Archive for the ‘campaign’ Category

The 2 yr Job Rule for Disabled on Universal Credit is not True!


 

In the last few days it has been widely reported by various bloggers that those disabled claimants claiming Universal Credit are subjected to finding a job within two years or face a 1 year sanction. This is utter fabrication and feeding many claimants fears which could potentially cause harm. So today I called Welfare Rights ,who called DWP while I remained on the phone, they denied that this information was correct and was downright alarmist and dangerous. That doesnt mean I trust DWP and have submitted a FOI too given 7 years of shenanigans. So you see folks, you can take the fear project and destroy it with Facts!

Those who will be put on Universal Credit (UC) will have to sign the claimant commitment regardless, some will be subjected to full conditionality some will have their conditionality limited depending on the circumstances, and subject to sanctions if they fail to comply with the agreed commitments they agreed with work coach via the Work Plan,My 4 steps,My Values documents.  (Document links provided at bottom of the blog.)

As promised last night, the SKWAWKBOX has been looking further into conflicting reports from DWP insiders concerning the WRAG (work-related activity group) category into which the government, more or less arbitrarily, places some disability benefit claimants and the possibility of sanctions after a fixed period of two years under the Universal Credit (UC) system if claimants have not found work.

Some activists insisted that this was part of the UC system and this was initially confirmed by long-term DWP employees. Others subsequently disputed it. The only thing all were agreed on was that the rules are ill-conceived and extremely confusing.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted a PCS union official who specialises in UC for clarification and received this response:

 

I’ve been looking at the regulations and I can’t find anything that refers specifically to a fixed time limit in which to find employment.

That is right, because no fixed time limit exists in the regulations

 

The ‘disabled’ argument, as I’m sure you are aware, is notorious because ultimately the Department through the provide contractors are essentially able to define who is fit or not for work.

For example, a claimant maybe moved from ESA to UC on the back of a WCA [Work Capability Assessment]. The claimant may disagree with the decision but they are stuck.

If they are adamant they are not fit for work, they could refuse employment in an environment they believe will affect their health.

 

If they have been found to have no Limited Capability for Work, they cannot refuse employment. The fact that claimants think they are unfit for work has been the main issue with the flawed WCA since 2008

 

This is where the sanction process comes in – a 13wk, 26wk and 156wk sanction could apply (although similar regs existed prior to UC and the 2012 Welfare Reform Act if not as harsh or severe).

 

In this case you’re looking at failure to apply, not accepting work or leaving on one’s own accord. Their argument is they aren’t fit, the department will still look at sanctions.

The circumstances described here apply to somebody who has not been found to have Limited Capability for Work.

 

The sanction regime is clearly arbitrary, deeply unfair and dangerous – but there is no rule mandating a fixed time-limit for a claimant to find work.

Again no time limit

 

However, another PCS/DWP source warned that while the rules don’t include such a limit, the way they are applied may not be as clear cut:

I can tell you that we have received complaints from WRAG claimants about having their ESA revoked after two years. And now they are treated as JSA claimants because they are ‘fit for work but not necessarily their precious occupation(s)’.

ESA cannot be revoked. It simply cannot be claimed after a claimant has been found fit for work. Previous occupations are not a consideration. That has always been the case.

 

Sanctions have been applied because the claimant has not fulfilled their requirement to find work. The purpose of the WRAG was to enable people to return to work despite being disabled, but this component has now been removed as WRAG claimants are now treated as jobseekers.

 

WRAG claimants under UC are described as having Limited Capability for Work.. They are not required to search for, be available for and start work, and cannot be sanctioned for not doing so, but they are required to accept work preparation requirements within their commitment and attend WFIs

.

 

Other WRAG claimants have been booted off ESA or the sickness element of UC after a period of two years because they failed their WCA – deliberate decision to bully them back to work.

 

Some claimants will fail their WCA after 2 years. Others after 6 months, 12 months  etc.

2 years is actually a prognosis period, meaning a number of people are reassessed at this stage. Unless there is any evidence of a pattern, this period of 2 years is meaningless

 

Thanks too to Anita Bellows who has worked with me on this 🙂

 

So you see folks, you can take the fear project and destroy it with Facts! 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353594773/4c-ESAHWC1

https://www.scribd.com/document/353595852/CC-O18-E15

https://www.scribd.com/document/352833734/CC-Work-Preparation-Activities-v1-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/353603319/1359203507-UJcompanyleafletJCP

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185048/CC-Requirement-to-Accept-a-Claimant-Commitment-v2-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185364/cc-commitment-not-accepted-v1-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185650/My-4-Steps-Template

https://www.scribd.com/document/354187257/1816-my-values-1-pdf

https://www.scribd.com/document/349517725/UC-Claimant-Committment

https://www.scribd.com/document/349520361/FTS-FTP-in-WFI-and-Failure-to-Undertake-Work-Related-Activity

https://www.scribd.com/document/349517543/Handout-08-01-Commitment-Pack-v7-7

https://www.scribd.com/document/354182466/Dealing-With-Sanctions-Facsheet-4

https://www.scribd.com/document/353627563/HWC-Exemptions

 

Read Frank Zola Blog below;

https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/disability-rights-uk-disrightsuk-questions-why-dwp-esa-health-work-conversation-mandatory-foi/

