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Monday, 6 December 2010

DLA reform consultation: Great Expectations, Worst Apprehensions

DLA reform consultation: Great Expectations, Worst Apprehensions

Budget fightback – save DLA « Carer Watch's Blog

Budget fightback – save DLA « Carer Watch's Blog

Disability Living Allowance to be Scrapped

The DWP is now looking to scrap the DLA by 2013/14 and replace it with something called Personal Independence Payment, to "help disabled people remove the barriers they face to leading full and independent lives."

The assessment will be objective, reflect the impact of the barriers disabled people may experience, and make sure they are treated as individuals. Central to Personal Independence Payment will be a new, fairer, objective assessment, which will allow us to identify those who face the greatest need, in a more consistent and transparent manner. We are developing the new assessment in collaboration with a group of independent specialists in health, social care and disability, including disabled people. Personal Independence Payment will be based on need not income and will be a more active benefit, recognising changes to individuals’ situations and taking account of the support that disabled people can access to help them live independently. Where possible, we will signpost individuals to support that may help them manage their condition. We will ensure that the award continues to reflect the individual’s changing needs over time by building in periodic reviews.

We want to know who these independent specialists might be? And how independent will they be and who is paying these specialists and why did they think they need to replace the DLA in the first place?

Disabled people and their organisations should absolutely voice their collective say in the consultation.

the full report can be downloaded from

Please comment!

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Cruelty and Stupidity of the Government’s Welfare Reforms | Andy Worthington

The Cruelty and Stupidity of the Government’s Welfare Reforms | Andy Worthington

Black Triangle Comment on the Student Revolt

Black Triangle Contributed to the Comment Section:

"There are so many detractors of the student protesters on here that one could be forgiven for thinking one had stumbled across a Daily Heil thread.

Something needs to be stated here: Any politician or political party with integrity would hold fast to their ideals, however unpopular among a certain section of a marginal constituency, and propound and advocate them to the British electorate.

The Phil Woolas scandal was symptomatic of what is so wrong with the Labour Party since 1997: the willingness to sacrifice moral integrity in order to curry favour among a certain section of the population regarded as essential to winning an election. This section of the population can broadly be categorised as the average Daily Heil reader.

They are people who hold on as if to dear life to their ill-conceived bigotries, prejudices and scapegoats.Their attitudes are seldom challenged and always reinforced by that extreme -right organ of our popular media. The Sun and The Express are included.

Last week the report of the independent review conducted by Professor Michael Harrington of the DWP/ATOS Origin Ltd. "Work Capability Assessment" regime was published.

It was a damning report that repeated what 90% of disability charities and the Citizen's Advice Bureaux have been saying for quite some time now; the WCA is 'Not Working' and is 'Not Fit for Purpose'.

Despite the Government accepting the report in full it is nevertheless proceeding to process 250,000 Incapacity Benefit claimants through the system as it currently stands.This is a very grave injustice.

The Tribunals Service is currently at breaking point with appeal waiting times of up to 11 months.Of those who appeal and are represented, 70% of appeals are successful.

The tabloid media have used the ATOS statistics in a hate campaign against disabled claimants to suggest that the vast majority of them are 'workshy scroungers'.

The Coalition goes further by actually punishing people for being sick and unemployed. Employment and support allowance (the replacement to Incapacity/Invalidity Benefits) is to be time limited to one year. It will then condemn a disabled person who, through no fault of their own are

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the plans are unfair and could plunge the unemployed into “a downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair”.

The long-term unemployed are to be Shanghaid into unpaid community work, and unemployed people will be obliged to take whatever jobs are offered to them.

If they refuse, they will lose their benefits for three months. If they refuse twice, they will lose benefits for six months, and if they refuse for a third time, they will be deprived of their benefits for three years.

Elsewhere, a mainstay of authoritarian governments — attacking single mothers — resurfaced, as Duncan Smith promised that out-of-work parents of young children — those with children between the age of one and five — “will be penalised if they fail to keep in touch with their local jobcentre.”


"In a malignant campaign to eradicate invalidity benefit, which began in 2008, Labour replaced it with employment support allowance, and then recruited malleable doctors to give disabled claimants tests and pronounce that almost anyone with a pulse was capable of work (seehere for an appraisal by Edward Lawrence, a disabled man supported by the State).

However, the new government has now taken this one step further, announcing that employment support allowance will only last for one year, after which those claiming it will be downgraded to jobseekers’ allowance, leaving campaigners concluding, with some justification, that a shockingly large number of people with long-term health problems will be consigned to a minimum of state support, even though their chances of ever finding a job are, to put it midly, remote. — or, as Polly Toynbee put it yesterday, “Large numbers who have been on incapacity benefit for years, who even in good times were pretty unemployable, will now lose a large slab of their income on the spurious grounds that they could, in theory, be fit for something or other.”

As the Guardian explained last month, according to estimates from the Department for Work and Pensions, about 290,000 people “are likely to be deemed too incapacitated to work, and will not see their benefits time-limited,” but 865,000 people on incapacity benefit will be “placed in the ‘work-related activity group,’ who will see their benefits cut after one year.” The Guardian also pointed out that “Those with assets, savings or partners who work will no longer receive benefits. They will not be able to claim JSA even if they are out of work, so would therefore have to rely on partners’ income or savings — if they have any — or sell off their assets.”

For those, like the government, who persist in ignroing evidence that the tests are unfair, Anjuli Veall, social policy and campaigns manager at Parkinson’s UK, said, “In spite of the government’s assurance that any cuts would protect the most vulnerable in society, we are concerned that the latest policy shift regarding ESA will unnecessarily target people with long-term conditions, such as Parkinson’s,” which, to my mind, indicates the extent to which the seriously ill are being regarded as fit for work."

There are increasing incidents of strangers abusing and attacking disabled people in the street!Reported disability hate crime has doubled to shocking proportions. minutes in : Richard Hawkes from Scope

In the past three years the NHS has seen a 10,000 rise in the number of self-harm/attempted suicide admissions at A&E departments nationwide.

There are grave concerns that a great many of those dropping out of the system are doing so because they are too mentally ill to cope with the regime and have fallen under the radar into destitution.Individuals with the gravest conditions are routinely declared 'fit for work'.

A personal friend of mine in Edinburgh who is a GP has written to the DWP outraged that some of his sickest patients have been declared fit. This is the kind of immorality that cries out to Heaven for vengeance.

So what is Labour's response?"We will work with the Government on the reform of incapacity benefit and Disability Living Allowance" (Ed Miliband; Douglas Alexander).

With the regime now having been conclusively exposed as shambolic and unjust - this is Labour's response to the cries of the most vulnerable in our communities, our disability charities, and all the families of our country!

This is so deeply and self-evidently wrong that I hardly need to elaborate on it further.

Additionally, DLA Mobility Allowance is to be taken from all those unfortunate enough not to be able to live independently in their own homes who must endure life in residential accommodation.It has turned them into virtual prisoners of those care homes.

This cut is so cruel and morally repugnant it is scarcely believable.

To cap it all off, the cuts to the Legal Aid budget now means that any poor and/or disabled individual who has had their civil and human rights violated by a public authority or a private enterprise is now denied access to our courts to challenge the alleged unlawfulness.

This, quite frankly, is terrifyingly totalitarian in its scope. It is an utter outrage and an affront to our values as a nation that upholds the principles of justice for all. We have an absolute right to justice. This is the wholesale emasculation of the rule of law in the United Kingdom.

People ought to be rioting about this issue on its own but it is passing into law without so much as a squeak from anywhere. Least of all the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party.

Simply and accurately described, what is transpiring with great stealth is nothing less than a pogrom on the poor, sick and disabled of our country, and that is no exaggeratiom of the reality of the situation for those affected.

The paralells in history with the great depression and the rise of fascism in 1030's Germany are all too real for them.

What is Labour's response to this social crime? I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that?!George Osborne goaded Ed Miliband at Question Time recently to suggest an alternative to cuts and austerity and Miliband proffered none.

What about the 100 billion tax gap?

The fact is Labour is afraid to hold to socialist beliefs which broadly speaking means holding to the value of loving one's neighbour as one's self, and translated into political action means upholding and protecting those who are most vulnerable, the poor and those who, for whatever reason, fall by the wayside in life.

A belief in a social justice and fairness. And by 'fairness' I am not talking about everybody getting clobbered equally.How can the modern Labour square its complicity in cuts to welfare and public spending and its lack of real support for the students fighting for the RIGHT to education - how can it square that with the fundamental value stated above?

The Labour Party is completely out of step with this protest movement. It remains there to its great detriment.

In the coming months there is going to be the biggest mobilisation of civil society ever seen in British history in resistance to this wicked regime.We demand nothing less than a complete transformation in our democracy which has become decrepit and unresponsive to the wishes of the majority of the electorate.

It is no longer 'fit for purpose'.

Our economy and monetary system also needs a complete transformation. The current monetarist economics does little but enrich a tiny minority at the expense of the vast majority.Disabled people, students, and ordinary people have woken up to the realisation that they are beinfg swindled by our current politico-economic structure.

We did not create this crisis.

Why should we pay for it in this topsy-turvy world where those who did cause it are rewarded and the innocent are punished, persecuted and repressed???

So before you write off these magnificent, deeply thoughtful and compassionate youth, please consider these matters and ask yourselves if they are not indeed advocating ideas whose time has come.

If we carry on the way we're going there will be nothing left of Britain in five years' time.

The large majority of people in Britain did not vote for this 'shock and awe' cuts and austerity programme. What has happened is the the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have usurped power without a mandate from the British people.

They assumed power having stood on one political platform whilst electioneering in the run-up to the election and subsequently are engaged in delivering a radically different, extreme right-wing neo-liberal ideological monetarist cuts programme which they themselves describe as a "revolution" in the welfare state.

This Government is, in terms of the political and democratic sovereignty of our people, constitutionally illegitimate: It must go.

It is time to demand a dissolution of Parliament and to convene a grass-roots constitutional convention to take back the sovereign political power of electors from those who have hijacked, cheated and usurped what is rightfully ours.

This is desperately required in order for us to evolve intelligently into a society where politics and the economy is placed at the service of humanity, and not the other way around.

This day must and will come. And soon."

Black Triangle