Dear Mr Byrne,
Having recently seen press releases relating to Labours vision on welfare, many disabled people are disturbed that the Australian model is even being considered, given that it is failing in Australia.
Will the Minister guarantee that the Labour Party will not introduce the welfare card system in the UK. The arguments against this are discriminatory and will only induce further stigmatisation of claimants leading to a failure to the ‘right to live’ (Article 8 & Article 14 HRA) as others in the UK currently enjoy who are employed. It also will lead to further rises in Crime particularly Hate Crime towards those on benefits. While the government could argue it is the exception of ‘the economic welfare of the country’ this scheme would cost the taxpayer huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to implement and is NOT value for money.
Many claimants who have paid into the welfare state over their years of work life who have found themselves out of work or sick and disabled and the thought of the dreaded ‘Welfare card ‘ in Australia forcing them to buy goods from government sanctioned suppliers when in many cases goods can be bought cheaper elsewhere. This will prevent claimants from i.e.; enjoying a family meal, buying birthday cards & presents, having a social life like meeting a friend for coffee or going to the pub for an odd drink with friends, buying petrol to get to see friends/ family members not living locally and medical appointments at hospitals and access to public transport which is limited access.
This is a national disgrace and outrage that the state should dictate a person’s life for some in society, while majority of the UK enjoy all the freedoms afforded to them, creating a two tier system.
While many issues around lifestyle and health are also quoted as the need to make sure the money is well spent that claimants receive. Taxpayers money will be better spent and lest not forget that most sick and disabled are taxpayers too, (they pay taxes on goods and services and have done so through taxation whilst working including NI which is theoretically a scheme sold to us to help when times are tough in life’s journey). I feel the introduction of this will reflect badly around the world that the UK which prides itself on fairness and justice, to oppress it citizens like this based on a false ideology of ‘Scroungers & Skivers’.
I understand completely that any government wants to make sure every penny is well spent and that the system helps those who need it the most. The localism of services which in principle would be great idea on paper but in practice would be a disaster, as many of those services are under pressure themselves at present, this however ‘well meaning’ will lead to another systemic failure of the sick and disabled who have already under this coalition suffered greatly. Please reconsider working more closely with grassroots disabled groups and individuals to come up with a alternative, we know disability better than anyone, we live through it daily and time is running out!