Update…….. “The Article originally produced by SKWAWKBOX. Claiming to that Disabled Persons could only claim UC for 24 months, is a mishmash of quotes from Gen William Taggart, who was actually talking about an Early ‘Draft’ of the Welfare Reform Acts. At no time did Gen. T directly associate this with Disabled Persons, in fact it was just a heads up for activists/advocates etc, to remember not to get complacent about the Statutory Instrument placed within the Welfare Reform Acts. “

 

Further confirmation from DWP to my FOI

My FOI response

“Claimants on JSA or UC, who are expected to look for and be available for work, must do all
they reasonably can to find and take up a job. However, the DWP sets no specific time limit for
how long a claimant is given to find a job.
Sanctions are only used in a minority of cases when people fail to attend work-search reviews;
fail to meet the work-related requirements they have agreed in their Claimant Commitment;
fail to apply for work or take up an offer of work; or leave a job, without good reason.
The DWP does not have any statutory powers to sanction or reduce benefit payments solely on the basis
that a claimant has been trying but has been unable to find work within 2 years.”

 

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/js_a_two_year_clause#incoming-1019979

Universal Credit Report -Hidden dangerous policy decisions that will cause harm


This report from Disability Campaigner Gail Ward is a must read for all benefit claimants and those claiming  ‘in work’ benefits claimed by millions in the UK. It has plenty of references and downloads contained within the document and it will alarm many, it should, as this government is targeting the poorest in society at the expense of saving the rich. Some of those already transferred will know the horrors already highlighted recently by Citizens Advice (CAB),but the majority do not. This blog doesn’t have the capacity to embed the entire report to enable reading online ,but you can download it from the link below in the hope that this will help many prepare for the next onslaught by this barbaric government whose sole purpose is to hound claimants, and save money for the state putting profit before people. If you thought WCA (ESA) was bad this will make it look relatively tame.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353794654/Universal-Credit-Report

TOXIC ATOS REBRANDS AGAIN


 

Toxic Atos are again having to rebrand claiming

Following an independent review of the PIP assessment journey claimants experience in December 2014, Paul Gray recommended a number of changes to claimant communications to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Assessment Providers.
After consultation with DWP and reviewing our communications, we have introduced a new business name that better represents the work we do independently assessing PIP cases.
We believe Independent Assessment Services does this because: • It makes it clear that we are ‘independent’ providers, distinct from DWP • ‘Assessment’ explains the service we deliver assessing PIP cases more clearly than ‘healthcare’ does

It can rebrand as much as it likes, it  doesn’t stop the DWP destroying disabled people’s lives when being assessed and losing their money,  vehicles, jobs when they fail to be assessed correctly and leaving some so distraught their health actually deteriorates or they lose what income from working they had , and the worst case scenario is they are left housebound  when they lose their mobility vehicles.

The stories are now coming thick and fast towards those contractors, which Atos is one, of lies and malpractice of assessors. Capita is the other contractor whose reputation has also been tarnished badly .

65% of decisions are now being overturned on appeal, some just give up because they genuinely cannot cope with their health conditions and the long protracted process that it entails and the loss of vital income which helps with the extra costs they face as disabled people. Recently those with mental health were asked ‘why they had not killed themselves yet’ ! Reports given to DWP in a lot of cases are filled with fabrication, claim claimants.

One the eve of election night many are scared witless by these assessments praying to god that Labour are installed into Number 10 who have promised to scrap these assessments along with the notorious WCA assessments which Atos used to carry out until they left their contract early leaving Maximus to pick up the pieces.

Either way these assessments are going the same way,  should Labour get power this will need to be tackled head on to prevent serious preventable harm to those whom are struggling under the last 7yrs of horrific reforms to survive. Many thousands have died along the way, with Atos and the DWP blaming each other, but the blame lays fairly and squarely at the governments door for a badly thought out policy decision that has affected the disabled community on a grand scale, while blaming disabled people for being workshy,lazy , and faking disability which the general public have latched onto and left the disabled community easy targets of Hate Crime. Disabled people do not mind having a fair assessment given the public purse is helping them live independently, what they object to is being hounded to their graves and every waking moment being made scapegoats for a failed government policy that was only ever going to cause harm and they did not even have the decency to step in and stop this happening. The enquiry into PIP (Personal Independence Payments) was conveniently called off due to the fact Mrs May called a snap election in the hope of continuing these awful policies to cut the welfare bill of those they promised to protect.

The disabled community has been hit 9 times harder than any other section of society, for the failure of a society who no longer care, a department who is determined to put saving money over human life of a community that takes the least of the welfare budget.

 

Read here the Stakeholder Document to Advisors

https://www.scribd.com/document/350681967/DRG-Toolkit-for-Stakeholder-Mailing-010617

 

Read more here

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/election-forces-mps-to-abandon-pip-inquiry-but-evidence-backs-up-dishonesty-claims/

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-assessment-lies-and-distortions-exposed-by-double-apology-to-claimant/

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/pip-suicide-womans-sister-blames-barbaric-system-for-her-death/

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/

 

Labour Returns to It’s Roots


Corby with mos book

 

Without a right-leaning New Labour leader, there is now an opportunity for the Labour Party to represent the people it was originally created to serve, writes MO STEWART.

There is an entire generation in Great Britain who have no knowledge of the original Labour Party, who confuse Tony Blair as its former leader and who have no comprehension of the damage the New Labour Party created.

