By Blueannoyed and Paula Peters
So lets look at the next stage of where it all went badly wrong and joining up a few more dots.
Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes were introduced to the UK under the John Major Government in the 1990s, with the first project Skye Bridge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDDTu7kZUjA .Tony Blair’s New Labour Government significantly expanded PFI as a convenient way of funding public infrastructure “off balance sheet.” Despite frequently calling for an end to “Labours flawed PFI program” whilst in opposition, in 2011 Chancellor George Osborne re-branded and continued the PFI gravy train under the “PFI 2” banner. NHS Trusts owe £80bn in PFI loan repayments and “unitary charges,” the technical term describing the extortionate ongoing running costs of maintaining PFI hospitals via PFI – where private contractors are granted 30-year monopoly rights to deliver maintenance and services.
In recent years reform of the welfare system in Britain began with the introduction of the New Deal programme introduced by the Labour government in 1997. The aim of this programme was to increase employment through requiring that recipients make serious efforts to seek employment. The Labour Party also introduced a system of tax credits for low-income workers. The Welfare Reform Act 2007 provides for “an employment and support allowance, a contributory allowance, [and] an income-based allowance.”. The objectives of the Welfare Reform Act of 2007 were to increase the employment rate to 80% from 75%, to assist 300,000 single parents find employment, to increase the number of workers over 50 by 1 million, and to reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefits by 1 million.
In the 2009 Welfare Reform Bill This welfare reform proposed an increase of personal responsibility within the welfare system. The reform eliminated Income support, and allocated funds over to the Jobseeker’s allowance, to encourage employment. It also encouraged increased parental responsibility by amending child support laws, and requiring births be registered jointly by both parents. This is basically how we got to David Cameron In power with the help of the Lib Dems. Building on Thatchers Legacy they all equally promoted on the capitalist world stage.
Disability campaigners saw this coming this is how the main groups in 2010 like DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) Black Triangle Campaign in Scotland and Spartacus Campaign,Pats Petition,WOW Debate MHRN (Mental Health Resistance Network)and many others were created to fight against the forthcoming erosion of the welfare state and austerity measures in the pipeline that was to be foisted onto the most vulnerable in society in the hope there would be little opposition, well they got that wrong! Disabled people started to take to the streets warning of what the end game was yet they were often dismissed as scaremongering by the general public but that did not deter them. When people start to die you just cannot sit and do nothing and boy did they take to social media too, all working together behind the scenes collectively to raise awareness of what was happening to people under these new reforms . The campaigns that hit headlines were Spartacus twitter campaign ‘I Am Spartacus’, DPAC ‘s Independant Living Campaign (ILF) 2010 one thing for sure disabled people were not going to suffer in silence they were going to take this fight to the government and still are! DPAC disruptive direct actions are notorious and they took their concerns to the UN over deaths that were occurring as people slipped through the cracks, while others produced hard evidence of what was going wrong and how to fix it by lobbying ministers to their plight.
ATOS was the main contracted outsourced provider of new Biopsychosocial model assessment regime designed by the likes of Mansell Aylward , Gordon Wadell, (The biopsychosocial approach systematically considers biological, psychological, and social factors and their complex interactions in understanding health, illness, and health care delivery.) Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud,Frank Field et al grabbed this flawed research with gusto and turned it into something brutal and unrecognizable removing the safety net of the welfare state for those who need it. This government have created a hostile environment for anyone who needs state support with lies about claimants taking taxpayers money while they are working hard to pay taxes. The demonisation started by IDS et al all feeds through to the general public via the media that those needing support via his scrounger rhetoric, lazy ,feckless , money for nothing,hard working people are just a few of the soundbites used harking back the the victorian days of blaming the person rather than state failures to provide jobs in a failing economy since the 2008 global crash.
Iain Duncan Smith (Center for Social Justice) -Between 1997 and 2001, he was Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security and then Secretary of State for Defence. From 2001 to 2003, he was leader of the Conservative Party and then from 2003, having stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party, he set up the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). The CSJ was an organisation dedicated to focussing on the problems facing those in the lowest income groups in society. It published a series of reports, perhaps the most significantly, “Breakthrough Britain: Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown”, focusing on the five pathways to poverty and a Conservative way to implement social justice and improve the quality of the poorest in society. It is also worth noting that in 2013, the CSJ published the paper on modern day slavery, “It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery”, which subsequently led to Theresa May enacting legislation on this matter. In 2010, Iain Duncan Smith became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a position he held until he resigned in a dispute with the Chancellor over his determination to reduce his expenditure on disability benefits by over £1 billion. During his time as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, he undertook the most significant programme of welfare reform in modern times, transforming the benefit and pension systems, as well as employment services and support. Perhaps the most significant reforms were the introduction of Universal Credit, (bringing together the six unemployment and sickness benefits), the Work Programme, for the first time bringing together private and voluntary sectors to get unemployed people back into work, and the introduction of the Single Tier Pension simplifying the State Pension.
Many battles have been fought since then and the Labour Government started to listen and ministers started to support disabled people in their fight and Ministers from all parties started to have their surgerys full of cases where this regime change was causing preventable harm. Meanwhile the Tories continue to ignore it and dismiss it as ‘work as a health outcome’ and disabled people as scaremongering despite extensive evidence to the contrary.