Archive for the ‘United Nations’ Category

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

Tory MP Dismisses Disabled Activist Live on TV


Watch The  Video Here…..

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Reblogged Article  Courtesy of  May Bulman -Independant Newspaper 29/5/2017

 

A Tory MP has dismissed a disabled woman on live television after she told him tens of thousands of disabled and sick people were dying every year due to cuts in health and social care.

Conservative MP Dominic Raab responded to an emotional address from Fiona, a disability activist from Aberdeen, in which she said she had known disabled people who and committed suicide, by saying it was “just a childish wish list” if there was not a “strong economy creating the revenue”.

During the open debate on the Victoria Derbyshire show, Fiona said disabled people were “fleeing” from England to Scotland where she said the devolved parliament was doing more to protect them.

“You’re all talking about numbers and money, and there is an ocean of suffering under that. Oxford University just released research showing that in 2015 in England and Wales alone there were 30,000 excess deaths caused by cuts to health and social care,” she said.

“Tens of thousands of disabled and sick people are dying every year. We are dying. There have been hundreds of suicides. I spent hours after the last general election trying to talk people out of killing themselves, and I didn’t always succeed.

“People are dying here and nobody cares. I have friends who have been helping resettle disabled people in Scotland because at the very least we have a Scottish parliament which is trying its best with limited funds to protect people against the worst of these cuts. People have been fleeing England for their lives.”

Fiona cited a study by Napier University that found the work capability assessment causes deterioration in people’s mental health and can lead to thoughts of suicide, adding: “It kills people. It is an act of violence and we are dying.

“This election is life or death for us. Anybody who votes for the Conservative Party, who are going to further these cuts, they are complicit in those deaths.”

In response to Fiona’s comments, Mr Raab said: “There are plenty of heart-rending stories here, and no one could be anything other than moved by it. We have put in 11,000 more doctors into the NHS, 12,000 more nurses. We have got a renewed focus on mental health and also making sure we’re trying to take the pressure off big hospitals in the manifesto.

“But the real truth is the money’s got to come from somewhere, and I can think of lots of things that I would like to avoid making difficult decisions on and lots of areas like the health service or schools that I want to put even more money in, but unless you’ve got a strong economy creating the revenue, it’s just a childish wish list.

“We’re trying to do our best to get the balance right between responsible public finances and investing in some of those crucial areas you discussed.”

Fiona responded by saying: “So you choose to sacrifice tens of thousands of disabled people, for the sake of that? This is the sixth richest country in the world. It is a choice that people make.

“In Scotland, we have a limited block grant, and they still manage to create a health service which functions, they still manage to create a care service which functions. And you are choosing to sacrifice us.”

It comes after Theresa May refused to rule out making further cuts to disability benefits in the next Parliament if the Conservatives are returned to government.

Asked by The Independent at a campaign event in Mansfield earlier this month whether she would rule out any further cuts to support, the Prime Minister responded: “If you look at what we’ve been doing on disability benefits, what we have done is look at focusing disability benefit payments on those who are most in need.

“In fact, we are spending more on disability benefit payments than has been done by any government in the past.”

 

STATE CRIME BY PROXY: corporate influence on state sanctioned social harm


An independent report by Mo Stewart

 

Abstract

In the UK there are three words that identify the government enforced suffering of sick and disabled people, and they are: Work Capability Assessment (WCA). This report identifies the influence of an American healthcare insurance giant with successive UK governments since 1992, the influence of a former government Chief Medical Officer and the use of the WCA, conducted by the private sector, as the government permit state crime by proxy when justified as welfare reform.

 

Introduction

Historically, the United Kingdom’s (UK) welfare state provided a guaranteed financial safety net for those in greatest need, from the Beveridge Report (Beveridge 1942) until recently. However, with people living longer and the cost of the welfare budget rising, in 2006 the New Labour government identified future welfare reforms (DWP 2006) to reduce the growing costs of out-of-work disability benefits. Identified as ‘a political choice and not a financial necessity’ when introduced ‘without any ethical approval’ (McKee 2014), the adoption of additional austerity measures by the Conservative led Coalition government in 2010, which accelerated the welfare reforms, soon created a climate of fear for chronically sick and disabled claimants dependent upon welfare income for financial survival. Subsequently, government imposed benefit sanctions, used to enforce the welfare reforms, would eventually cause death by starvation in C21st UK (Gentleman 2014). The future demolition of the welfare state was first suggested in 1982 by the Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Travis 2012). Using neoliberal politics, every UK government since that time has covertly worked towards that goal. It is the political thinking used as justification for the welfare reforms of the New Labour government, which introduced the use of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for all out-of-work disability benefit claimants (Stewart 2015), and for the extensive welfare reforms and austerity measures introduced by the Coalition government since 2010, and the Conservative government since 2015.

In 2008 the out-of-work disability benefit was changed from Incapacity Benefit to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), in an attempt by the then New Labour government to limit claimant numbers. Outsourced to the private sector, all claimants of the new ESA would be subjected to the WCA ‘fitness for work’ assessment, as exclusively conducted by Atos Healthcare, with the WCA using the critically flawed (Shakespeare et al 2016) biopsychosocial (BPS) assessment model (Waddell and Aylward 2005), adopted to limit the numbers of successful ESA claimants, as the diagnosis and prognosis of the claimants would be totally disregarded, as first advised by Aylward in 1995 (Aylward and LoCascio 1995: 755).