 

Three consecutive general election wins for Tony Blair when leader of the New Labour Party was, by anyone’s standard, a significant achievement.  Blair was the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, was the youngest British Prime Minister since 1812 and was to became the longest serving (New) Labour Prime Minister which is an achievement not easily surpassed.

 

However, there was a reason why the party was called ‘New Labour’ as it broke away from its traditional roots, and engaged with right-leaning policies not dissimilar to those of the previous Conservative government. Efforts to impress the middle class voters were at the expense of the Labour heartlands and the workers the original Labour Party was created to protect.

 

Blair claimed to want to move the Party to what he called the ‘centre ground’ which, in reality, created right-leaning policies, which were in opposition to traditional Labour Party values. Under his leadership New Labour reduced what had been historic links with trade unions, abandoned what had been the Labour Party’s commitment to nationalisation and supported Britain’s entry into the European Union.

 

His landslide victory over the Conservatives in the 1997 general election was impressive following eighteen years of Tory rule and, for a while, all was well.  However, the longer Blair served as Prime Minister the more right-leaning policies were produced. He made every effort to attract the middle class vote, whilst distancing the party from the working class and the trade unions, whose members stopped voting at general elections in their hundreds of thousands as no political party represented them.

Blair’s embarrassing devotion to all things American meant that the regularly claimed “special relationship” between America and Great Britain was reflected in foreign policy, as Blair took this nation into a war in Afghanistan in 2001 we had no business fighting, which was used to give the Republican President Bush the moral justification for American hostilities.

 

On the domestic front, it was the Blair government who commissioned David Freud to investigate welfare funding.  As a consequence of a totally discredited 2008 report by Freud, Blair’s successor Gordon Brown was the New Labour Prime Minister who introduced welfare reforms.  The reforms permitted an unaccountable foreign corporate giant to reassess welfare claimants using the entirely bogus American influenced Work Capability Assessment (WCA), and was no longer in charge by the time it became obvious that the use of the WCA would kill people.

 

Time has moved on and Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the leader of the Labour Party, for the second time, in September 2016.  Never in the history of the party has there been such relentless personal abuse by Labour MPs still loyal to Blair , but opposition to Corbyn from some Blairite Labour MPs couldn’t muster the support he attracted from the grassroots membership of the Labour Party, who elected him to office.

 

Corbyn has rejected the austerity measures employed by the Tories, which were always guaranteed to cause preventable harm to the most vulnerable people in society.  He has also rejected the neoliberal politics employed by the Conservative, the Coalition and the New Labour governments, which created a free-for-all in the world markets, which eventually led to a world banking crisis in 2008.

 

Whilst grotesque salaries were offered to the few, Cameron used the banking crisis to justify the introduction of austerity measures in 2010.  The sick, the disabled and the poor have all suffered the most as a direct consequence of the austerity measures, as tax breaks were given to the wealthiest people in the country and corporate giants were permitted to fail to fund corporate taxes.

 

Devotion to neoliberal politics, together with austerity measures and a vast reduction in funding for essential public services by the Conservative government has created preventable harm and vast inequalities. There has been a return of Rickets to Britain for the first time since the Second World War, together with increases in Tuberculosis, which are linked to the savage Conservative/Coalition government austerity measures which meant that the poorest and the most vulnerable would be often left without food.

 

The answer to that is the desperate need for food banks generously supported by the British public, school breakfasts begrudgingly introduced by the Tories to reduce adverse commentary, to be replaced by nourishing hot school lunches if Labour are returned to power in the 2017 general election.

 

As leader of the Labour Party Corbyn would never agree to commit British military forces to another war zone at the behest of the Americans. He will return rights to British workers, stop the university students being plunged into debt when attending university and has promised to stop the dangerous WCA which has been linked to the deaths of almost 100,000 people since 2011.  This, together with a guaranteed increase in funding for vital public services, including the NHS, the Police Service and the Fire Service would secure a much better and safer future for the British people.

 

It’s now twenty years ago since Blaire enjoyed a landslide victory against the Tories in 1997 and introduced New Labour to the unsuspecting British people. Twenty years later, it is possible that Corbyn could enjoy another significant victory over the Tories, and this time he would introduce a traditional Labour government to the British public.

 

All that is need is for a majority of adults to vote Labour in the general election on June 8th.

 

Mo Stewart is an independent researcher and retired healthcare professional. Her acclaimed book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’ was published in September 2016 by New Generation Publishing.

The Human Cost Of Austerity


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What is the Human Cost of Austerity?

Well for most working people it not affected them yet, they actually have been least hit, unless you’re on low pay poverty wages .The pensioners are ‘untouchable’ as far as political ideology is concerned,but for some of the most vulnerable groups they have been affected the most and they are ones least likely to be able to take the hit of both financial and personally as they have least means for survival. the last 6yrs has seen sick & disabled people penalised the most, resulting in fatalities that should shock anyone with a ounce of humanity in their souls.

Why has this been allowed to happen I hear people cry, well I will tell you why …because you allowed it to happen by not standing up for a fair society for all!

A colleague Kitty Jones summed up this in one of her thought provoking quotes Read more here ..  https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/

Neoliberalism is based on competitive individualism. In such a competitive system it’s inevitable that there will be a few “winners” and many “losers”. That’s what “competition” means. It means no rewards for most people – inequality and poverty for the 99%. It’s not possible to “work hard” to change this. It’s built into the very system. Therefore it’s hardly fair or appropriate for a government to blame and punish people for the failings of their own imposed dominant ideology – a political and economic mode of organisation – which most ordinary people did not intentionally choose.

