p a day, with that I will have a herbal tea cost £0.04p then at lunch time I will have a frozen meal which costs just £1.00p a meal No extras like vegetables or potatoes just the meal, Sheppard’s pie, cottage pie, beef lasagne, beef stew, corn beef hash, mince hot pot, Yorkshire pudding with either sausages, or beef and vegetables, in gravy.

 For my evening meal I will have a tin of rice pudding, £ 0.15p every day and before Sue goes to bed I will have a cup of drinking chocolate, cost just £ 0.07p. Add to that a bottle of flavoured water at £ 0.38p and that will be all my food budget for a week.

 Not a lot of variety accept the lunch meal!  You may ask about extra salt and condiments but I will do without them and stick to my budget.  You can see my basic working out of food costs below I have even included the calorie values. You will see that nearly half of my calories a day will come from the £ 0.15p can of rice pudding.

Of course, if they decide to cut any more of my benefits then cutting down on my food will be well, a little difficult!  I have effectively, reduced my food budget by half to pay to keep a roof over Sue and my heads.

 Now, I wonder if any of our MPs would like follow me on my diet and donate the saving in food to a children’s charity?  I doubt if they would take up the challenge to do it for one week, I will have to do it for a whole year, to make up for the loss in benefits and pay our rent.  Of course I am better off than many in this world who will die because of a lack of food, in a world which grows enough to feed every one!

 This is how I have worked out the cost of my meals.

Meal

Ingredient

Amount

Cost

Cost of Meal

Cost per day

Cost per week

Breakfast

Porridge Oats

0.050

£0.05

Milk

0.350

£0.11

Sugar

0.013

£0.01

£0.17

£0.17

£1.22

Lunch

Box Meal

1.000

£1.00

£1.00

£1.00

£7.00

Tea

Tin of Rice

1

£0.15

£0.15

£0.15

£1.05

Water

Per day

1

£0.38

£0.38

£0.38

£2.63

Hot Chocolate

Cup

0.035

£0.07

Sugar

0.004

£0.0

£0.07

£0.07

£0.51

Herbal Tea

Cup

1

0.04

Sugar

0.004

£0.0

£0.04

£0.04

£0.30

£1.82

£12.71

 This is the calories in my meals

Meal

Ingredient

Cal

Cal per Meal

Cal per day

Cal per week

Breakfast

Porridge Oats

157.500

Milk

171.500

Sugar

50.125

379.125

379.125

2653.875

Lunch

Box Meal

371.000

371.000

371.000

2597.000

Tea

Tin of Rice

700.000

700.000

4900.000

Water

Per day

6.200

6.200

6.200

43.400

Hot Chocolate

Cup

129.850

Sugar

16.040

145.890

145.890

1021.230

Herbal Tea

Cup

0

Sugar

16.04

16.04

16.04

112.28

1618.255

11327.785

 This is the cost of the basic Items which make up my meals

Item

Size

Cost

Size Type

Cal

Porridge Oats

1.500

£1.60

KG

4725

Milk

6.000

£1.89

L

2940

Sugar

1.000

£0.89

KG

4010

Box Meal

1.000

£1.00

Unit

371

Tin of Rice

1.000

£0.15

Unit

700

Water

4

£1.50

Units

24.8

Hot Chocolate

0.5

£0.99

KG

1855

Herbal Tea

20.000

£0.80

Bags

0

 

 

Cameron: The ‘Caring’ Scrounging Conservative.

images Before his disabled son, Ivan, died David Cameron claimed DLA for him. While we don’t know the full extent of the amount of this universal state benefit he received we do know he got the higher rate mobility component, just over £50 a week, because he was able to lease a car under the Motability scheme. And according to Mumsnet he was also claiming for four free NHS nappies a day.

Rumour has it that after Ivan’s death our Eton educated super rich Prime Minister wasn’t in too much of a hurry to give back the Motability car so someone else in need could benefit from it but had to be chased repeatedly before finally handing it over to its rightful owner.

Conservative Social Justice Policy Group report This is a man we’re supposed to look up to, who holds the most responsible job in the land and who constantly preaches the sermon of social responsibility from his Tory pulpit. It can be argued that Mr Cameron was only exercising his rights when he claimed for DLA, after all he was entitled to that benefit since its not means tested. But there’s no argument whatsoever that he needed the money – in fact compared to his £135k plus salary and his millions in the bank its a total pittance. And from a social responsibility point of view and coming from a man who’s constantly harping on about the absolute necessity of austerity and spending public money wisely, you have to ask why would such a man bother to fill in the form and take money he didn’t need leaving less for the hundreds of thousands who need it desperately?

download  MPs have now just been offered an 11% pay rise and leaders from all parties have assured us they wouldn’t dream of taking it. Cameron himself made a public display of saying it would be wrong for MPs to get this rise when the rest of us were ‘having to make sacrifices’ . Even as I  write this he’s on the news using that puke-making phrase ‘we’re all in this together’.  Does he seriously think we believe him?

