Archive for the ‘welfare’ Category

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!

Psychological Wellbeing and Work-Mo Stewart


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Guest Blog by Mo Stewart

Dear Christian van Stolk

Re: Psychological Wellbeing and Work

Please excuse this unsolicited contact by an independent researcher in Cambridge.

I have read with interest the Psychological Wellbeing and Work report, as conducted by RAND Europe and funded by the Contestable Policy Fund and, FYI, please be advised that I am a former healthcare professional in my previous career.

I shall copy in the Secretary of State for Health, who now leads on mental health, and his Shadow together with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and his Shadow.

Now in my 8th year of independent research into the ongoing welfare reforms in the UK, as guided by neoliberal politics and strongly influenced by American social security policies which have had a detrimental impact on claimants, may I please draw your attention to the book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’, which has achieved critical acclaim since its publication in September 2016.

To that end, may I suggest you invite access to the research by contacting my publisher and inviting a review copy of the book.

 This recent book review may be helpful: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-researchers-book-exposes-corporate-demolition-of-welfare-state/

It is cause for continued concern that major DWP policies, often negatively impacting on the wellbeing of some very ill and vulnerable people, are invariably introduced using research commissioned by the DWP, whilst disregarding the vast catalogue of distinguished research evidence as provided by a variety of academic experts when not commissioned by the DWP and whose funding is not linked to political ideology.  Please see attached examples of academic excellence.

It is noted that your report refers to ‘work’, which exclusively identifies with paid employment and disregards the beneficial nature enjoyed by an army of volunteers in the UK, many of whom are chronically ill or profoundly disabled and for whom a return to paid employment is neither practical nor inducive to their wellbeing. As a volunteer, it is possible to benefit from a working environment with colleagues and a purpose when well enough and enjoying a ‘good day’.  There is no-one to make accusations when too ill to leave the house, with a diagnosed condition that will never improve regardless of DWP intimidation and threats.

In keeping with reported comments by David Freud, all DWP commissioned research seems to presume that anyone in receipt of out-of-work disability benefits should have access to the benefits for the short-term, with no acknowledgement at all that many, many health conditions are permanent, cannot improve  especially with endless intimidation and coercion by the DWP, and that there is no evidence whatsoever other than totally discredited DWP commissioned research of the claimed one million people on out-of-work disability benefit who should or could return to work.

It is also noted that a report identified as ‘Psychological Wellbeing and Work’ disregards the ongoing identified preventable harm created by the DWP, the relentless political manipulation of the public with claims for which there is no foundation, suggesting that 75% of claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are ‘inactive’,  ‘bogus’, ‘idle’, ‘skiving’, ‘workshy’ and ‘scrounging’.  This has created a situation where chronically ill people, who are not capable of paid employment, now live in fear of the DWP following relentless coercion and intimidation, aided by the national press, which led to a 213% increase in disability hate crimes in the UK during the Coalition government’s term in office, and genuine claimants now living in fear of applying for welfare funding to which they are entitled, to this nation’s everlasting shame.

There are now claimants who have starved to death in the UK, quite literally, as the unreserved and savage use of sanctions has been imposed by the DWP in an effort to force compliance of the unprecedented DWP welfare ‘reforms’ on those least able to protest.

The most vulnerable in society are paying a high price for the political ideology of neoliberalism, some with their lives.

Suicides and deaths are the tip of the iceberg of misery and suffering on an unimaginable scale experienced by those who

are physically or mentally unfit to work, as the government implements an increasingly punitive and authoritarian regime

against benefit claimants. Vulnerable people are left destitute by sanctions that suspend or end their benefits if they fail

to comply with orders to attend ‘assessments’, ‘training courses’, or submit the required number of job applications.

Psycho politics, neoliberal governmentality and austerity

Philip Thomas

Self & Society Journal

Volume 44, 2016 – Issue 4

Perhaps, when considering future interventions for mental health, Consultant Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are not politically motivated could be consulted as they actually have clinical experience of working with ‘common mental health’ problems, which should not imply that they are not serious problems, and they are less inclined to have the welfare budget as their top priority as opposed to the wellbeing of often very ill patients.

It seems unlikely that more coercion by Jobcentre Plus and the DWP, when masquerading as psychological support, is likely to benefit sufferers of mental ill health, who are not known to respond well to relentless intimidation with endless threats of sanctions and the possibility of starvation close to their lived experience.

The travesty of this ongoing government imposed human suffering, where chronically ill people in receipt of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus, was adopted due to the introduction of neoliberal politics, the outsourcing to private companies very lucrative DWP contracts and the failure to audit the contracts.  Chronically ill people have suffered and died due to political ideology that is unrelated to the health or the welfare of the claimants, and was motivated by the desire to reduce welfare costs regardless of human consequences. The fact that the DWP have refused to publish updated mortality totals of those who have died following the totally discredited Work Capability Assessment may alert you to the ongoing problems, as faced by those least able to defend themselves against this ideological assault.

See: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/green-party-calls-on-government-to-launch-benefit-deaths-inquiry/

I would alert you to the fact that a great deal of the identified increased mental health problems are due entirely to the DWP policies of recent years, where all chronically ill and disabled people in need of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus unless proven otherwise, the constant savage rhetoric in the national press, the increases in disability hate crimes and the fact that the British public have been successfully misdirected on route to the UK eventually adopting private healthcare insurance to replace the welfare state.