 

The fact is this Government blames anyone and everyone but themselves and they spout on about ‘people taking responsibility’ which is all well and good in ideal world but the one we live in now is a far more dark and frightening space. It uses behavioural conditioning to pit one section of society against the other  in a global hunger games like experiment you would see in an apocalyptic movie, but its not a movie , for many it a reality of daily struggle in some mind bending experiment of your nightmares.

Again Kitty Jones points this out well

The Tory mindset is very disciplinarian. In their view, everyone else needs “corrective treatment” to ensure that society is shaped and ruled the way they think it ought to be. The government believes that rather than addressing social problems – many of which are created and perpetuated by their own policies, such as growing inequality and absolute poverty – can be addressed by “incentivising” people to “behave” differently. In other words, they believe that people can be punished out of poverty, being ill, being out of work, and being less “competitive”, cost effective citizens, letting down the conservative’s constructed, overarching neoliberal state.

The government is conducting behavioural experiments on the public without their consent, to fulfil the needs of government, rather than the needs of the public. This turns democracy totally on its head. Citizens are being coerced to act as the government deems necessary to fulfil conservative notions of cost reduction and “efficiency” – such as their notion of a low tax, low welfare society. “Living within our means” means austerity for the poorest, tax cuts for the rich => growing inequality and poverty.

The government mindset: “Psychology as a behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is … prediction and control.” From – https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/…/GCSBehaviourChangeGuideJu…

And: “Behaviour change is one of the primary functions of government communications – helping change and save lives, helping the government run more effectively as well as save taxpayer’s money.

Our approach is to use a mix of awareness raising, persuasion, practical help and behavioural theory, to demonstrate why changes in behaviour are important and to make these changes easy for the public to adopt.”

Making changes “easy to adopt” sounds like choices are being offered, however, the use of “incentives” includes rigid, coercive measures such as welfare sanctions and savage cuts to public support and services.

A government that imposes policies on citizens using coercion is not “democratic.” It’s a government displaying some very worrying totalitarian tendencies.

 

 

As this governments ideology marches on towards it goal of dismantling the Welfare State,NHS social care and redefining chronic sickness & disability (as in to eradicate it ) ,and  child poverty at alarming rates, a government which stokes racial disharmony , and homelessness which will swamp streets in every part of the UK then we are heading for very troubled waters indeed . In April the two child policy comes in, further cuts to a variety of benefits that people receive and the process of getting them made almost impossible to get, and enforced treatment of some claimants to make them fit for work with a very dangerous Health & Work programme  later this year,  will cause preventable harm to many and most likely more deaths that go hand in hand with Mental Health issues, poverty,malnutrition etc that we can barely see the apocalypse coming as so many are blinded by their own survival and greed.

 

What sort of legacy are we leaving our children and future generations? One where human life is deemed worthless and disposable, christ we only need to look at what damage we do to the planet we live on and the destruction that is causing to see this a road of no return.

Unless we wake up, Mad Max will become a reality and those left behind will not have the coping strategies to cope and the knowledge of their forefathers will be lost forever.

They say history repeats itself, well yes it does, because we still haven’t learned to value what’s precious and not repeat past horrors like both wars where humans are brutalised and then become emotionally disconnected because it is too painful to see or feel. This has to change if we are to make a real difference and that change can start with ourselves and join together to unite against what is wrong.

People think they do not have power to change things so become accepting but collectively we do have power  and thats what scares governments the most. It is time to wake from your slumber and rise up like lions to defend life and create a better world for all.

It is  time to put our differences aside and work together as a collective to achieve changes we wish to happen!

Academic confirmation we have all been waiting 7 years for- AYLWARD’S REPUTATION DESTROYED BY ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE


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 Courtesy of Mo Stewart July29th 2016

Re: Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability.

by Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson and Ola Abu Alghaib

 

Critical Social Policy, May 25,2016: 0261018316649120

http://csp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/25/0261018316649120.abstract

AS you all know, I have been exposing the dangerous WCA in my research since 2009.  Eventually, I was able to expose the use of the totally discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment, used for the WCA and adopting a ‘non-medical’ assessment model to resist funding benefit.  Waddell and Aylward’s ‘research’ was based on the modified version of Engel’s BPS model as identified in the 1970s. They are responsible for the BPS model used for the WCA, which has destroyed countless lives.

 

Finally, the very long awaited academic support has arrived in the form of a blistering attack against Mansel Aylward and Gordon Waddell’s research ‘evidence’ who, historically, have written DWP ‘commissioned’ research that has influenced government policy, which led to the introduction of the WCA.