Using the BPS model, the WCA was identified as causing preventable harm to chronically sick and disabled claimants who were not fit to work (Stewart 2011, Jolly 2012, Hale 2014), together with the inevitable harm created by the adoption of additional austerity measures (Pring 2015; Barr et al 2015; Stewart 2016a; Garthwaite 2016; Shakespeare et al 2016; Elward 2016), with all additional research evidence disregarded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who exclusively cite DWP commissioned research in official reports.

Background

Following in Thatcher’s footsteps, in 1992 the John Major Conservative government invited the American corporate giant UnumProvident Insurance to consult, with reference to future welfare claims management. By 1994, the company were appointed as official government advisers and the 1994 Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Act introduced Incapacity Benefit, as designed to limit access to out-ofwork disability benefit (Wikeley 1995), which had significantly increased due to increasing numbers of claims for psychological causes of illness.

By 1995, the Department for Social Security’s (DSS) then Principal Medical Adviser, Mansel Aylward, co-authored an academic paper with UnumProvident government adviser John LoCascio, the second Vice-President of UnumProvident Insurance. ‘Problems in the assessment of psychosomatic conditions in social security and related commercial schemes’ (Aylward and LoCascio 1995) was supported by evidence from America, and argued that the UK’s General Practitioners (GP) should not be expected to determine a patient’s incapacity, and so the authority and clinical opinion of GPs would be curtailed (Aylward and LoCascio 1995: 755)

Prior to joining the Civil Service, Aylward was a GP and also worked in the private sector as Chairman and Managing Director of Simbec Research, from 1974 – 1984, which was a company founded by Aylward (Wales online 2004). Shortly after being appointed as the Principal Medical Adviser for the DSS, Aylward was identified in the national press as having been involved with the creation of a private company identified as Mediprobe, when trading as the Nationwide Medical Examination and Advisory Service Limited, and used by healthcare insurance companies to medically assess insurance claims (Rowe,1998). The company was incorporated in 1994 and dissolved on 20th January, 2015. This clear conflict of interest was disregarded by the DSS, yet Aylward’s significant links with the private healthcare insurance industry questions his objectivity when writing a future government commissioned report regarding the assessment of welfare claimants for disability benefit (Waddell and Aylward, 2005).

The 1995 paper (Aylward and LoCascio 1995) expressed concern as to the increases in ‘subjective impairments’, with conditions such as chronic pain and fatigue syndrome listed as the significance of diagnosis was rejected as having ‘a high degree of subjectivity’. This had implications for the welfare budget, and it was suggested that claimants of Incapacity Benefit should have a psychiatric evaluation (Aylward and Lo Cascio 1995:760).

The introduction of the biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment had been successfully adopted by UnumProvident Insurance in America, to limit payment for healthcare income protection insurance claims (Rutherford 2007, Bach 2012, Stewart 2015), and LoCascio was guiding the DSS as to how to introduce the BPS model into the UK. Quite literally, by disregarding diagnosis, the main emphasis of the BPS assessment would be an excessive concentration on psychological factors. The DSS doctors were trained by LoCascio, and DSS non-medical Adjudicating Officers would make benefit decisions based on activity ‘descriptors’, not medical evidence, as the claimant’s doctors’ opinions were marginalised (Sivier 2013).

The former Department for Health and Social Security was split into the Department for Health and the Department for Social Security (DSS) in 1988 and the DSS was then renamed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in June 2001. By November 2001 a conference was assembled at Woodstock, near Oxford, with the conference listed as ‘Malingering and Illness Deception’ (Conference 2001). Many of the conference participants had an association with UnumProvident Insurance, as represented by John LoCascio, and the goal of the Oxford conference was the future demolition of the British welfare state (Stewart 2015). There was a total of 39 participants, including the DWP Chief Medical Officer Mansel Aylward, and Malcolm Wicks, in his capacity as the then DWP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the New Labour government. To reduce the numbers eligible for benefit, illness would be redefined and many welfare claimants would be declared fit for work, and incentivised into jobs as entrepreneurs if no paid employment was available (Conference 2001: 290).

New Labour was committed to reducing the 2.7 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit and, to do that, a new assessment model would be used. From 1979 to 2005 the numbers of working age claimants of Incapacity Benefit had increased from 0.7m to 2.7m. A total of 21% were recorded as having a mental health problem in 1995 but, by 2005, a total of 39% of claimants had a mental health problem, which was just under 1 million people (Rutherford 2007: 40). Since that time, politicians of all persuasions have prioritised the reduction of Incapacity Benefit claimant numbers by 1 million people. New Labour decided to alter this situation, which had implications for the welfare budget and so ‘…claimants will become customers exercising their free rational choice, government services will be outsourced to the private sector, and the welfare system will become a new source of revenue, profitability and economic growth’ (Rutherford 2007: 41).

More DWP commissioned research was to follow to justify future government plans. Dr Mansel Aylward was the DWP Chief Medical Officer until 2005 and accepted his future appointment, as the Director of the new UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research (the Centre) at Cardiff University in 2004, with no-one other than Professor Malcolm Hooper objecting to this very obvious conflict of interest (Stewart 2015).