Your research will no doubt benefit administrators in the DWP and the DoH, but will not benefit anyone suffering from a common mental health problem as enforced ‘therapy’ may well now be added to their many burdens for the enormous crime of being too ill to work. The fact that what was once guaranteed and vital financial support has been removed actually guaranteed an increase in the onset of mental health problems, for those who are physically disabled as well as for those with a mental health diagnosis as their primary health problem.

I trust this information may be helpful.

Best

Mo Stewart

Disabled veteran (WRAF)

Disability studies researcher

Retired healthcare professional

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

http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/library/author/stewart.mo

www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#documents

The Health & Work Programme ~is Work really a ‘Health Outcome’ ?


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One thing this government doesn’t get is the difference between a person with Chronic Illness and Disability, they simply cannot join up the dots. Work is NOT a ‘Health Outcome’ if you are disabled or chronically ill!

What I mean is you can be well overall and have a disability but, by the same token, a person with chronic ill health will have to battle with much more and it this that disables them.

Reading the Green Paper for Health and Work Programme which the Government plans to inflict on JSA/ESA claimants in the faint hope it will half the disability gap is frankly a joke, given that the disability gap hasn’t changed in a very long time.  It is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It’s un-achievable because chronic ill health and disability are two seperate things for which I will explain my reasoning in more detail. This is a failure by governments over the last 4 decades to grasp, when trying to reduce chronic ill health and disability to mean minor obstacles to employment.  They are not minor on any level, when we still do not have accessible transport or access to buildings. Many disabled people who do work are now threatened with the loss of employment, which enabled them to be in work and sustain some independance,  as they are now having their Motability cars removed under PIP, thus preventing them from going to work and, lastly, for reasonable adjustments to be put in the workplace as standard procedure.

One thing for sure, it is blatantly obvious that it will be the same contractors/sub-contractors who are going to implement this false ideology.  It will just depend on what they choose to accept given the loaded options which they are in control of, it will be another work programme on the cheap. Fact is this government want the cheapest option for them, rather than seriously address the issues and invest in disabled people which would cost them an eye watering amount of money.  If they really wanted to support people into work, those that could work anyway and then just admit that a good proportion of people simply cannot work because of the barriers they face in doing so, as well as their chronic ill health means they are too sick to work. The rhetoric of the last 6yrs has been the idle,workshy,demonisation of people who with right support could work and want to work, but find they are locked out  of doing so. The general public swallowed the rhetoric hook line and sinker.

Why employers don’t take on sick & disabled people is due to the following:

1) Employers are concerned about employing disabled people due to sickness absences, and the liabilities that would need to be addressed such as  health and safety regarding sustainability, reliability, safely to maintain a 9-5  job 5 days per week.

2)Without the government giving them some assurances via incentives to take disabled people on, this could lead to bullying in the workplace as productivity is linked to profit margins.

3) The able bodied complaining about being paid same when the disabled counterpart produces less due to capability/disability, although this will not always be the case, causing discourse and resentment in the workplace.

The employer will always choose the able bodied over the disabled or chronically sick person.  Fact!

Now we don’t have a magic solution to all problems that could arise but what worries most people more than anything is the government’s plan to make this ‘mandatory’, which if you fall on your backside, then you are being set up for failure resulting in a waste of public money on another failed scheme, just so the figures look good to the public that they are helping people into work.

Yet again those with Mental Health are the main targets along with musculoskeletal group of claimants. This is why I think this government are targeting this Group. Not that this is acceptable as High Courts have already ruled regarding the discriminatory nature of this government towards this group of claimants.

So what are the proposed options? Lets look at these in more detail. Non are 100% satisfactory by any means. In fact, most are just another train crash to the participants who this will be inflicted upon, it just means the level of whether you survive it or not is the crux of these duplicitous proposals to the health and wellbeing of claimants and do they meet the Equality Act 2010? The following  are  taken from a Health and Work Report commissioned by DWP & the DoH in a joint collaboration.

RE:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/273433/psychological-wellbeing-and-work.pdf

Option 1: Embed vocational support based on the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model in primary care settings. The key principles of IPS are specified and the model has been tested in secondary care settings for people with severe mental illness. This intervention would be accessed through services offering psychological therapy or even through GP practices.

What it means: Embed model vocational support based on the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in IAPT or other suitable psychological therapy services. IPS is a fidelity/specified model and has been tested in secondary care settings for people with severe mental illness. IPS would be offered through IAPT (as currently is the case in some locations) and referrals to the IPS service would be made by IAPT therapists. A greater group of individuals with common mental health problems would be able to have access to evidence-based support that addresses both their mental health problem and supports them into employment. This option would also place more employment advisers (EAs) in primary care, and increase the number of EAs overall. On the basis of available evidence, we estimate a benefit-cost ratio of 1.41. This means that for each £1 spent to achieve an employment outcome, the Government would save about £1.41. This option has a relatively high cost per participant (about £750) and appears particularly effective in terms of achieving an employment outcome compared to the other options proposed. IAPT is open for individuals who are in and out of work and it creates incentives to move them off sick pay or benefits. While the route into IAPT is through referral by GPs, individuals can self-refer, and Jobcentres and employers may encourage people who need help to self-refer.