 

Originally published in Critical Social Policy Journal, Tom’s scathing attack against the BPS duo is now attached and is available via Tom’s website at UEA: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

 

The Waddell-Aylward BPS has remained largely unexamined within academic literature, although it has not escaped critique by disability activists (e.g. Jolly 2012, Berger n.d., Lostheskold 2012, Stewart 2013). In this paper we build on these political challenges with an academic analysis of the model and the evidence used to justify it. We outline the chief features of the Waddell-Aylward BPS and argue that, contrary to Lord Freud’s comments above, there is no coherent theory or evidence behind this model. We have carefully reviewed claims in Waddell and Aylward’s publications; compared these with the accepted scientific literature; and checked their original sources, revealing a cavalier approach to scientific evidence. In conclusion, we will briefly outline the influence of the Waddell-Aylward BPS on contemporary British social policy, and the consequent effects on disabled people.” (p4) (My emphasis MS)

 

Waddell and Aylward slide between general statements that are scientifically valid, and specific statements that are matters of opinion or political prejudice. They also tend to cite their own, non-peer reviewed papers extensively. For example they claim ‘We have the knowledge to reduce sickness absence and long-term incapacity associated with common health problems by 30–50%, and in principle by even more’ (2010, 45). They underpin this claim by reference to one of their earlier publications, Concepts of Rehabilitation for the Management of Common Health Problems (Waddell & Burton 2004). However, there is no evidence cited in this 2004 work to support such a claim, in fact this publication even acknowledges the paucity of evidence in this area (Waddell and Burton 2004; 50).” (p20)

 

“In conclusion, the relationship of the advocates of the Waddell Aylward BPS to the UK government’s ‘welfare reform’ does not represent evidence-based policy. Rather, it offers a chilling example of policy-based evidence.” (p24)

 

The research ‘evidence’ used by the DWP to justify the dangerous WCA, using the discredited BPS model, is finally exposed as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind this model’, which is academic speak for being totally bogus.

 

 

Is DRUK Trying To Silence Disability Researcher?


disabilityrightsuk

 

 

 

 

 

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) have been around a long time, helping disabled people navigate the benefits system with their informative fact sheets available to download from their website.

Like many other charities, gradually, DRUK have been sitting at the table with government officials in the designing of the WCA since 2010, offering both critique and praise alike.

Many will know that DRUK have recently been afforded Government contracts to supply Disability Equality Training to the new contractor, Maximus, for the WCA assessments to ensure disabled people get better treated  within the process. I am sure that DRUK think they are trying to ease the stress these flawed assessments cause many disabled claimants. However, how can you offer help to disabled people then, with the same breath, support the oppressive regime the WCA has become?  This smacks of conflict of interest.

As many disability campaigners know one of their own, Sue Marsh (Spartacus Network), was co-opted by IDS to work for Maximus. This caused much outrage amongst the disability movement dividing many campaigners into two camps, with some calling Marsh a traitor who they deemed was bought to silence her, and others, as Spartacus members gave personal stories etc to the network. Members felt betrayed and concerned as to where their data was, and how it could be used against them come reassessment, with Marsh now working for the government contracted oppressor of disabled people who are dying in their thousands.

 

Benefits and Work  website reported in January 2015

Following its signing of disability campaigner Sue Marsh earlier this month, Maximus – the company taking over the work capability assessment contract from Atos in March – have now signed up a leading disability charity as well.

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) have announced that they have agreed a contract to deliver training in disability equality to Maximus health professionals.

DRUK has over 300 member organisations, including many national charities, and aims to ‘Break the link between disability and poverty’. Maximus, which is being paid more than double the amount that Atos was being paid to carry out WCA’s seems keen to prevent potential opponents from slipping into poverty by sharing some of its taxpayer funded profits with them.

DRUK are also advertising for people to take part in what looks very much like a promotional campaign for income protection insurance – the sort of thing that Unum provide as an alternative to state support – though there is no suggestion that Unum are involved on this occasion.

Members of the public who have had a serious illness and are trying to return to work are offered the amounts of money and support they would have had if they had been wealthy enough to afford to take out income protection insurance cover. They are filmed as they make the return to work and these films can then be used to encourage people to take out income protection insurance.

Of course, the worse the level of state benefits and state support, the more easily people can be persuaded to take out such insurance, giving insurance companies a vested interest in maintaining the link between disability and poverty.

 

The Black Triangle Campaign and Disabled People Against the Cuts  have also  highlighted on their respective websites many of the shortcomings of this government’s failure to ‘Help the most vulnerable in society and protect them,’ with DPAC going to the UN which recently found that disabled people’s human rights were breached under the convention. (Links below)

Make no bones about it, private disability insurance is on its way under Tory rule as we follow the examples of USA, Canada, Australia etc of welfare provision, which is soon to be highlighted in a new book by independent disability studies researcher, Mo Stewart, called Cash Not Care- the planned demolition of the UK welfare state, due to be published later this year. Former healthcare professional and disabled veteran Mo Stewart has spent 6 long years gathering information, which has assisted many disabled campaigners in their fight against these ideological reforms, which caused preventable harm to disabled people and saved very little money for the government; a pledge they used to sell this lie to the public who bought it hook, line and sinker. Mo’s very detailed research reports are available online.

 

You may wonder that I have wandered off topic but you need to understand the background before I lay the cards on the table.

It seems that DRUK would like to now garner the services of researcher Mo Stewart on the new APPG Inquiry regarding ‘Welfare to Work’ which they administer, and which is the next step of this government’s ongoing psycho- coercion to force claimants into work, regardless of the harm it will cause. They fail miserably to understand that many chronically sick and disabled people cannot work, and that their health problems are permanent, as they built the welfare reform policies based on so called ‘academic research’ which has been subsequently demonstrated to be fatally flawed, in the case of the Freud Report, and based on totally bogus research in the case of the DWP evidence used to justify the WCA. http://csp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/25/0261018316649120.abstract

The aim is to go beyond a critique to a template or blueprint for co-ordinated Government action to halve the ‘disability employment gap’.  Even those who want to work (and many disabled people do work), due to the barriers they face regarding access, together with employers who are unwilling to take disabled people on in the workplace, or to make the necessary adjustments needed, they can’t.  For example, most buildings, transport etc are not disability friendly.