 

The Waddell-Aylward biopsychosocial model

Commissioned by the DWP, the Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits (S/C Basis) was rapidly produced in 2005 by Gordon Waddell and Mansel Aylward (Waddell and Aylward 2005), when both authors were sponsored at the Centre with £1.6 million by UnumProvident Insurance (Cover 2004), who fully expected to gain from the UK welfare reforms, and the planned future reduction of the numbers eligible for State funded welfare support for sickness and disability (Stewart 2015).

The S/C Basis DWP commissioned report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) was used as evidence for much of the 2006 Green Paper (Green Paper 2006): A New Deal for Welfare: empowering people to work 2006, which criticised the ‘perverse incentive’ of giving people more money the longer they stayed on benefit (Green Paper 2:13). The Green Paper also claimed that up to one million people could return to work, with further political claims that a million DWP claimants had expressed the wish to do so, which was dismissed as being without foundation in the S/C Basis footnote 16 (Ravetz 2006).

The S/C Basis report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) identified Incapacity Benefit which it claimed ‘traps’ people on benefits and, effectively, condemned claimants to a lifetime of dependency. The report acknowledged that: ‘Contrary to some sensational headlines, IB is not out of control… There is no “crisis”…’ (S/C Basis, 4: 75) The emphasis of the DWP commissioned S/C Basis report by Waddell and Aylward (2005) was that the model used to assess Incapacity Benefit claimants was incorrect and, instead of using the medical model, which the report claimed focused on a claimant’s incapacity rather than their ability, the Waddell and Aylward recommended model to be used was the biopsychosocial (BPS) model.

Of course, the medical model of assessment also acknowledged medical opinion, so it was time to change to using the BPS model of assessment, which disregards medical opinion in order to limit the possible number of future claimants. This was a replica of the BPS assessment model successfully introduced by UnumProvident Insurance in America to limit access to healthcare insurance claims and to guarantee future profits (Stewart 2015, Bach 2012, Rutherford 2007).

Waddell and Aylward’s 2005 report (S/C Basis), which would be used by the New Labour government to justify the introduction of the welfare reforms, was subsequently exposed by Emeritus Professor Alison Ravetz, who identified the DWP commissioned report as being ‘largely self-referential’ (Ravetz 2006). The Waddell and Aylward designed BPS model would eventually be discredited by academic excellence, which exposed the Waddell and Aylward BPS model as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind this model ‘and demonstrated ‘a cavalier approach to scientific evidence’ (Shakespeare et al 2016), when referencing ‘Models of Sickness and Disability applied to Common Health Problems’ (Waddell and Aylward 2010).

The former city banker, David Freud, was commissioned by the New Labour government in December 2006 to offer recommendations to reduce the welfare budget. Commonly known as ‘the Freud Report’, ‘Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity’ (Freud 2007) was rapidly produced in six weeks, with claims of a potential massive reduction in Incapacity Benefit claimants. By May 2007 Professor Danny Dorling, when writing as the Guest Editor for the Journal of Public Mental Health, exposed the identified flaws in the Freud Report. It seems that Freud had ‘got his numbers wrong’ and had misinterpreted his own references, so there never was going to be the predicted massive fall in claimant numbers (Dorling 2007).

The protocol and limitations of being published in an academic journal meant that Dorling’s substantial evidence, which had exposed significant flaws in the Freud Report, would not become public knowledge and the DWP based their future welfare reforms on more totally discredited DWP commissioned research. Enobled, never elected and appointed as the DWP Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform in 2009, in 2010 Freud was appointed as the DWP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Coalition government and was reappointed as the DWP Minister of State for Welfare Reform in May 2015 for the Conservative government. A DWP press release in December 2016 announced Freud’s retirement from his ministerial position (DWP 2016a) and claimed that Freud had been ‘…the architect of welfare reform, which has revolutionised the way benefit claimants interact with the state’.

The influence of UnumProvident Insurance with the UK welfare reforms was demonstrated in the supplementary memorandums provided for Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC) reports, which clearly listed the transformation of Incapacity Benefit to the new ESA out-of-work disability benefit. The requirement to ‘resist diagnosis’, ‘revise the ‘sick note’, ‘encourage the Government to focus on ability and not disability’, ‘change the name of Incapacity Benefit’ and ‘benefits not to be given on the basis of a certain disability or illness but on capacity assessments’ have all come to pass, as UnumProvident Insurance have influenced UK government welfare policy since 1994 (Stewart 2015). Yet, the fact that UnumProvident Insurance was identified, in 2008, by the American Association of Justice (AAJ, 2008) as the second worst insurance company in America was totally disregarded by the DWP.

Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair in 2007 as the New Labour leader and Prime Minister and, in 2008, introduced the WCA for the future reassessment of all Incapacity Benefit claimants, and the assessment for all new claimants of its replacement, the ESA. The lucrative WCA contract was outsourced to Atos Origin IT Ltd, identified as an international IT corporate giant with no healthcare experience. To conduct the WCA, a branch of the company identified as Atos Healthcare was formed, and the Lima software used for the WCA computer questionnaire was designed by Atos.