Option 2: Use group work in employment services to build self-efficacy and resilience to setbacks that benefit claimants face when job seeking. This intervention would be based on the JOBS II programme that has been tested in several countries but not yet in the UK. It would be accessed through Jobcentre Plus but delivered in neutral settings. Job Club In effect.

What it means: Use group work in employment services to build self-efficacy and resilience to setbacks that benefit claimants face when job seeking. This intervention would be based on the JOBS II model (also known as the ‘Winning New Jobs’ programme). The focus of JOBS II is to build resilience and inoculate the participant against setbacks in the job searching process. The approach has a supporting evidence base as to its effectiveness. The intervention could be offered through Jobcentres, whose advisers could assess participant suitability using an employment strengths and needs assessment tool or, if necessary, other agreed criteria. Other referral paths could be considered such as IAPT and the Work Programme. The intervention would target the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) group or the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) group before they enter the Work Programme. The programme will need to be modified for the ESA group. JOBS II costs around £875 per participant. The annual net benefit to the Government would be about £280 per employment outcome with an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 1.07. This means that for each £1 spent to achieve an employment outcome, the Government would save £1.07. This policy option has the highest estimated cost per participant of all options. It appears reasonably effective in terms of achieving employment outcomes compared to the other policy options proposed (though less effective than the estimated effectiveness of Option 1).

 

Option 3: Provide access to online mental health and work assessment and support. This intervention would build on models of online mental health assessment and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (that have been tested). It would include a vocational element, which would have to be developed, and it could be open to the general population.

What it means: Provide access to online mental health and work assessments and support. This option would build on eHealth models of online mental health assessment and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) (which have been tested) with a vocational element, which would need to be developed. The service could potentially be opened up to the general population (including the in-work group). People with common mental health problems often find it difficult to actively seek and obtain support. Providing online assessments and interventions will enable greater access to specialist services which have an inbuilt vocational element. This in turn could lead to better health and employment outcomes for these individuals. Careful consideration would need to be given to where the platform would be hosted and to its functionality. It could be hosted in the NHS. The platform could combine assessment of common mental health problems with signposting and potentially treatment (such as Computerised CBT). There is very little information on likely costs of the intervention. We estimate the cost between £200 and £400 per participant including set-up and licensing fees, though this per participant ratio is likely to fall as scale is increased. There are challenges with measuring employment impacts. This intervention is the least costly per participant, and is less effective in achieving employment outcomes compared to the other options

 

Option 4: Jobcentre Plus commissions third parties to provide a telephone-based specialist psychological and employment-related support. Telephone based services offered through this intervention would be very similar to the support provided by Employee Assistance Programmes and models designed for the Work Programme. It would be offered access through Jobcentre Plus.

What it means: Telephone-based services offered through this model would be similar to Employee Assistance Programmes and interventions designed for specialist service provision in the Work Programme. In this case, the intervention would be used for the JSA group or ESA group before they enter the Work Programme. Jobcentres would assess claimants using an assessment tool and refer them to the service. We estimate a benefit-cost ratio of 1.12. This means that for each £1 spent to achieve an employment outcome, the Government would save £1.12. Compared to other options proposed, this option has a low cost per participant (about £ 250), is not as effective in terms of achieving employment outcomes, but can potentially reach a good number of people with common mental health problems. Improving the employment outcomes of those with common mental problems is a complex issue. There is no single ‘one size fits all’ solution. It is likely to need a variety of interventions. The policy options proposed are complementary. Where we have data, the benefits to the Government are estimated to exceed the costs. They have slightly different aims and client groups. They offer different approaches, some more intensive than others. They have different estimated costs per participant and levels of effectiveness. They imply different models of integration, commissioning and funding. The aim should be to test of the effectiveness of each.

“These policy options are complementary – they serve slightly different objectives and client groups. They imply different models of integration, commissioning and funding. They have different estimated costs per participant but for most the benefits to Government are estimated to exceed the costs, providing a case for investment. In all business cases, we see an employment outcome as a person moving from sickness or unemployment benefits into employment for a period of at least six months. The four policy options combine different approaches: intensive individual case management; group support; online; and telephone-based intervention”.

Where is the evidence that work pays? It’s a falsehood. They can’t find jobs (750,00 current vacancies) for able bodied unemployed with 2.3 million out of work, let alone find employers to take on chronically ill and disabled people and all that goes with that.

I was privileged to attend the RI WORLD CONGRESS , 25–27 October 2016 Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Scotland.  What they all waffled on about was the ‘utopian view’ that disabled people are being sidelined and they wanted to change that, so disabled people would be treated the same in society and have same dreams and bloody aspirations as ‘Mr or Mrs Normal’ person to get work, be included in society and then they rolled out the olympic super crip video to inspire us all into action.

Well, real lives of chronically sick and disabled people are not like that. Most aspire just to survive the cruelty of the WCA or PIP assessments and be left alone to manage their complex lives the best way they can. It is amazing that a few chronically ill or disabled people achieve great feats and also  are very successful, that I would never knock, but we cannot all be super heroes either as they like to portray in the media hype.