Many disabled people are now being put through the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and are actually losing both their Motability cars, and their jobs, as many disabled people are unable to use public transport.  So, the removal of access to a Motability car also means the loss of paid work. Yet another consequence of welfare reforms the government failed to consider.

What bit of this do the DWP fail to grasp is mind boggling, and clearly lacks any common sense.  Without addressing the barriers, and accepting that many cannot work, is the sole reason the government has failed to halve the disability employment gap as they claimed they wanted to do.  That claim always was little more than propaganda and Tory party rhetoric used in the ongoing psycho-coercion of the British people via the right-wing press.

Thankfully, Mo Stewart declined the offer to join the APPG government inquiry. She challenges the theory behind the planned report, does not wish to be the ‘token’ disabled person on the research team, and there would be a risk that any negative reaction to the eventual report by the disability support groups could be justified by the DWP when highlighting Mo’s contribution. She totally refuses to become another government ‘patsy.’

So, Mo declined the invitation to join the APPG Inquiry research team and is waiting for her book to be published, which is a strong indictment of all those involved in the WCA process. This is the research the government attempted to stop, and the book the government do not want people to read.

She’s also writing further research to support disabled people, and the DWP have discovered that Mo is not easily silenced in her condemnation of these American influenced welfare reforms that she has spent over 6 years of her life researching and reporting.

 

Lynne Friedli’s powerful talk regarding the psycho-coercion used by the state is well worth 45 minutes of your time, demonstrating the realities of the state using psychosocial rhetoric to enforce work that may be unpaid and certainly, for many, will be harmful.(You Tube link)

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html

http://guerillawire.org/welfare/disability-charity-signs-maximus-contract/

Leading WCA campaigner swaps sides to join Maximus

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/20/un-inquiry-uk-disability-rights-violations-cprd-welfare-cuts

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/news/uk-in-breachhuman-rights/00287.html

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/scottish-police-assessing-possible-investigation-into-ids-and-grayling/

 

 

 

 

Life as a Campaigner – Not For Fainthearted


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I have been thinking recently about life as a Campaigner  and all the trials and tribulations that go with that task. Disability Campaigners from all walks of life /backgrounds have fought the most brutal and sadistic of battles over the last 6yrs with unprecedented tenacity even the Government themselves have been surprised that we would dare to fight tooth and nail over the Welfare Reform Bill brought in 2010 and subsequent changes since like the Welfare To Work Bill, Social Care Act, ILF Cuts, Trade Union Bill and the mighty NHS Privatisation Etc.

Endless  personal sacrifices have been made to bring this Government to task over what can only be considered, a mercenary scorched earth approach to disability and employment which is targeting the poorest in society not seen since WW2. Not withstanding their own personal daily struggles of disability, caring responsibilities, and the stagnant job market many have found themselves under sustained attack from the Bedroom Tax, WCA, Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and DLA transitions to PIP (Personal Independence Payment), Workfare, Housing Benefit ,Deaths, and all the cuts that have been implemented, with much more yet to come, they have remained steadfast in their resolve. This takes a considerable effort in both time and energy to take this government to court, raise funds for court appeals, and do research to enable this to happen in the first place, engage solicitors/barristers while offering substantial support to those in need and engage their communities to get involved and on the street, while the rest of society ignores their calls for help and support and the Press & TV have been blocked form reporting the considerable harm to many, in some cases resulting in death. The loss of friends in the campaign movement has ripped out the heart of some of us, after all ‘we care’ why else would we be doing it.

We are accused of being self-serving, when in reality different factions may have different approaches, use different models even, but the stark reality is we have Humanity, Compassion for our fellow human beings regardless, with the main ingredient of  CARING and wanting ALL to have a decent standard of living without fear of persecution from those in power who decide on changes that affect our lives on a daily basis.

Campaigners do it because they absolutely believe it should be a human right to live in a fair and equal society and be allowed the same equality as anyone else in society enjoys, not be subjected to ‘grades of worthiness’ by the rest of society.

They took to social media in various forms and took the fight right to the heart on Central Government, they took to the streets , took to courts and lobbied Ministers to stop this onslaught from happening. It hasn’t been without its problems though, many campaigners have been subjected to Hate Crime, Cyber bullying, Government Interference by closing websites down, some of this  has even come from within their own community because of disagreements in ways to tackle the issues we all face, even down to whistle blowers from those contracted to carry out these policies, and those who chose to change their allegiances and work with the perceived enemy. We also bear the brunt of people’s anger and frustration when intervening ,leading many groups to place rules within groups to try to bring some social order and etiquette to prevent members being abused or themselves for standing strong on a particular point. Sadly  the negatives of social media also brings out the worst in people who think that they can be as abusive as they like from behind a computer screen,  trading insults with each other rather than just disagree and walk away, some not understanding the difference between debating and challenging a viewpoint then going off and causing mischief across the internet or stalking an individual because they had a fallout leading to cyber bullying and harassment. Some have had to resort to calling in the police due to their nature.