Adopted by the Brown government in 2008, following the introduction of New Labour’s 2006 Welfare Reform Bill, the recommendations from the 2001 Malingering and Illness Conference (Conference 2001), the S/C Basis DWP commissioned report (Waddell and Aylward 2005) and the Freud Report (Freud 2007) would greatly reduce the authority and the clinical opinion of GPs, and offer the assessment of claimants who are too sick or profoundly disabled to work to the private sector whose doctors, according to the General Medical Council, ‘have total immunity from all medical regulation’ (Stewart 2015). Based on the BPS model, the removal of the significance of GP opinion opened the door to the introduction of the WCA ‘non-medical’ assessment. This meant that very many genuine ESA claimants were to be refused financial support, and the ‘nonmedical’ BPS assessment of chronically ill people would be conducted by the unaccountable private sector, as recommended by Waddell, Aylward and LoCascio and by former City banker David Freud, when adviser to the New Labour government (Freud 2007). Atos Origin IT Services UK Limited is a French corporate IT and software company, who were contracted by the New Labour government in 2008 to conduct the WCA, at a then cost to the public purse of £500 million per annum (Rutherford 2007).

From 2010 Atos Healthcare used the computer based WCA questionnaire to begin to reassess all long-standing Incapacity Benefit claimants being migrated to the ESA. This meant that very many genuine claimants were refused financial support and instructed to apply for the unemployment benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, with severe sanctions and the total loss of income, often for weeks, when too ill to attend an appointment with the Jobcentre (Stewart 2016a). ‘It is discussed how the state and business act in collusion, as both generally share the same neoliberal conviction on how society should function. This partnership is no more evident than within welfare, where the state have established proxy measures to outsource harm production to distance themselves from potential ramifications’ (Elward 2016). In March 2015, Atos Healthcare were replaced by Maximus to conduct the WCA.

The American healthcare insurance system of disability denial was used for the design of the WCA (Stewart 2013), and the involvement of Atos Healthcare was used to distance the government from the preventable harm created by the use of the WCA. Identified state crime by proxy was knowingly created by the DWP, as the private sector was introduced on a wide scale in many areas of welfare and social policy (Elward 2016). As of February 2014, 92,000 people have died following a WCA, including 2,380 people who died after being found ‘fit for work’ (Butler 2015), as the DWP have again refused to publish the updated ESA mortality totals (DWP 2016b).

Zemiology is the study of social harm. Eight years after the introduction of the WCA, when using the totally discredited Waddell and Aylward (2005, 2010) BPS model of assessment (Shakespeare et al 2016), the preventable social harm created by the introduction of the WCA has been identified by independent research (Stewart 2015, Barr et al 2015, Baumberg et al 2015, Shakespeare et al 2016, Garthwaite 2016, Stewart 2016b), which continues to be disregarded by DWP Ministers. Instead, Ministers prefer to reference DWP commissioned policy based reports, or publications from a right-wing think-tank, whose research exclusively references DWP commissioned policy based research and demonstrates that the claimed ‘independent’ research is ideologically motivated (Robertson, 2012).

It remains cause for concern that, in keeping with Conservative Party ideology, certain corporate funded academic think-tank research demonstrates the ongoing influence of neoliberal politics in published reports when claiming: ‘…almost three quarters of claimants who have had their assessment are in the support group and subject to no conditionality, with very little support to return to work.’ (Pickles et al 2016: 6). This one statement demonstrates the danger of right-wing think-tanks whose research demonstrates that costs, not need, are the priority of the welfare reforms when presuming that people in the Support Group, allocated because they are considered by the DWP to be too ill to work, yet ‘independent researchers’ continue to suggest that there is a problem because these often very, very ill people haven’t yet made any effort to find work. One more example of the danger of commissioned academics considering cash not care, when totally disregarding diagnosis and prognosis in any welfare setting (Stewart 2016b).

These influential reports either commissioned by the DWP (Waddell and Aylward 2005, Aylward and LoCascio 1995), or provided by right-wing think-tanks (Pickles et al 2016) when funded by the private sector (Robertson 2012), continue to demonstrate the ideological resistance to the fact that many chronic illnesses are permanent. Recovery is not possible for many very ill people, and totally disregarding diagnosis and prognosis is dangerous as is the constant psychological pressure that welfare benefit for a permanent diagnosis is no longer guaranteed (Stewart 2015), and those in greatest need are intimidated by the DWP who have ‘…guaranteed human suffering of the least able on a vast scale.’ (Stewart 2017)
What was once the psychological security of the welfare state has been totally destroyed by neoliberal politics, when enthusiastically supported by the national press (Stewart 2017). The market is the dominant force, costs are the only priority, and all evidence of care, concern and compassion has been successfully removed when using academic research that lacks credibility and totally fails scrutiny (Shakespeare et al 2016, Stewart 2016b).