There are some disabled people who want to work, 45% do successfully but very few chronically sick people work due to the complex nature of their illnesses which disables them. I thought I was in a twilight zone, envisioning all these wonderful jobs would be created  and mean that they were wanting to put in place all reasonable adjustments one would need if you could move towards work,  fabulous accessible transport would no longer be a problem and that accessibility to buildings and many other barriers would miraculously disappear. Then, someone caught my head with a clipboard in passing and brought me back to the reality of real lives of most chronically sick and disabled people.  The fact that some couldn’t even go to the toilet unaided, or get dressed without a care support package in place, or could only manage 2 hrs a day maybe due to fatigue or dialysis, chemo fog etc . I’m all for positive thinking, but I’m also grounded enough to know most people’s lives are just not that simple and neither are their illnesses or disabilities.

Yet with the support of charities, NHS, GPs and JCP Work Coaches this government is intending to find meaningful employment to suit those its intended for and half the disability gap overnight… Don’t let this worry you as you will all be miraculously cured.

One thing they fail to grasp is that this utopia doesn’t exist in reality for most sick & disabled people. When I recently met with Debbie Abrahams at her Disability Roadshow, only 112 employers were ‘disability confident’ to find employment for disabled people  which will mean low paid jobs with no chance of advancement in their careers.  Any training will be short lived at the bear minimum cost to the state, approx £50 per head, and CBT will be no longer than 12 weeks which won’t suit the majority of  those with even moderate mental health issues.  Most have already been there and it didn’t work, or was unsuitable for them, leaving them more depressed and anxious than before they started. The startling thing is that this is coercion by the back door, making it ‘mandatory’ to complete the twelve weeks with the indirect threat of loss of benefit for not engaging in the process as an incentive to comply. This perceived coercion is likely to increase mental health problems, not reduce them. The ongoing DWP tyranny against chronically ill people has already increased the numbers of physically ill people now adopting additional mental health problems, as their financial security has been removed, with the relentless DWP suggestion that many claimants are bogus.

The Government must make sure that all recommendations of the WCA reports and the UN  recommendations are implemented without further delay to meet its obligations to safeguard those whom are the most fragile group of claimants and does not cause harm to their mental health . Claimants health and well being cannot be sacrificed in such a manner without due regard to process under the law.

This alone must be against the grain for any civilised society,let alone breaking the Human Rights of claimants and failings of adhering the Equality Act 2010.Yet again this government is failing in its duty to ensure  preventable harm  that could be caused to what are very fragile group of claimants or in some cases prevent fatalities amongst this group of claimants, as they disengage with GP’s and other stakeholders which can have serious consequences to their health and wellbeing. Many claimants in this group have already lost their lives due to the stress and strain of the WCA processes, which left them unable to cope where they only option left is to take their own lives. This cannot be allowed to continue!

BASE  Blog By Huw Davies

“The Work and Health Programme is the headline act here though. We’ve requested sight of an equalities impact assessment, as we’re concerned that the decision to go with a single programme may not be based on any sort of analysis of the evidence. DWP appears committed to combining a programme that works, albeit with a limited group, and a programme that has patently failed(link is external).

The Work Programme offers a 4% chance(link is external) of getting you a job if you’re an existing IB claimant; 7.7% if you’re a new ESA claimant. Work Choice is nearer to 40% for IB claimants(link is external). Overall, Work Choice is delivering close to 60% job outcomes compared to 30% for the Work Programme where 70% of those referred are sent back to the Jobcentre after 2 years.”

http://base-uk.org/blog/work-health-programme-November-2015

This is why I reject this Report,not that my opinion will count for much being a mortal citizen,they have had 6yrs to make changes to get people into work,and its been a cruel dark road for many,yet again some ideological process to make work pay and lift people out of poverty is failing at a very high human cost.

 

If you have 5 mins please fill in this survey  http://surveys.parkinsons.org.uk/s/bigbenefitssurvey/?platform=hootsuite

Ekkelesia also did three reports http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22112

 

The Green Paper ; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564038/work-and-health-green-paper-improving-lives.pdf

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-31/debates/4450368C-0091-47F2-A2D9-D12BC86192CC/ImprovingLivesWorkHealthAndDisabilityGreenPaper

 

New plans were announced today in a Department for Work and Pensions media release and Green Paper, to help more people with long term conditions to “Reap the benefits of work and improve their health.” The plans proposed today include: a review of Statutory Sick Pay and GP fit notes to support workers back into their jobs faster, and for longer encouraging Jobcentre Plus work coaches to signpost claimants to therapy the launch of a consultation on Work Capability Assessment reform encouraging employers to work with their employees with long-term health conditions to stop them from falling out of work a wide-ranging debate about recognising the value of work as a health outcome. http://www.taen.org.uk/news/view/1555

National RA : http://www.nras.org.uk/-improving-lives-the-work-health-and-disability-green-paper-what-does-it-mean-for-people-with-ra-and-adult-jia-

National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey results  http://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/wellbeingsurvey

https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2016/november/improving-lives-work-health-and-disability-green-paper

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-issued-guidance-that-made-suicides-more-likely-then-lied-to-cover-its-tracks/

 

 

Absolution from Responsibilty-The State We Are In


Picture Courtesy of Birmingham Mail

Picture Courtesy of Birmingham Mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poverty is caused by the failure of society, but most importantly is is failure of government to accept responsibility to address the issues that require massive spending on its infrastructure and job creation which in turn builds a good economy. In 50 years the construction of what was built from nothing in 45 was demolished by capitalism in the last 37 years when Maggie Thatcher decended on Downing Street in 79 and continued under Blair and present Governments and opposition alike. The welfare state in 45  provided a basic safety net for those in absolute poverty,which was expanded over time to be more compassionate,caring and supportive for those who fell on hard times through no fault of their own,compared to its original inception by Nye Bevan.