Many Campaigners  have supported those all night who cannot cope and prevented some of them from taking their own lives, offered support and directed those affected to reputable sources for help and support with the disaster of all the above mentioned changes, some have even gone along to tribunals and provided a means of emotional support to someone who feels their world is a dark planet full of enemies of the state, persecuting them into what they see as the only course of action is ‘their own demise’.

Hours of toil amongst their own ill-health  and other life commitments  have made a positive impact on many  lives and now the tides seems to be turning in our favour after the recent PIP debacle which saw ministers back down for now anyway. 12billion more cuts are yet to be implemented and no doubt many will already be standing on a cliff edge wondering whether or not to jump off the cliff as  they can bear no more, while others will just store up that anger  and kick off at the tiniest thing causing mayhem wherever they go and misdirect that anger at those who are trying to do something to stop this bloody mess, which isn’t only unfair on those under fire but those around them too. Its not an easy life for sure full of stress and strain and frustration, and when you stick your head above the parapet you can be certain, someone will want to blow it off, taking you down for no reason at all other than frustration or jealousy at your new found status of being seen as a ‘leading campaigner’ which is a label placed upon you by others within the movement or externally by those reporting the news and sequence of events. Some are pushed unwittingly to the forefront, while some wishing to remain in the engine room they all work together for the betterment of the whole movement overall yet expect nothing in return except respect and dignity that should be afforded to any human being. Campaigners do not do it for personal gain they do it to prevent pain and suffering to those who cannot stand up for themselves, to make the lives of many better than before, where possible. Britain is the first country to be investigated for grave violations to sick and disabled people by both the UN and ECHR.

I will end this blog with a simple message we can fight back ,we can overcome obstacles if we stick together. What this government wants  is to divide society into sections of society each kicking  7 bells of shit out of each other as the crumbs off the table become more scarce, what we cannot do is give them their wish of divide and rule we need to pull together on common ground and stand shoulder to shoulder with each other even if we disagree, we should not fall into the trap set for us to tear each other apart for we are all fragile human beings with a range of impairments. Love & Respect each other and put differences aside.

 

That reader, is only way to beat this government unite as one, for when we do, we are one hell of a formidable foe that scares the living shit out of our government.

Solidarity

Job Facts that Dave is Trying to Hide!


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Picture Courtesy of Telegraph

We have heard many times the governments mantra how they have made employment figures fall under their watch, and more people are in work than under Labour. Well todays report released by Adzuna actually contradict such arguments we have all read the headlines about job losses across the UK. Ask anyone outside any Jobcentre how easy to find a job it is, it nigh on impossible in some parts of the country. This Table shows the current vacancies falling month by month.

 

 

UK Vacancies. jpg

The Table shows that Jobseekers face considerable obstacles with getting work so face fewer options and flexability overall.

Advertised job vacancies have now fallen 13.7% since November, when 165,000 more jobs were on the market (1,244,772). A long-term focus on upskilling existing employees and prioritising retention means companies can now sidestep the search for fresh talent, filling positions in-house rather than looking elsewhere.

For jobseekers, this means fewer choices and less flexibility. Job competition has intensified in January, rising to 0.61 applicants per vacancy, up 13% since 0.54 in December.

 

At the same time, widespread job losses across a range of UK sectors mean several industry key players are no longer in a position to take on new hires. Energy giant BP cut 7,000 jobs earlier this month, alongside the loss of over 2,500 manufacturing roles by Tata and Bombardier. Lloyds and Virgin Media similarly saw large job losses of 1,755 and 900 employees respectively.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “January’s jobs market has failed to take flight. The normal rhythm of hiring hasn’t happened – vacancy levels are down and job competition is getting tougher. Fewer options for those looking for new jobs is putting pressure on career plans. Hiring habits are changing in a sign of potential instability and employers are retaining their best workers for longer.

 “A potential Brexit brings new unknowns into the jobs market. Politicians are at risk of fuelling uncertainty fears – and only increasing doubts. By doing so they’re risking a weaker jobs market. It’s a dangerous game to play – thousands of employers and employees are already on edge. This lack of consensus is causing understandable concern for many companies. Business expansions and hiring sprees are being put on hold as a result. EU languages are still in high demand throughout the UK and whichever road the referendum takes us down, this is sure to remain so.”

The Biggest Falls are in Manufacturing and Retail Vacancies Manufacturing sector stand at 14,022 – down 9% from 15,466 roles last month. Similarly, the Retail sector saw vacant positions fall 13% to 32,143, from 36,881 in December. The Travel sector has been particularly hit hard.

 

Monthly Falls by Sector

If you have second language skills though it looks more promising as France, German. Spanish or Italian are taking more jobseekers onto the job market bucking the current trend. IT is the top sector hiring those with second languages.

Foreign Language By Sector

So Dave’s rhetoric is  more bullshit from the Tories, consistently saying one thing when the opposite is true. It seems it is a Tory trait to tell massive lies when the tables show month on month we have seen subsequent falls .Job competition has intensified in January, rising to 0.61 applicants per vacancy, up 13% since 0.54 in December.

Doug Munro states

In the interconnected world, learning a second language is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from other applicants and claim a higher salary. It’s hard work to learn a foreign tongue, but employers are willing to pay more for it – so it’s a skill worth pursuing. For industries such as IT, which is growing its international reach, and for healthcare, which is dealing with more diverse patients than ever, having another language may soon become a necessity.”