Lets not forget the coldly calculating and determined propaganda campaign this Tory led government have fought in the media against benefit claimants labelling the sick and disabled as scroungers too lazy to be arsed to get out of bed, or driving around in luxury Motability cars living it up on tax payers’ money. And lets not forget the inevitable results of this – the rise of unspeakable hate crime against people who were targeted because of this evil ideological attack. How many of you now think that the ex-PR man who orchestrated this propaganda was entitled to  his share of the benefit he’s now about to take away from thousands of people who can never hope to see a million pounds in their bank unless they get lucky in the Lottery?

images (1)   On Wednesday in Parliament Labour used its Opposition Day debate to try to force the government to do a simple thing – to undertake a cumulative impact assessment of the effects of the various cuts in welfare benefits on disabled people. There are hundreds of thousands of very sick and seriously disabled people in the UK who now face up to SIX separate cuts to the various benefits they receive , not to mention facing the prospect of Work Capability Assessments and assessments for the PIP by Atos. You’d think the government would already have done this, wouldn’t you, given the enormous impact these cuts are bound to have. You’d think any sensible, decent government would agree to listen to the many campaigning groups like Spartacus and DPAC who’ve been trying to talk to ministers about this impact. Apparently not. And even when forced to confront the issue on Wednesday by Labour MPs on behalf of these groups, they still weren’t listening. In fact , judging by the sickening responses the few Tories and the odd LibDem gave, they were aggressively opposing the idea that they should give a flying fuck about the demolition job they were inflicting on people’s lives.

+Paul+Maynard  Probably the most disgusting example of Tory attitudes to people with disabilities came from an MP with a disability himself, Paul Maynard. If this guy is a friend of the disabled then who needs enemies? He spoke with cleverly simulated passion that made me suspect Cameron had paid for him to have lessons in Method Acting just for the occasion. Whoever had written his speech managed to turn all the hard work put in by those campaigning disability groups who’d gathered evidence of genuine hardship caused by the cuts into something called ‘negative messages about disabled people’ which apparently would act as a disincentive to young disabled people to be what the Tories want us all to be ‘strivers who work hard and do the right thing’. Waving his expensively suited arms about  Maynard added insult to injury by labelling these disability groups who have a  perfectly legitimate agenda as ‘extremists’!!! You couldn’t make it up!

alan-h2       What Maynard wanted was ‘positive’ messages for young disabled people, Paralympic superheroes and ‘inspirational’ role models and the like. Those who win out despite all the odds. He painted a very narrow picture of disability and turned the debate into an emotional farce. What he didn’t acknowledge was that the debate wasn’t about this at all but about ordinary people’s basic means of survival being taking away from them and with it their dignity as human beings. He didn’t address the humiliation of having to rely on charity and the condescending pity of others. He didn’t see, from his privileged position, that he was betraying people who had a right to expect him to stand up for their right to an independent existence just like his.

prejudice-and-persecution          And so, unsurprisingly, the government won the day and got out of having to do what they should already have done – a proper impact assessment of the cumulative cuts on the income of disabled people. Their feeble excuse that it was too hard just isn’t credible. But then how can we have faith in the credibility of the Tories, or any politician, when they change their tune depending on the circumstances?

Back in 1999 it was the New Labour government who wanted to make changes to disability benefits by scrapping the severe disablement allowance.  Here are a few gems from the Tory opposition , words we should now ram down their privileged throats:-

Quentin Davis:-

 ‘I am proud that we stand today on our previous record, which is that the disabled, far from being a soft target and an easy touch for a Government, are a group of vulnerable people who should be the last people to be disadvantaged when changes are made to our welfare and benefits system.’

Julie Kirkbride:-

‘Many other ladies and gentlemen will retire in the same condition as my constituent, who is obliged to sell her house because she can no longer afford to live there on her reduced income after being forced to retire on incapacity benefit. Others in her condition will find the Government’s policies deeply offensive.’

Nigel Evans:-

‘The Labour party fought the last election on the slogan, “Things can only get better”. Does my hon. Friend agree that many disabled people, whose benefits will be removed, will be aghast at what is happening this evening? At the next election, disabled people, who have been so badly let down, will give Labour Members short shrift. Things can only get better unless one happens to be disabled’.

Angela Browning:-

‘The organisations that went to the Department included Action for Blind People, Disability Alliance, Mencap, RADAR and the RNIB. Those organisations went to the Department believing that they were part of a consultation, only to find that the decision had already been made and their views were not required, but that they could have an input into some sort of management. To cap it all, the Lord Chancellor’s Department is considering proposals to abolish legal aid for personal injury claims—another move by the Government which will clearly have an effect on people with disabilities and will cause them a great deal of distress.’

Teddy Taylor:-

‘Will he take seriously the real concern, alarm and anger felt by disabled people whose benefits are being cancelled on review? During my weekly surgery on Saturday, I was visited by a woman and her child, who has only one small finger on each hand and one small toe on each foot. The woman had been told that there was no need for any disability living allowance-related provision of any sort.’

pg-18-norman-watt     The final irony of all this is that if Ivan was still alive the two-faced David Cameron would still be getting DLA and there may well be other millionaires out there who are dipping into the disability benefit pot that Esther Mcvey is fond of telling us is growing too big. She’s fond of the word ‘fairness’ but where’s the fairness in that?

 

Please help hold DWP to account for stats lies

Please read this and all associated posts by Skwalker and take action.

The SKWAWKBOX

I’d like to enlist your help – both directly and by sharing this post widely so that lots of others do the same and momentum is built and maintained on the issue.

I posted this morning about the second rebuke the Tories, in particular the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has received for blatant and extreme distortions of statistics to demonise benefit claimants – in the latter instance, a completely unfounded suggestion that almost 900,000 disability benefit claimants suddenly dropped their claims rather than face a medical assessment.

A brilliant idea was posted as a comment on that article, and I need your help to use it to turn up the Parliamentary pressure for Iain (Duncan) Smith and Grant Shapps to be held to account for lying to the British public and (in Smith’s case at least) to Parliament.

Theyworkforyou.com has a very simple search function that allows you…

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