 

So why are we here again? Well yes the banking collapse of 2008 didn’t help matters but that isn’t the real reason. Those in power have always tried to fix the so-called ills of society and failed miserably because they don’t understand what causes it,because they are untouched by it as they mix in different circles than the rest of us. Equally some working class are just as judgmental as their oppressors. The fact someone is born into different class should not absolve them from personal responsibility nor should working class be absolved from personal responsibility neither.

I grew up in the slum society similar to that depicted in Ken Loach’s ‘Cathy Come Home’ I was born into what many call a ‘dysfunctional family’ although I know well my parents did their best in difficult circumstances of high unemployment,poverty,homelessness struggling to survive. I as a adult, decided that I would not be like my parents and dragged my ass out of the gutter thanks to them grafting all hours often working more than one job and us kids fending for ourselves. At one point we almost got put in care too. As I started out in life working hard all hours of god send to make a life for myself. I met many people along the way many who were in a different league to me class wise, I could see past their false smiles as they frowned when they looked at me,due to my coarseness of being the rough diamond amongst them, the elite and millionaires with all their wealth on display. I remember one night going to a party with my other half at the time at some country house of their work colleagues ,it was like a different world to one I grew up in,their children were privately educated and well behaved and had social etiquette were finely turned out and high achievers. One thing during the night I observed was they lacked compassion almost robotic in their words and actions and I saw a flaw they lacked basic common sense because everything was done by Nanny and parents where so busy gathering wealth their children were paraded like prized possessions with no feeling or regard. This was like a freak show to me, polished front with a emptiness inside,while I feel I had substance but lacked the polished front.

It made me realise the one who was the richest in the room was indeed myself. I saw this guy ask where to smoke, I was so bloody relieved he had as I was crawling the wall for my addictive fix, so I followed him outside. There was that awkward silence in the beginning and then he broke that silence by asking how I made a living,as a female he was took aback by my answer, I drive a bus around London I said. After a few probing questions he became quite fascinated that a woman was doing what he perceived was a predominantly a male profession and we started chatting amicably as others came and went, indulging their addiction to tobacco and other substances beside drinking like fish and becoming quite intoxicated and letting their polished masks slip. I was like a crash course of social experimentation. By the end of the night we had broken down all those barriers but I was under no illusion that I would not ever be accepted in their circles,yet we discussed all topics including spirituality, humanity we all share etc even them laughing about the queen farting like anyone else as I pointed out when we are dead we all go same place , in the same body bag to mortuary,in same hole in the ground or oven, it is only the crematorial furnishing that is different. I quite enjoyed the evening and went to others after that, where I was greeted with affection,yet deep down I knew they saw me as the nights entertainment rather than the famous names playing live music in the front room, what they failed to grasp was they actually were my entertainment as I saw them making total plonkers of themselves as well as the sneaky infidelity  going on in the garden behind the trees and undergrowth and the shallow lives they lead.

I knew then I was glad I wasn’t like them, false plastic personas while their children were damaged through lack of love and affection and suffered from multiple marriage breakups due to infidelity and domestic violence.The whole thing was a deceitful illusion presented in a Harrods bag ,while I felt privileged with my Sainsbury’s plastic bag.

What we have now in society, is the very privileged running our country like a game of chess,deciding the fate of others without any real connection to the reality of peoples lives they have power to decide over.They are out of touch and have been all their lives with exception of a few working class who have found life hard in the political landscape. It is mass NLP of the nation convincing the poor it is their own fault they are in such a bad way, with those who made good thinking they can join in kicking the fallen claiming to be middle class,when they are not, with soundbites that reflect their own personal shortcomings through transference onto the poorest in society whom over the years are so downtrodden that they actually believe they have no choices left but to accept their punishment of being born into the working class .

We are not empty vessels like many up the ladder we are enriched by our experiences in life and are fully enriched in our own way. This to me is more worthy than a fat wallet or large house and flash cars etc, we adapt to our circumstances and manage far better than our counterparts, and most likely would manage the country far better for all than they do for the few given the chance,which is what they fear from socialism,democracy.I didn’t plan on being disabled or poor but it can happen to anyone at the flick of a switch.

Today we have unprecedented poverty not seen in 100years caused by the mismanagement of the 1% who’s sense of entitlement holds no bounds while preaching to rest of society we need to lose our sense of entitlement for the crumbs on offer. It is time to rise and take our country back, without punishing those who oppress us, but by creating a fair and equal society where everyone flourishes including them while we take a larger slice of the cake to benefit everyone including the planet we live on and animals too.