 

On the upside Salaries are rising  and the biggest rises are in Wales & Northern Ireland. Overall across the UK

Advertised salaries rose 0.8% month-on-month in January, increasing for the third consecutive month, reversing an eight month period of decreasing advertised pay.

Wales salaries rose by 1.4% while Northern Ireland rose by 2.2% In December 2015 although London still has a huge advantage compared to other regions.

See the Table Below.

 

Uk Regions Advertised Salaries

So where is the best places and worst places to find work the Map below shows

Best & worst locations for job

 

 

So a tiny bit of good news and lots of bad news if you are one of the many jobseekers being hounded or sanctioned because you haven’t found a job yet . Amongst the enormous void of mis-information the truth is out there they just try to bury it so they cannot be challenged. They have even been found to be placing non existant jobs on the Universal Jobmatch Site which should tell anyone they are fiddling the figures on job creation according to one blogger Kerry -Anne Mendoza(see link below)

We have to stop this Government being let off the hook when it comes to truth and transparency.

 

 

All Tables provided in this blog are Courtesy of Adzuna

https://www.adzuna.co.uk/blog/2016/03/01/adzuna-job-market-report-february-2016/

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/16/dwp-jobs-website-universal-jobsmatch

http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/08/06/1-million-jobless-left-out-of-uk-govt-unemployment-figures/

 

 

 

 

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WCA Debate and #Do No Harm- Do Not Compute to those Exacting it’s Punative Policies !


 

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Yesterday the WCA debate again took to Westminster where those MP’s who can see the harm caused, presented to Minister Pritti Patel and the Committee the damaging effects to disabled people’s lives and those living with chronic ill-health. It is like they all keep repeating the same mistakes regardless of the impact while defending the indefensible consequences.

Disabled People don’t object to being assessed in a fair and just manner while taking entitlements they paid into via National Insurance, what they object to is being demonised ,vilified by asking for assistance when things go horribly wrong in their lives. Many disabled people have worked and paid their dues along with most taxpayers,yet today’s taxpayer objects to them with some ferocity  believing the government rhetoric of ‘something for nothing’ culture that has been rammed down their throats that those on benefits are somehow less worthy than themselves. Little do they realise we can all fall foul in life and one day it could be them indeed who seek assistance only to be tarred with same brush  while indignantly standing on the parapet shouting but I worked all my life and I can’t get any help. We are all an accident away,or risk losing our Jobs, or becoming terminally ill, from being labelled a Scrounger. These same people who object now are ‘Tommorrow’s Scroungers’ while turning a blind eye to the distress and harm of those they promised to protect just as the German people did in 1930 Germany. In their defence, due to government controlled media blackouts some may not have known,but many did and stayed silent just as they are now in today’s Modern Britain where they look the other way even though their streets are littered with the homeless people,those who read the papers see the stories in the press about the harm of the WCA deaths, and say Awwww what a shame that’s not right, but do absolutely nothing to raise any objection on a personal level with their local MP unless it one of their own affected. The truth is society doesn’t care and neither do our politicians using the Austerity Lie as excuse to balance the books  which was caused by the richest global elite bankers and their servants in power. Square pegs cannot go in round holes you cannot magically make jobs appear or enforce profit driven employers to take on those who maybe disadvantaged in the workplace even allowing for a full range of adjustments. We have to face facts some people will never work!

The main parties are all complicit in this lie and enacting a cruel policy that is not fit for purpose,while punishing the most vulnerable(I hate this word) in society,non of them are guilt free it just the largest level of guilt falls squarely on the Tories who have made disabled peoples lives unbearable and in many cases lead to fatal consequences.

As a Society we all have some responsibility to do our fair share to contribute,but equally we all have responsibility to help those who cannot contribute due to disability or ill health.

One thing this government prides itself on is ramming down our throats the ‘Responsibility’ argument while taking none themselves for the complete failure of the continuous fuck ups and waste of  billions of taxpayers money, let alone the deaths caused by their flawed welfare to work policies. Work is only good for you if you can compete in the workplace,which is why this government has failed disabled people and the chronically ill,the unemployed and future generations to penal servitude under their ideology,and destroying the safety net of a welfare state. The statistics below are taken from the debate which I have provided the link to while it remains. I have provided further links to highlight the damning report mentioned in the debate.

Those of you in a fortunate position to be fit and healthy and working should be taking your anger to those who caused this mess while they squander your hard earned tax contributions to the coffers, not punish those whose lives are in blighted by disability or ill -health or out of work, as you find your pay packet doesn’t go as far as it used too and their stranglehold grip gets tighter and tighter on your family purse.

When we no longer have Healthcare or Welfare State as you know it, ask yourself a question as the jackboots march into your lives……did you act or did you turn a blind eye?

 

23 weeks waiting for WCA decisons
280,000 backlogs
costs risen to @ £200 per head
1in 10 substandard reports
54% overturned at appeal
590 suicides come to light with recent coroners reports
725,000 more anti depressant prescriptions given
Rise from 3.6 % (2003) to 4.3% (2013) in deaths
In Support group 6.3% more likely to die
In Wrag group 2.2% more likely to die

 

http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2015/10/26/jech-2015-206209.full.pdf+html

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/a9a958a2-3bba-4549-80fd-86da5ac75c1b

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