Conclusion

By disregarding diagnosis, prognosis and the claimant’s past medical history, when using the Waddell and Aylward (2005) BPS model for the WCA, the constant suggestion by DWP Ministers is that claimants of out-of-work disability benefit are ‘inactive’, so disregarding the vast numbers of chronically ill and disabled people who do work in the voluntary sector whenever well enough. By definition, anyone allocated to the Support Group following a WCA are too ill to work in paid employment. But, the constant political rhetoric insists that not enough people leave the Support Group to find work (Pickles et al 2016). There seems to be no comprehension that working in paid employment is inflexible, whereas working in the voluntary sector means that chronically ill volunteers can work when having a ‘good day’, and rest when too ill to contemplate leaving the house. This is very obvious to anyone whose healthcare trained, and whose priority is the welfare and wellbeing of the chronically ill claimant and not simply the desire to reduce the costs of the welfare budget, regardless of human consequences (Stewart 2016a).

There is a strong ideological resistance within the DWP as to the reality of the lives of chronically sick and disabled people. The DWP disregard the fact that many ESA claimants are profoundly ill, and will never recover regardless of intimidation and coercion. Relentless DWP threats of benefit sanctions, using a discredited assessment model (Shakespeare et al 2016) that totally disregards failing health and can oblige claimants to seek Jobseekers Allowance when deemed ‘fit to work’ regardless of diagnosis, prognosis or consultant medical opinion (Stewart 2016b) was always guaranteed to cause preventable harm on a vast scale. When advised by Waddell and Aylward (2005), illness is dismissed by the DWP, as is diagnosis and prognosis, and this problem remains relentless and a constant threat to the wellbeing and the survival of chronically ill claimants.

Due to policies demonstrated to have created state crime by proxy when using the private sector to distance the government from the predictable inevitable harm created by the introduction of extreme right-wing policies (Elward 2016, Stewart 2016b), those who were meant to benefit from a welfare state as originally designed to protect them, now live in fear of the DWP, which is causing them guaranteed preventable harm and unnecessary loss of life (Scott-Samuel et al 2014, Gentleman 2014, Pring 2015, Butler 2015, Elward 2016, Stewart 2017).

 

Acknowledgements

Grateful thanks to Lewis Elward for access to his Masters dissertation and his kind permission to quote from it.

Funding

This research received no grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

 

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Mo Stewart February 2017

© 2017 Mo Stewart

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?


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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

The Criminalisation of the Working Class -Yes it’s Class War


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Observations I have made as have many other campaigners is the constant  oppression of the working class by those in power and those in the  chattering middle classes who believe this government is right to clamp down on the poorest in society and particularly those who cannot work due to disability, those who happen to be made redundant or become unemployed who happen to need support from the welfare state. Many claim Social Security Payments of one description or another that includes the so-called ‘Hardworking’ Poor on Zero Hour Contracts or Low Pay.

Most families in this country claim Child Benefit, some claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax help or Pension Credit top up for pensioners who don’t have enough to live on, yet feel this does not apply to them as they have paid their dues, well guess what -so have many claimants during their working lives! So come and get your scrounger badge here, we welcome everyone.

Claimants have become the scapegoat of society for the failings of successive governments to control the banking sector and the countries finances. They have become demonised, victimised and now criminalised for being poor and working class.  The few  have got greedier and greedier filling their pockets with profits over people with their gold spoils off the working man

The young have become victims of brutal cuts which they had no part in.We have many who are homeless living on the streets of Britain, forced to leave home in some cases rather than stay where they are to suffer abuses that most of us cant imagine, while denied any assistance to live independently with cuts to Housing Benefit, in a home of their own, forced into prostitution in some cases as means to survive, those who are able to claim some assistance are forced into apprenticeships, workfare or sanctions if not in higher education or university. Some people are homeless due to evictions  brought about by the Bedroom Tax or loss of Social Security payments many are young people but not all are. The Government has now given local authorities the all clear  for them to be prosecuted and removed from our streets as they try and brush them from sight so the public don’t hold this government to account, or are portrayed as economic migrants and beggars who are to be refused help, because they are too lazy to get off their backsides and work and pay taxes like rest of us or come from other countries seen as less worthy than our own indigenous people. Yet Corporate Multi-nationals are given tax breaks or avoid paying their fair share of taxes ,bankers are given bonuses for getting the country into the global crash of 2008 and the Conservatives do zilch about chasing these fraudsters which would wipe the national debt overnight if they did so, because they threaten to take their business  elsewhere to avoid any responsibility for their actions and successive governments capitulate as banks hold us to ransom, unlike in Iceland they throw them all in jail and are doing very well thank you.

Many have seen the Immigration card being played out which is another group who are to be blamed for societies ill’s, they’re coming here to take our jobs, they claim benefits they haven’t paid into the system for, they get free homes which is incorrect and misleading, yet in recent times the refugee crisis in Greece and across the world saw the public rush to help those caught up in wars they did not create, by sending supplies and begging their relevant governments to open the borders to let these people find some peace from the constant bombing of their country, while we the UK supplied some of the bombs and guns that they now need rescuing from because they have fallen, in some cases, into militant hands to oppress it’s people. We have seen a rise in race hate crime against anyone deemed muslim or a possible extremist.