It is our collective responsibility to help others who have less,if you have more it is your responsibilty to give more than those who have the least to give, to provide everyone with opportunity and hope  for the future, generation after generation. Capitalism has failed society it is time to ditch it and create a new world we can all survive in ,where everyone has a roof,food,clothing and anything else that is considered essential for functioning in the world we currently live in, with insight to adapt for the future.

It is time to raise taxes or are we all too greedy and selfish to see we cannot continue along this path of low taxes and expect good services which are being starved of funding due to the mess we are now in with another crash around the corner?

It is Humanity,Kindness,Compassion for each other that will provide us with a new blueprint for our survival.

It is why we have not learned lessons from the past and until we do we will continue to make same mistakes and cause untold suffering to the many.

 

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.

 

 

The Truth About Welfare Deaths , The Figures They Don’t Want The Public To See!


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Many times the Government has denied this is happening and continue to do so, yet the real truth has been written by many Bloggers whom  attacked the record of the two successive governments the last 6years by campaigners within the disability movement.  Campaigners have tried many times to have their voices heard,  out on the streets and on social media they have taken direct action and shouted from the rooftops, some have been threatened  to have websites taken down because they tried to highlight what is happening to disabled people across UK  and globally around the world. Our rights are being denied and subsequently crushed little by little. With the Brexit vote opening the door to remove the last bastion of decency ‘The Human Rights Act’, leaving us all at the mercy of what can only be called a dictatorship of government, with no redress.

 

One of the leading researchers in highlighting these issues Mo Stewart has produced many reports which highlight the overwhelming evidence of the dismantling of the welfare state as many of us grew up with and relied on when times got tough,which is going to be denied to those who follow behind us, many unaware that a vital safety net is being removed at an alarming rate. Mo is soon to publish her book which has taken her the  best part of 8 years work. Below are tables and links  to this research which will no doubt be denied/cast aside by a uncaring Government.

 

WCA Deaths

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3:1 Source: DWP report: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients 2011 p6

 

DWP: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients: published 9th July 2012  p6

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223050/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf

WCA Deaths 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 7:2 Source:DWP Mortality Statistics Dec 2011 – Feb 2014 157 p5

 

DWP mortality statistics: ESA, IB or severe disabled allowance, released August 2015 p5:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/456359/mortality-statistics-esa-ib-sda.pdf

WCA Deaths 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 7:3 Source: Combined DWP mortality totals, created by MS

                           *DWP: Published July 2012: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients 160 p6

                          **DWP:Published August 2015:Mortality Statistics: ESA, IB and SDA 157 p

 

The only ones not shocked by this are the Campaigners themselves, who have lost friends and loved ones, while Joe Public is left in the dark  completely oblivious to the harm caused to disabled people by a government some elected to carry out these atrocities in the name of Welfare Reform. Brainwashing the public into benefit bashing, and turning worker against those who cannot work. This abhorrent  assessment is literally killing people. In the 6th richest country and 21 century this should not be happening to the poorest in society ,it is the hopes from those in power  disabled people wont fight back but we do  often to raise awareness to what is happening to us all and that Joe Public will remain oblivious or ignorant of the truth. In recent months with stories  about disabled people’s rights being violated it has been buried in the media frenzy of political party fallout in both leading parties,whom have backed these reforms with a few exceptional MP’s who didn’t,or abstained. Disabled people do have friends in Parliament who have stood up for us,joined us and given us a voice. It is however not loud enough if most of the public either agree or have not a clue that this is happening. Demand for support of welfare advice agencies being swamped with requests for help as this pernicious flawed  and dangerous policy is enacted by Government Contractors.

 

The Government has since said it will no longer keep statistics as they try to hide what this policy has done to many, some of whom are no longer with us. They deserve Justice and society should call for this vile policy to be scrapped forthwith and go back to the drawing board. Disabled people are not adverse to be subjected to assessments of their entitlement,but the way this has been carried out is nothing short of inhumanity.

 

DONT FORGET  TO BUY YOUR COPY ;

Courtesy of:  ‘CASH NOT CARE ~ the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’

by Mo Stewart

New Generation Publishing, to be published Sept 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78507-783-8 [paperback]

 

 

 

 

 

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

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


 

ids TELEGRAPH

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

Telling It Straight-Disabled People Lives at Risk from Further Ideology on Welfare Reform


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Yesterday The Reform Think Tank published its second report with a further one to come before the white paper is published later this year, recommendations in this report will fuel the fear project inflicted by the Tories on those who are considered the most vulnerable whom they promised to protect. Its proposals call for a Single Working Age Benefit (SWAB) while claiming it is not a cost cutting exercise. These folks are so detached from the real lives of those  suffering disability or chronic sickness  it is an indictment of the discourse between policy and real life experience written by non other than IDS lackey Charlotte Pickles. She spent two years as Expert Adviser to Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, helping to design and deliver the Government’s welfare agenda. Before that she was Policy Director at the Centre for Social Justice . So this is hardly impartial and often a pre-curser for Tory policies in the pipeline.

What does this mean for you as a person with a disability or a chronically sick person, ‘hell in a cart’ where they slash benefits and support  needed to live independently. I apologise if this blog is long but you need to know the implications this will have, I cannot sugar coat it or contain my disgust at the disdain shown to those on the receiving end of this frankly disgusting ideology which smacks of 1930 nazism reinforcing the Deserving /Undeserving Poor Rhetoric . We saw recently the Lords reject the cut to ESA of £30 week which will punish cancer patients and others while they need financial support which will go back to the Commons to be further debated,while Cameron stated those with cancer should be in Support Group we know in reality  many are misplaced in Wrag Group and subjected to conditionality of either looking for a job or bullied until they return to work before they are fully recovered if that is indeed a reality for them.The employment rate for disabled people in
the UK is just 48 per cent.

So lets look at just a few of the proposals by this report ;

Shortly after becoming Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2010, Iain Duncan
Smith announced his ambition to create “[a] welfare system that is fit for the 21st
Century.”9 In 2015 he argued that Universal Credit (UC) “opens the way for us to re-think
the relationship between sickness benefits and work.”10 This paper outlines the structural
reforms that would maximise UC’s impact for people with health conditions. The package
of reforms cover the benefit rate, gateway and conditionality. They are not about costsaving,
but building a more coherent, effective and personalised benefit system.
The difference in the benefit level for unemployed people compared to that for people with
significant health conditions is sizeable – and under UC the gap will widen.The Government should
therefore set a single rate for out-of-work benefit.

The savings from this rate reduction should be reinvested into Personal Independence Payment which contributes to the
additional costs incurred by someone with a long-term condition and into support
services.

1A single out-of-work allowance should be established, removing all out-of-work
disability-related premiums.
>> Time-limited transitional protection should be provided for current Employment
and Support Allowance support group claimants.
>> The single out-of-work allowance should be uprated by a more generous
mechanism that better reflects the inflation experience of beneficiaries.
2. The savings from moving to a single out-of-work allowance should be reinvested
into increased rates for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence
Payment and increased provision of support programmes to help claimants move
back into work.

The current requirement to provide a ‘fit note’ from a GP should be scrapped

6. As part of the Occupational Health Assessment, where appropriate claimants should
co-produce an occupational health plan with their health adviser. This should be
accompanied by a personal budget that is unlocked by a ‘dual key’ of claimant and
specialist employment adviser. This should facilitate implementation of the plan to
assist the claimant in moving closer to the labour market by treating or managing
their condition.

The latter will most likely be be through IAPT/CBT  and work choice programmes currently planned pilot in Islington GP practices and Work Coaches.

Link ;  http://www.islington.gov.uk/advice/employment/employment-commission/Pages/default.aspx

Although the introduction of a WRAG was intended to tackle this by recognising an
individual’s remaining work capacity, in the quarter up to May 2015, only around one per
cent of WRAG claimants left the benefit. In addition, the majority (almost 75 per cent) of
post-assessment ESA claimants are assigned to the support group where the absence of
any work expectation reinforces the negative messaging that they cannot work.

The report looks at both the New Zealand ,Sweden,Danish Models and ways they think UK can follow suit. The Chancellor George Osbourne  said in his summer budget;

In the 2015 Summer Budget, the Chancellor acknowledged the unintended
consequences of the system:
The Employment and Support Allowance was supposed to end some of the perverse
incentives in the old Incapacity Benefit. Instead it has introduced new ones. One of
these is that those who are placed in the work-related activity group receive more
money a week than those on Job Seekers [sic] Allowance, but get nothing like the help
to find suitable employment.
He announced that, from April 2017 and for new claimants, the ESA WRAG component
and the UC equivalent Limited Capability for Work (LCW) element would be aligned to that
of JSA. This contrasts with the support group which retains the relevant ESA component,
and in UC the LCWRA element. Once UC is rolled out, this means that those on the UC
standard allowance (around £73 a week) will receive half the payment that those on the
standard allowance plus the LCWRA element will get (around £146 a week). As well as
this, from April 2016, a four-year freeze is being applied to all out-of-work benefits
excluding ESA support group, which continues to be uprated by the Consumer Price
Index, further expanding the differential.

This represents a growing incentive for people to be assigned to the support group. Dr
Paul Litchfield raised concerns about making the support group more attractive in relation
to time-limiting contributory ESA WRAG. In his year five independent review of the WCA
he argued:
Time limiting applies only to those placed in the WRAG and therefore increases the
existing financial incentive for individuals to be placed in the support group, if they need
to remain on the benefit beyond 12 months.
With limited access to employment support and no work-related conditionality, people in
the support group are completely detached from the labour market. This is particularly
concerning given that, according to one survey of ESA recipients, 52 per cent of support
group claimants said they “currently want to work.”

All out-of-work disability-related premiums should be removed from the current system,
along with the LCWRA component in UC. This would leave a single out-of-work
allowance. The level at which this allowance is set must balance multiple and often
competing objectives. These include poverty alleviation, fairness, sustainability and
incentivising work. Ultimately, the precise rate will be a political judgement, but
maintaining work incentives will likely mean a rate that is not that dissimilar to the current
JSA/UC standard allowance rate.