Those with disabilities have borne the brunt of brutal welfare reforms which as seen swathing cuts to vital care packages and support and to those who care for them, those with mental health have been especially targeted by this government and many deaths have resulted in this particular group but not exclusively, and many disabled people have suffered massive increases in attacks not just on welfare but on the  themselves by those  who believe they are scroungers and not worthy of assistance. They have become targets of the false fraud tag, as criminals of taking unfairly taxpayers money, fiddling the system of billions of pounds when the truth is more is wasted by this government in error and by the DWP mistakes than in ‘actual’ Claimant Fraud 0.3% (0.9% overall if you include error) which is thrown together to mislead the public.  Various Government projects which are deemed a failure and take much more taxpayers money from the public purse than any claimant ever possibly could in a lifetime. They are brutalised by sanctions or the appalling WCA Assessment because their disabilities set them up to fail as the right provision they actually need to stay in work or start work is severely lacking both from employers and government alike. Many disabled people do work or would work if their needs were to be  properly considered, yet consistently fail to enforce reasonable adjustments on employers under the Equality Act 2010 as we are less productive than our able bodied counterparts. We also have to accept that many disabled people cannot work due to the nature of their disability and the impacts that has on their daily living.

We now have Iain Duncan Smith denying any causal links to his welfare reforms to harming disabled people but there are cases out there if you look like Michael O’Sullivan, Stephanie Botterell, Mark Woods ,David Clapson but there are thousands more who have lost their lives , yet still disabled people are persecuted not only by government but by those who really believe this governments rhetoric. Many are denied legal aid due to this government stripping away the right to justice making it impossible for most of society, whose only crime is to be poor.

To add insult to injury were are now seeing the criminalisation of the working poor who are the main clients in food banks even though many claimants whom are sanctioned or have benefit delays also use food banks, initially set up to mop up this governments mess of austerity as now being integral part of the welfare state he plans to put Welfare Advisors in them to mitigate his mess, alongside installing food banks in NHS hospitals and linking information gathered by these advisors to punish them further, this ruse is to tie in with his lifestyle choices cost the Government and NHS & Taxpayer to blame them further for being poor, so if you drink ,smoke obese or take illegal substances then your claims are at risk of being sanctioned if you don’t comply to forced treatment for your addictions, which not only is against your human rights. Not to worry though because your government is about to strip your Human Rights from you as well by pulling out of EU so they can carry on abusing you.

Workers and Unions are fighting for their lives tomorrow to stop the Trade Union Bill which is about stripping workers rights and the rights to withdraw your labour to hold your employer to account for injustices they deal upon you.

THIS IS CLASS WAR make no mistake about it, the criminalisation of the poor and working classes of this country have not been under such threat since 1930 Germany, only this time it isn’t just the jewish people at risk it is ‘all working class people at risk’ including those who do not fit into a capitalist society and are deemed unworthy by the elite ,while we will go down in history if we do not stand up and fight back, as collateral damage to benefit the deserving ruling classes. It is divide and rule tactics to divide us into two camps ,deserving and non deserving, which like the hunger games pit various factions within those two groups in a fight to the death of survival of the fittest.

You may think Im crazy  but history repeats itself more often than people think, and now is time to say enough is enough as it will be too late in a few years time and many more lives will be lost and when we have all gone, the chattering middle classes will take our place at the bottom as they cant climb to the top because the elite wont allow it.

We the people at the bottom are being criminalised for the mistakes at the top and denied justice ‘for all’ not the few, by those who inflict harm on those who dare stand up and say stop not in my name . It is time to hold them to account, the next person could be you if you happen to fall on hard times.

 

 

I Can See Straight Through Your Sick Games IDS


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We all know the suffering enacted by this twisted excuse of a man to those who claim benefits, but the only person benefitting from this is him and his cronies and Tory voters who think it is acceptable to batter into submission those at bottom of the ladder because of some ideological superior thinking of that they are more deserving than the rest of us at the bottom. The top feeders are bleeding this country of its wealth of resources in the name of a Lie…That lie is Austerity and Deficit. Recently we have had UN come over to investigate the violations of disabled people’s rights and in 2013 the un visited regarding the housing crisis and the bedroom tax and now they are investigating him again on similar matters to the first. We cannot continue to let this happen if we love our people and our country? In recent weeks the rhetoric has become so dangerous to those claiming social security benefits it become more than life threatening as the deaths caused by the welfare reforms are growing week by week and will continue to do so until this lunatic and this government are stopped. it has become a case of deserving against undeserving, the worker against claimant, the able bodied against the disabled/jobseekers in the eyes of the public, with media blackouts to truth both within press and on television. Every part of society is blind to this mans evil games while they scrabble around for crumbs off the table while they all blame each other these bastards are selling the family silver off right under your noses, while they use oppressive legislation to silence those who stand up to be counted or change the law to suit, and human rights abuses are sprawled all over place with the idea to rid us of them by removing our country from the EU to remove the Human Rights of its citizens.

Its is time to expose this government and IDS in particular  in any way we can before it really is too late and we are a few steps away from that happening, when will you all wake the fuck up!

IDS now denies all issues with welfare reforms causing deaths, homelessness, child poverty and so much more and he is such a slippery character he hoodwinks the nation by appealing to the brainwashed to support these lies. Mental health claimants have come under considerable fire due to stress and anxiety caused by the constant reassessment, target driven sanctions, the bedroom tax ,and workfare alongside their counterparts in the Work Related Activity Group who are deemed to be working towards the return to work once they have been through this dreadful process, those In the support group haven’t had easy ride either and they now have to deal with DLA to PIP transition where each benefit is used to deny any of the support they promised to protect. This government is now going to roll out another IAPT /CBT Programme to get those in WRAG to return to work telling them they are fit even if their GP or consultants say they are not, even cancer patients are being targeted by this vicious lot as if they don’t have enough to deal with, complicitly helped by GP’s who are being brow beaten under another of his schemes of ‘in work fit note regime’ if they are off ill, besides chop the amount people get by £30 a week in line with JSA. If you are not shocked now you should be, but the outcry this last week in the Lords over tax credits because it starts to affect workers was deafening, while the silence for those at bottom the last 6yrs has also been shamefully deafening  because it doesn’t affect them -YET!

Food banks have risen under this government by an alarming rate with many on low wages or on minimum wage frequenting them often as more and more hit that line where they can no longer sustain their families basic living. He now has come up with another hair brained scheme of duplicity not only to attack those with Mental Health into IAPT/CBT programmes but now wants to place welfare advisors into food banks under the guise of help ,which while in ideal world wouldn’t be bad thing, in this case it most certainly is as this will cause mistrust of food banks therefore driving down the need for food to back up his ludicrous claims people are going for a free lunch, while collecting lifestyle data and then deny them benefits until they comply with his next scheme of lifestyle changes to those with addictions or obesity issues. The evil of this scheming swine know no bounds at all, but I am on his tail and I can see right through him like a pane of glass, and I will scrutinise every mortal thing he does or says to unravel his deceit to this nation and expose his lies for what they are! He punishes the young for something they were not to blame for, he punishes the disabled for being so, he punishes the job seeker without creating many jobs, he blames immigrants for being in country, and blames workers living on poverty wages for being poor, while his government and cronies get richer off the backs of all taxpayers and rewards the guilty bankers with bonuses and tax deductions for businesses, and finally blames labour for the global economic crash. This blithering idiot spent 8.5 billion pounds on a CGI animated  fluffy cuddly monster called ‘Workie’ to tell people about pensions before he snatches their pensions away. The recent announcement that advisers in foodbanks will only feed into his data mining of peoples lives and lifestyle to deny them any support, people will not attend food banks due to fact advisors linked to DWP in situ, this in turn  will reduce food bank use to help him prove a point that people are onto free lunch and not getting jobs while the taxpayer picks up bill. It a case of told you so, that is what this is about sleight on hand.

We need to call time on this government and those who support this lie to account before it is too late. Bevan created the welfare state to support you in times of hardship creating a safety net for all and a NHS to make sure the nation’s health was bettered, yet in it function of 70 yrs long this government has dismantled it  in less than 6 yrs in the name of capitalist greed for the few while the many die like flies, and our elderly are left to rot in a cash starved NHS or Care Home or denied treatment because they live too long.in a country which has always seemed just, this is now a fight to survive, and survival of the fittest will be victors.

If you the people allow this to continue then you have blood on your hands as well as this government. It is time to act and stand and support each other and put your differences aside and stand shoulder to shoulder to fight for what little is left before it is too late!

http://dpac.uk.net/2015/10/why-are-the-un-investigating-the-uk-government-for-potential-breaches-of-disabled-peoples-human-rights/

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b992-Foodbank-Stunt-Smells-Rotten#.VjGGpitlsZl

http://www.welfareweekly.com/job-advice-to-be-offered-at-food-banks-iain-duncan-smith-tells-mps/

http://www.welfareweekly.com/tax-credit-cuts-delayed-as-house-of-lords-defies-tory-threats/

http://www.welfareweekly.com/benefit-cuts-could-leave-cancer-patients-without-a-financial-lifeline-charity-warns/

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/more-than-100-a-week-losing-their-motability-vehicles-thanks-to-pip/

http://www.personneltoday.com/hr/government-tells-employers-they-can-overrule-gp-fit-notes/

http://www.welfareweekly.com/cameron-dismisses-un-inquiry-into-grave-and-systematic-human-rights-violations/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/un-investigate-duncan-smiths-benefit-6725563

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16667&LangID=E

http://www.thenational.scot/politics/robertsons-tenacity-praised.9340

http://www.thenational.scot/politics/disabled-should-work-their-way-out-of-poverty-says-iain-duncan-smith.8468

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/28/welfare-cuts-are-now-becoming-a-matter-of-life-or-death

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/28/nhs-hospital-tameside-food-parcels-patients-risk-malnutrition

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefits-sanctions-are-working-the-way-they-are-supposed-to-iain-duncan-smith-says-a6712041.html

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/medical/malnutrition-and-other-victorian-diseases-soaring-in-england-due-to-food-poverty-and-cuts/ar-BBmvrto?li=AAaeUIW&ocid=mailsignoutmd

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hidden-motives/201510/the-myth-welfare-dependency

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/13902019.No_link_between_sanctions_and_suicide_says_Iain_Duncan_Smith/

UN Procedures under the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD)


Legacy

 

As widely reported in the press an online campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts have reported to the UN to raise the grave violations against disabled people in the UK. Many do not understand the procedures surrounding this as it is very complex. The rest of this Blog is written (name supplied) by a guest person who can explain it to those of us who don’t understand it,  so we understand how important  and ground breaking this really is.

How the complaints mechanism to the CRPD applies.

The CRPD Is an international treaty, an international legal instrument known as a ‘convention’, to which the UK Government is a signatory State and ratified in 2009; therefore ratification means that the UK Government has agreed with the United Nations (UN) to be bound by the terms of this instrument. In addition to ratification of the main instrument the UK Government has also signed the Optional Protocol to the CRPD, (OP) acknowledging that as a State Party to the OP ‘recognises the competence of the Committee on the CRPD to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by that State Party of the provisions of the Convention’.

 

The Committee for the CRPD is a ‘treaty body’ invested with power to monitor the implementation of the CRPD, within signatory member States. This treaty body constitutes a body of independent experts.  As with other UN treaty bodies equipped with complaints mechanisms, the CRPD Committee is not a court with judicial powers; the Optional Protocol to the CRPD provides a quasi-judicial procedure; this means that decisions of the CRPD Committee are not legally enforceable such as domestic court judgments, or some other regional judicial mechanisms (as seen with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights).  If a violation is found, the Committee’s views are communicated to the State party involved, which constitute recommendations which need to be implemented.  Technically, such recommendations may not be legally binding, however, decisions of the CRPD Committee will be authoritative interpretations of the CRPD, therefore beyond the realm of application within the State party (in this instance the UK Government) involved in a complaint.  Decisions will be of great value in the exercise of implementing provisions on the ground in ALL States parties to the CRPD.

 

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the communications mechanism depends on political will of the State party (here the UK Government) to recognise the Committee’s competence, AND to abide by their decisions. Initially, the use of the communications procedures depends on sufficient awareness of the instrument and the capacity of individuals, organisations of persons with disabilities and Non-governmental Organisations to identify victims, recognise violations and lodge complaints to the Committee in accordance with provisions of the OP.  The Committee for the CRPD is already facing great constraints due to few resources and limited time for meetings allocated to them.

 

Awareness of the OP to the CRPD can be achieved via publication of communications lodged to the CRPD Committee. The CRPD Committee treats all communications confidentially: it is the prerogative of the individual or group of persons or victims of violations, to decide for themselves whether they wish to make their complaint public.  It may be their complaint has already been made public as a result of domestic court proceedings.  A simple press release when lodging the complaint can help raise awareness of this mechanism and lead others to its utilisation.  If this information is being disseminated by a disabled persons’ organisation or non-governmental organisation, or an author of the communication on behalf of the individual or group, it is imperative to obtain their express consent to publicise the case.  Additionally, it is possible for the victim(s) to protect their anonymity when making such communication public.

 

Procedure after registration of the complaint.

Once a complaint has been registered, the case will be transmitted to the UK Government, who will be given an opportunity to provide its observations on the admissibility and merits of the communication. The UK will be given a deadline of six months for its observations on admissibility and merits; two months for the observations on admissibility only.  Once the UK Government submits its observations, they are transmitted to the complaint(s) for comments.  Once the author’s comments are received, the case can be considered by the Committee.

 

The whole procedure is carried out in writing: there are no oral hearings. During examination of a communication, the Committee may obtain documentation from other organisations within the UN system or bodies which may be useful in consideration of the communications, provided the Committee can afford each party an opportunity to comment within fixed time limits.

 

Determination of admissibility and a decision on the merits of the complaint(s) is usually considered simultaneously and may be split at the request of UK Government (if the Government contests admissibility within two months of being communicated the case by the Committee). Any decisions on admissibility and/or the merits are determined within the Committee by a simple majority and transmitted to the author of the complaint and the State party simultaneously.

 

If the Committee finds that the UK Government has failed in its obligations to the individual or group of individuals, recommendations will be issued to the UK Government for provision of a remedy for the individual /group concerned and the Committee will request a follow up of information within six months. The Committee’s final decision on the merits of a case or of a decision of inadmissibility is posted on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

Interim measures.

At any point after receiving a communication, and before a determination on the merits is reached, the Committee may transmit an urgently requested consideration to the UK Government. This request is for interim measures to be made, to avoid irreparable damage to the victim(s) of the alleged violation.[1]  If the author of a complaint wishes to request the Committee to consider undertaking interim measures, the original complaint should have stated so at the outset, or if the need arises at a later period, an urgent request should be transmitted to the Committee.  The risk of irreparable harm must be imminent, real and personal.  The UK Government could contest the continued application of interim measures, and on the basis of their explanation or submitted information, interim measures can be withdrawn by the Committee

 

Follow up to the Committee’s decision.

The UK Government would then be invited to provide information on implementation of the Committee’s views within six months of their decision. At this point in proceedings the Committee shall designate a Special Rapporteur or working group for follow-up, to establish measures to be taken by the UK Government and determine whether effect has been given to the Committee’s views.  In the context of follow-up activities, the Special Rapporteur or working group may make contacts and take action appropriate to their mandate, for example with the approval of the Committee and the State party itself, they may make necessary visits to the UK. Follow up activities will be regularly reported to the Committee and to the UN General Assembly, in the Committee’s biennial report.

 I hope that this helps my readers understand the complex way UN works and  acknowledge those who have worked tirelessly to put disabled peoples concerns forward, in a bid to bring the UK and particularly IDS to justice.

 

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