1.2.1 The vision:

Absent any transitional protection or reinvestment in other benefits, this would mean
sizeable loses for those currently in receipt of the premiums, and ‘notional losses’ for
future claimants. The average weekly payment for those in the ESA support group, which
includes the ESA component and disability-related premiums, is around £131.105 Under
UC, anyone in the support group will receive the LCWRA element in addition to standard
allowance, taking their weekly payment to around £146. This means a loss, on average,
of around £58 per week under the current system and a loss of around £73 under UC. For
those receiving the maximum possible amount of disability-related premiums under the
current system, the loss will be higher.
1.2.1.2 Transitional protection
Implementing a single out-of-work rate would require some form of transitional protection
to avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ effect. One option would be to create a time-limited support group
cash payment – replacing the existing component and disability premiums – to be
withdrawn over that set time period. For example, over three years a £60 a week payment
(roughly the average loss) could be reduced by £20 each year. . £131 is the average
weekly amount paid to single people in the ESA support group.

1 Working welfare / The rate therefore less attractive option would be to replicate, in part, the approach taken in UC:
the actual amount lost by each individual claimant as a result of the reform could be
frozen in cash terms (as per UC losers), but unlike UC also reduced over time (i.e. not just
left to erode naturally with inflation). That time period could vary according to the size of
the loss, for example by a set amount, say £20 a week, each year until it was fully
removed. This would not only add complication, but also take longer to reach the new
system, and thus longer to release the savings for reinvestment. The former is therefore
the preferred option.1.2.1.3 Maintaining benefit value
Successive uprating decisions that have applied below inflation increases to many
working-age benefits have eroded their value. Without the caps of the last Parliament and
the freeze which will be applied in April 2016 for four years, JSA and the UC standard
allowance would have been almost £80 a week in 2019-20 – 8.5 per cent a week higher
than they will actually be.106 In Updating uprating: towards a fairer system, Reform argued
that the Government should scrap the benefits freeze and look to implement a fairer
uprating mechanism for income-replacement benefits that better reflects their inflation
experience.107 This, in short, would mean a more generous uprating policy: one that would
track more closely rises in beneficiary living costs.
Recommendation 1
A single out-of-work allowance should be established, removing all out-of-work
disability-related premiums.
>> Time-limited transitional protection should be provided for current Employment
and Support Allowance support group claimants.
>> The single out-of-work allowance should be uprated by a more generous
mechanism that better reflects the inflation experience of beneficiaries.
1.2.2 Reinvesting the savings
The move to a single out-of-work benefit is not about saving money but about creating a
simpler, more coherent system. As such, the savings resulting from removing the
disability-related additions to the standard allowance should be reinvested into extra
costs benefits (PIP) and support services. Determining how best to split the savings
between these areas is also a political decision.
1.2.2.1 Investing in extra cost benefits
DLA and its working-age replacement benefit, PIP, are designed to contribute to extra
costs incurred by someone with a long-term health condition. Eligibility is not based on a
specific condition or disability, but the impact it has on the individual. It is paid both in and
out of work and is not means-tested or taxed. PIP has two components, daily living and
mobility, and each has two rates, standard and enhanced. In replacing DLA, the then
Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller, argued that PIP would “create a new, more
active and enabling benefit.”The Coalition Government argued that PIP would be
“easier to understand, more efficient and will support disabled people who face the
greatest challenges to remaining independent and leading full and active lives.” By
introducing an objective assessment, and removing the lower rates of DLA, the Coalition
expected to reduce the caseload – focusing the new benefit on those with the greatest
need.Existing policy will see this spend reduced further. From April 2017, the Work Programme,
along with Work Choice, a voluntary employment programme for disabled people costing
around £80 million a year,125 will be merged into a new Health and Work Programme. This
will cater for claimants with health conditions or disabilities and those who have been
unemployed for over two years, with estimated funding of just £130 million a year.126 This
represents a cut in the main components of employment support spend of around 80 per
cent.

So is this the death knell for those placed in Support Group,  given many are being invited into a work focused interview to see if they would like to work, under a guise yet again by this slimy bastard Government.are they planning to make everyone a Jobseeker you bet your arse they are!

Along with PIP being sucked into the factoring of this report proposing higher PIP premiums to compensate for  any losses  under SWAB ,does this mean PIP will  become means tested in the future?

Many on PIP are losing their vehicles which allow those who can to work. It seems to me a bit of an own goal to remove their means to get to work when Public transport is an issue for disabled people and not fit for purpose.

Best get some Work Clothes/Boots while you still have little money left before they come snatch it all away and drag you out your sick bed  and into your wheelchair at 6am to force you onto public transport which is unusable for the majority, let alone those with Mental Health conditions who never leave their homes and the damage this will cause,  in cost to the human beings within this bloody experiment this government is dogmatically pushing forward even if the reality of evidence  does not support this position.

Now is the time to make a stand  otherwise they will cause untold harm to thousands, don’t leave it to someone else there are many ways you can stand up and be counted,Get involved !

 

 

Link to Reform report ;   http://www.reform.uk/publication/working-welfare-a-radically-new-approach-to-sickness-and-disability-benefits/

Bernadette Meaden viewpoint ;   http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22694

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/disability-benefits-incapacity-benefit-iain-duncan-smith-welfare-perverse-incentives?utm_content=buffercdcb9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer