Posts tagged ‘wca’

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

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/

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


ids TELEGRAPH

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.

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT BENEFIT FRAUD AND WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WONT TELL YOU!


ids TELEGRAPH

Picture courtesy of Telegraph Newspaper

A collaboration between Blue Annoyed and Welfare Weekly

The Government have launched yet another campaign earlier this year to crack down on those who claim benefits, who are claiming fraudulently and purported to cost the taxpayer 16million a year.  Every single opportunity they get we are told there is a scrounger in every street across the country yet the facts don’t really back this up. The government has turned people  in society against each other with relentless stories of the ‘fake’ or ‘cheat’ lurking in your neighbourhood. They have turned some into amateur sleuths and doctors  who feel it is their civic duty to turn in Mr Jones across the road because  he leaves  at 8am every morning without actually knowing the person circumstances, I mean after all he could be going to hospital for chemotherapy every day or radiotherapy, or even visiting a sick relative who needs care first thing in the morning! In many people’s minds their hard-earned taxes gives them the right with full backing of this government, the justification to often in many cases report people they think are claiming when they should not be. As a campaigner I see this in action from those who are being oppressed by this government on a daily basis people who think the neighbour across the road is getting  something which they have failed to get and disability hierarchy kicks into a debate of the deserving and not deserving culture this government has done very effectively using divide and rule tactics and the use of subtle language , not seen for many years. See Links at bottom of this blog for media links.

Lets make one thing clear here if you commit fraud it is a crime end of, and you deserve to be caught and dealt with accordingly  yet according to  fellow campaigner Steph Benstead’s article in the Huffington Post this is what she quoted:

Fraud costs 0.7% of the benefit budget. Error costs 1.4% of the benefit budget (although a further 0.9% is underpaid through error and more than 6% goes unclaimed). If the government’s interest is accuracy then it would do better to tackle error and under-claiming. Although I can’t see many posters saying ‘Health got worse? Let us know – you might be eligible for more benefits’ or ‘Only working part-time? Let us know – you might be eligible for tax credits.’

The hotline itself has a ‘success’ rate of 4.4%, but only if you include over-payment through error (although there is no report on how much is identified through the hotline as under-paid through error, or even if the DWP corrects this through back-payments). That’s about double the overpayments generally in the benefits system, so the general public aren’t doing too badly (they only get 95% wrong). But it essentially means the DWP is waiting for a (potentially malicious) call to decide who to investigate; risk-profiling, on the other hand, means deciding to investigate someone because they are part of a high-likelihood group, which one would hope is both more accurate and less affected by public whims.

Of concern though is not just whether this is the best way to tackle fraud but the culture it creates. Everyone knows fraud is wrong, that doesn’t need changing. The public already (wrongly) thinks fraud is very high, that doesn’t need changing either. The hotline seems to be doing pretty well at receiving calls (even if over 95% are wrong) so maybe that doesn’t need changing either. What does need changing is the stigma and demonisation of claimants, and this campaign won’t help that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/stef-benstead/benefit-fraud-campaign_b_4535218.html

 

The lies the public are being told is an  absolute outrage and is a complete falsehood, so I banged out a FOI as did another colleague at Welfare Weekly (an online news service) to the DWP asking for facts and figures regarding benefit fraud. To my horror my beliefs were accurate  as this year there have been 17,732 claimants  across all benefits in the UK which is by no means acceptable but from a realistic view of the millions of claimants disprove IDS’s  ideology that everyone is on the fiddle, when realistically he doesn’t have a clue . It is like any other system in this country which will be  abused by some, while most claimants are decent honest law-abiding citizens.  The amount of calls the government gets  regarding fraudulent activity is phenomenally the opposite polarity  it is so shockingly  high  that they must be working 24/7 flat out on zero hours with matchsticks to keep their eyes open. If you wish to download a copy then you will need to go  and search for the numbers 4468 and 4456 on the website link below. Please bear in mind the statistics have not been quality assessed to government approval so should be treated with caution.The culture of hatred and demonisation of benefit claimants is perpetuating high volumes of false accusations. Public perceptions of benefit fraud is sky high which wrongly motivates people to report others.

Benefit fraud investigators are waiting for (potentially malicious) calls from members of the public to decide who to investigate. Risk-profiling, on the other hand, means deciding to investigate someone because they are part of a high-risk group, which can be more accurate and is less affected by spurious or unfounded accusations.Of concern is not just whether this is the best way to tackle benefit fraud, but also the culture of hate and suspicion it creates. Fraud investigators are receiving several thousands of accusations of benefit fraud from members of the public, and yet the vast majority are proven to be false or incorrect.While investigators review allegations, those reported face benefit delays and may be forced to turn to food banks.

 DWP also admit they don’t record how many people make malicious allegations – mainly due to the anonymity they provide accusers – and take no action (legal or otherwise\ against those who do. The DWP says malicious allegations are “unlikely to occur”.

“We are unable to confirm the number of claimants who have been incorrectly reported to be claiming benefits fraudulently, and who have their benefit payments docked or suspended as a result of this information, because this information is not recorded.

 “However an incident of this nature would be very unlikely to occur

“Without the facility to report benefit fraud anonymously there is a risk that the public may be deterred from providing valuable intelligence that assists in protecting the public purse.”

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/

 

Benefit Fraud Statistics by benefit across UK 2014

fraud one

The second table is continuation of benefit fraud by benefit.

fraud 1

 

The calls the DWP receive:

fraud hotline calls

 

 

 

 

So as you will see the  figures are somewhat  misrepresented in the media with one aim only , to remove the safety net from the people who most need it and the slow death of the welfare state and the introduction of more private insurance and restrictions, while those in power to make lots of money and their chums in the Banking and Insurance industries. Lets make 2015 a Capitalist free zone and stop the greed and help those in need.

 A Few Examples  by mainly right-wing press;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2736546/Named-shamed-Five-Britain-s-biggest-benefits-cheats-stole-4-5m-taxpayer.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/caught-camera-watch-benefit-cheat-4626287

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/worst-benefit-fraud-30-years-4629918

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/448474/Thousands-of-benefit-cheats-escaping-prosecution-official-figures-reveal

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-29599487

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2705618/Benefits-cheat-claimed-couldn-t-leave-house-unfamiliar-places-130-000-scam-exposed-tip-living-GOA.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11029594/Benefit-cheat-stole-70k-while-running-2.6m-property-empire.html

 

UPDATE: I hasten to add there are many reasons why simple mistakes on forms can lead to a claimant being accused of fraud, people can be prosecuted for benefit fraud for forgetting to inform DWP/Council of ANY change in circumstances,not all of these people have either deliberately set out to defraud. It can be someone who doesn’t understand what they have to do because they have difficulty processing information given to them, or they cant simply read and write but are afraid to say so. The rhetoric of this government is everyone claiming is a liar and cheat which simply isn’t the case.

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Condition’ of Britain-We are Screwed100% by the Elite


I have been reading the IPPR  Condition of Britain report (see link at bottom) which was plastered all over the press with Ed Miliband’s speech saying what Britain  needed. Well I can tell you Ed a fair system for all , which is no easy task for anyone and no one would disagree this country is a mess, but who bloody caused it yes your Bankers, who dropped the ball, those in power while the rest of the peasants worked their fingers to bone.

I wont pull no punches as there will be upset and hardship for most of the peasants while those at the top drink the cream.Its not all bad news to be honest there are some good points  in it and that means you only need one hand to add them up. I will focus on welfare provision as this is what my blogs are generally about and this one is long but relevant.

We come to our the  future of our young;

For 18–21-year-olds, existing out-of-work benefits should be replaced by a youth allowance that provides financial support conditional on looking for work or completing education, targeted at those from low-income families.

8. A youth guarantee for 18–21-year-olds should be established that offers access to education or training plus intensive support to find work or an apprenticeship, with compulsory paid work experience for those not earning or learning within six months.

9. The National Citizen Service programme should be expanded so that half of young people aged 16 and 17 are taking part by 2020, using money saved from holding down cash benefits to families with older children.

10 The remit of youth offending teams should be extended to those aged up to 20, in order to provide locally-led, integrated support to help keep young adult offenders out of prison, cut reoffending and prevent them from entering a life of crime.

 

Again our young people who have been ignored for a very long time will have a chance of gaining some experience via the youth allowance, however I would prefer that the government promised to pay our young people a wage with real hands on experience via old fashioned apprenticeships with a job  guarantee at the end of it with the employer. It is not only beneficial to our young people but to the company too, by allowing growth of both company and market ,while allowing those coming to end of work life retiring as before, so these trained young people can take their place in job market.

Next we come to working life which relates to benefit clamiants ;

  • The National Insurance Fund should be given institutional and financial independence from government, with a responsibility for ensuring that national insurance contributions are sufficient to finance contributory benefit entitlements over the long term.
  • As a step towards reviving the contributory principle, the rate of contributory JSA should be increased by £30 a week, and those entitled to it should also gain access to help with mortgage interest payments if they become unemployed.
  • The next phase of the Work Programme should focus on supporting long-term jobseekers and those recovering from temporary health conditions, with contracts based on meaningful economic geographies and a job guarantee to prevent long-term unemployment.
  • Those with a long-term health condition or disability that reduces their capacity to work should participate in ‘New Start’, a new, locally-led supported employment programme for ESA claimants, with integrated budgets and incentives for success.
  • Small firms should be able to recover sick pay costs for employees hired from ESA. In addition, there should be greater back-to-work engagement between individuals and employers during sickness absence, matched by a longer period of employment protection.
  • An independent, non-state Affordable Credit Trust should be established to capitalise and mobilise local, non-profit lenders capable of providing low-cost loans, while also supporting low-income households to build up savings of their own.

The vast majority of people in Britain want to work, for their own self-esteem, to support their families, and to make a contribution to society.

One of the biggest tasks for the next government will be to enable as many people as possible to contribute to society through paid employment, including those who need to balance work with vital caring responsibilities. A further priority should be to improve the financial protections available to those who have made a contribution through work and care.These moves will be essential to help families secure rising standards of living, finance public services and social protections, and rebuild public trust in the social security system.Our priorities are a more focused Work Programme; a separate, qualitatively different ‘New Start’ programme for people with long-term health conditions or disabilities; a job guarantee to prevent long-term unemployment; and steps to increase the retention of sick and disabled people in the workplace and improve the incentives for employers to hire them in the first place.As well as supporting people to find employment, the contributions that people make through working or caring also need to be better recognised and rewarded.Our goal should be a social security system that offers more generous temporary benefits for people who have contributed, alongside better employment support so that fewer people claim out-of-work benefits for long periods.Our priority is an act of institutional reform that would directly connect contributions and entitlements, through a reconstituted National Insurance Fund.Finally, among the most pernicious and damaging trends of recent years has been the rise of personal debt (Lawrence and Cooke 2014). Many families, faced with falls in income and rises in the costs of basic essentials, have been forced into the arms of payday lenders who often charge extremely high fees and interest rates. Rather than helping to protect families from such dependency, the welfare system has often contributed to the problem.By the establishment of a new non-state, non-market institution – an Affordable Credit Trust – to mobilise and capitalise alternative providers of affordable credit. These local providers should also support low-income households to build up savings of their own. Such an institution would give many more people a realistic chance of building greater financial resilience and independence, and reduce their reliance on the social security system.

This institutional reform would also tap into the national insurance ‘brand’, and start to restore the sense that citizens have a stake in a social security system that offers ‘something for something’

Now where have we heard those buzz words before..oh yes the ‘something for nothing’ culture spouted by Coalition! It gets better though get this they are going to reinvent the wheel

To achieve this goal, we argue that the National Insurance Fund (NIF) should be rebuilt as an independent institution for financing the national insurance system.The government introduce a National Insurance Act that would reconstitute the NIF as an independent, ringfenced account, separate from government receipts and expenditures

In the first instance this would include: the single-tier state pension; contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA); contribution-based employment and support allowance (ESA);statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay;maternity allowance; and bereavement benefits.This would make explicit the fact that NICs finance contributory benefits and determine eligibility for them, and that they are not just an additional income tax in disguise.

A reconstituted NIF should be governed by a board of trustees representing the interests of those who have a stake in the national insurance system: employees, employers, the self-employed, pensioners and carers. The trustees should be responsible for ensuring that the fund operates in the interests of all members and maintains financial sustainability over time. The NIF should have the capacity to conduct and publish analysis and projections of its revenues and expenditure, and be required to provide regular updates on its financial position in order to improve transparency and public engagement.The board of trustees should also be responsible for making annual recommendations to parliament about future contribution rates and entitlements, setting out the implications for the NIF’s balance sheet. These recommendations should include any reforms needed to respond to economic or demographic shifts, such as further increases to the state pension age. Recommendations should represent the consensus view among the trustees, following widespread consultation and engagement.

Final decisions about contribution rates and entitlements should remain with parliament, but the government should not be able to ignore the trustees’ recommendations. If it disagreed with them, the government should have to make alternative proposals that are consistent with hitting the same target balance for the NIF as the board had sought to achieve (as well as explaining why they chose not to implement the consensus recommendations of the trustees).

Now forgive me if I misread this but trustees should make decisions  but the final decision is in parliament? Isn’t that  a contradiction in terms or are they just fobbing us off with another Quango without any teeth, where they get final say anyway?

Second, the structure of SMIcould be changed to reduce its cost. For instance, after a two-year period, further SMI payments could be recouped through a charge on the property, redeemed when the claimant is back in work or when the property is sold.This would give people time to get back to work, adjust their finances, or move to a more affordable property. Support would not be cut off after this point, but it should be reclaimed at a later date. It is not appropriate for the state to permanently subsidise families or individuals to live in a home they cannot afford – especially when they, rather than the state, benefit from any uplift in its capital value.

The Work Programme currently provides back-to-work support for those who have been claiming JSA for a year and those in the ‘work related activity group’ of ESA. It is delivered by ‘prime providers’, largely from the private sector, operating across 18 large contract areas across England, Scotland and Wales. After a rocky start, the performance of the Work Programme is now broadly in line with expectations and previous, similar employment programmes for JSA claimants. However, it is not proving effective at boosting employment among ESA claimants.

The core activity of Work Programme providers consists of tried and tested back-to-work strategies like supported jobsearch, help with maintaining a CV, and interview preparation, plus some extra help with skills or confidence-building. Participants are also required to demonstrate that they are taking steps to get back into work. This combination of support and obligation tends to be sufficient for the majority of jobseekers, but it is rarely effective for people with long-term or chronic health conditions that reduce their capacity to work, or for those with little or no record of employment.Often, the biggest challenge for such groups is finding an employer willing to take them on.

As such, the next phase of the Work Programme should continue to cater for JSA claimants who have not found work during a year with Jobcentre Plus. However, only ESA claimants close to recovering from a temporary health condition should continue to participate in it.The Work Programme’s activation strategies are likely to be appropriate for this group. This segmentation should be determined by a reformed work capability assessment (WCA), which should aim to better distinguish between temporary and chronic limitations to work capacity ESA claimants with a chronic health condition or disability that is likely to reduce their capacity to work for a long time should instead participate in a qualitatively different ‘New Start’ supported employment programme.

Contracts for the next Work Programme should be let on the basis of local enterprise partnership (LEP) geographies, matching the boundaries of combined authorities wherever possible.The next Work Programme should continue to reward providers when participants secure a job and then stay in work for a certain period. This would retain the current strong focus on employment outcomes and minimise the need for central prescription. However, providers should also receive an amount of funding for every participant (the ‘attachment fee’) throughout the whole contract period; this should not be progressively withdrawn, as it is now.

To prevent long-term unemployment, if someone has not found work after a year on the Work Programme they should be guaranteed paid work experience and be required to take it up. This would mean that no one could spend more than two years unemployed (one year on the Work Programme rather than two, plus an initial year with Jobcentre Plus). This ‘job guarantee’ should involve 25 hours a week of meaningful work for up to six months, paid at least the minimum wage, with another 10 hours a week of training and help with looking for work on the open labour market. People should not be able to continue receiving JSA if they refuse this offer. In time, a similar offer and obligation could be extended to ESA claimants on the Work Programme, consistent with their capacity to work.

Like the Work Programme, this job guarantee for the long-term unemployed should be organised on the basis of LEP geographies, with its delivery led by either a combined authority, a consortia of local authorities within an LEP, a contracted provider, or the local Jobcentre Plus. Public, private and voluntary sector organisations should be able to bid for funding to offer paid work placements that are of value to both the individual and the community.To pay for this policy, we propose scrapping the government’s Help to Work scheme for those who leave the Work Programme without a job.However, it is not certain how much this would raise – and the aim would be as little as possible, due to effective provider performance.Therefore, to complete the funding of a job guarantee, we propose raising the higher rate of capital gains tax (CGT) from 28 to 35 per cent, and devoting £220 million of the £400 million a year it would raise (based on estimates in HMRC 2014) to prevent long-term unemployment.

Despite an improving labour market, disabled people continue to face a substantial employment penalty.This suggests that worklessness among disabled people is largely structural, and not strongly linked to the economic cycle.

However, there are a significant number of people who have a long-term health condition that will affect their capacity to work for a long time, possibly permanently (in terms of the hours or the type of paid employment they can undertake), but which need not prevent them from working altogether.The notion of ‘distance from the labour market’ sets up a binary distinction between whether someone can or cannot work, rather than asking what kind of employment might be possible and what it would take for that to be enabled.Despite contrary intentions, the WCA remains a gateway to benefits, rather than to support with securing work.

We suggest that such a supported employment programme for ESA claimants with a long-term health condition should be named ‘New Start’, to indicate a fresh, positive approach that is rooted in disabled people’s own potential and capacities. New Start should also replace the specialist disability employment programme, Work Choice, when its contracts expire. To be effective, the introduction of New Start would need to be combined with reforms to the WCA that orientate it towards identifying the kinds of work that an individual could undertake, and the support they are likely to need to be able to do so, rather than simply operating as a gateway to benefits.Unlike traditional back-to-work programmes, this approach seeks to directly confront the so-called ‘demand-side’ problem, by working with specific employers to make a successful job match possible.Moreover, it would treat employment as often being an essential part of treatment or condition-management, rather than this being something that must precede entry into work.

By charting a course between traditional ‘activation’ strategies and ‘no support, no conditionality’ tracks, the aim would be for more ESA claimants to engage in back-to-work activity, and for fewer to enter the support group.

The fundamental principle of New Start should be that anyone who wants to work can do so. It should have a positive and empowering culture designed to nurture and unlock individuals’ talents and capacities. For this reason, participants should not be mandated to participate in particular activities. However, there should be an obligation on ESA claimants to engage with New Start, and to take responsibility for their own situation. This should involve regular meetings with an employment adviser, and the agreement of a personal employment plan. If a claimant persistently fails to engage with their adviser, there should be a backstop of benefit sanctions. However, this should only be triggered after a face-to-face meeting with a personal adviser to review activity, assess personal circumstances and better understand any underlying problems that are getting in the way of employment.

We therefore recommend that the New Start programme be led by local areas, tapping into local leadership and relationships. It should form part of wider strategies to integrate local services, rather than attempting to drive this process from Whitehall, which has rarely proved effective. Local councils often have far more established relationships with ESA claimants, such as through social housing or social services, than Jobcentre Plus, which has limited contact with this group.

The connection between health and employment services would be particularly important – and has been made more possible by the recent devolution of public health funding to local government, alongside the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) structure. Better employment outcomes would in turn help to improve local health outcomes and potentially reduce local health spending. The role of housing, adult social services, further education and, in some cases, probation or drug and alcohol treatment services in New Start could also be crucial.In addition, local councils should aim to draw in further capacity and resources from primary and secondary health services in their area. This could involve mobilising the active involvement of GPs, and securing agreement for the local CCG to commission occupational health and mental health services consistent with the local New Start plan. Making employment a more prominent focus within the NHS Mandate would further boost such efforts.

If this funding could be further matched by CCGs and LEPs across the country, New Start would have an annual budget of £800 million. With funding at this level, the programme could work with 400,000 ESA claimants – more than three times the number participating in the Work Programme each year.

At this scale, New Start would have the potential to make a substantial impact on the employment rate of people with long-term health conditions or disabilities, while significantly reducing expenditure on ESA and related benefits. Local areas should be free to give participants the right to take New Start support as a personal budget, and to provide a version of a job guarantee backstop to limit the amount of time for which local ESA participants were without work.Therefore, to support the New Start programme, we recommend that small firms are allowed to recover virtually all of the SSP costs they incur for individuals hired directly from ESA. This would reduce the risk of taking on someone who is more likely to take periods of sick leave.

Requiring employers to bear a small portion of the cost would retain an incentive for them to help people on sick leave return to work quickly.This change should be accompanied by ongoing efforts to confront disability discrimination, improve employers’ understanding of disability in the workplace, and increase opportunities for flexible working.Therefore, keeping more people healthy and in work could make a big difference to the number of people who enter the benefit system.With this in mind, the government is currently in the process of introducing a ‘health and work service’ to provide voluntary advice and support to employers and employees, available from the fourth week of sickness absence.

To overcome these challenges, we propose that it be made mandatory for an occupational health plan to be agreed between an employer and employee after 13 weeks of sickness absence, with the input of an occupational health expert. Employees should be obliged to engage with this plan, consistent with their health, and employers should also have obligations to consider reasonable changes that would facilitate a return to work. These could include the offer of an alternative position with the same employer, though with no obligation for the employee to accept a reduction in their terms or conditions at this stage. The aim of these plans should be to promote more active engagement between employer and employee. However, in some cases it might become necessary for an employment tribunal to test whether both parties have done enough to fulfil their obligations.At present, employees are entitled to statutory sick leave for up to 28 weeks if they fall ill or acquire a health condition or disability while in work. If people exhaust their SSP entitlement, they may then have their employment contract terminated.

Therefore, as part of the implementation of universal credit, we recommend that the ESA assessment phase be scrapped, as it automatically delays the point at which people switch their focus from claiming benefit to returning to work. For those who have exhausted employer-funded sick pay, there should instead be an equivalent period of conditional, state-funded sick pay. In such circumstances, the employment contract should be protected during this period, in order to give employees a little longer to recover and return to work, matched by obligations on them to take steps to do so. The employee should have to agree an updated back-to-work plan with their employer, an occupational health expert and a Jobcentre Plus adviser. The goal would be to exhaust absolutely every opportunity for rehabilitation and a return to work, including a requirement to accept alternative job offers from their employer.

For those making a claim for ESA that does not follow a period of sickness-related absence from work, the consequence of scrapping the ESA assessment phase would be to remove the inbuilt three-month wait before a WCA is carried out. This wait is actively damaging for those without a recent job, as it delays the point at which a person’s focus switches from benefit entitlement to a return to work.

 

I know this is long winded but  it is important to those who need to understand the thinking behind the neoliberal fuckup they face in a future government. It isn’t about you the individual its about them getting as many into work as possible (not that is bad thing if you can) and reducing the welfare bill, while handing out more contracts for others to make a mint ,in my opinion they are no better than people traffickers to make a fast buck in this case for for the 1%.

 

http://www.ippr.org/publications/the-condition-of-britain-strategies-for-social-renewal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is a Pig not a Pig? When you put lipstick on !


atos assist

So everyone who is disabled/job seeker, or worker is celebrating the mighty ATOS falling from grace ? I think they shouldn’t be so quick to jump up and down as a pig is still a pig regardless of putting lipstick on it.

Today the news is full of their demise, but hello folks they are still in charge of PIP assessments and contracting private enterprises in  Occupational Healthcare and still owning the rights to LIMA software where the tick box exercise  ‘one size fits all’ scenario will continue. They are still in charge of running multiple IT contracts in government departments and HMRC and a multitude of other things, so they haven’t really gone away have they? So all the celebrations are a falsehood. (See my other two blogs re atos links.)

http://blog.atoshealthcare.com/2014/03/atos-healthcare-clarification-for-esa-claimants-about-todays-announcement/

http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/atos-healthcare/pressreleases/early-exit-from-wca-contract-977418

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/atoss-departure-isnt-enough-fit-work-tests-arent-working

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/benefits-assessments-atos-quits-government-3290777

 http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/March_2014/27%20March/32-DWP-Atos.pdf   (DWP Statement from Mike Penning)

 

Today they launched a You Tube Channel

http://blog.atoshealthcare.com/2013/11/launching-the-new-atos-healthcare-youtube-channel/

 

Today the Minister for Disabled Mike Penning said ”

The DWP said to ensure a smooth transition, one national provider will be appointed early next year to take over the contract. In the longer term it is intended to move to multiple providers to increase competition.

Mike Penning, Minister for Disabled People, said: “The previous government appointed Atos as the sole provider for carrying out Work Capability Assessments and since then we have carried out several independent reviews and made significant improvements to the assessment.

“Today we are announcing that we are seeking a new provider to replace Atos, with the view to increasing the number of assessments and reducing waiting times.

“I am pleased to confirm that Atos will not receive a single penny of compensation from the taxpayer for the early termination of their contract, quite the contrary, Atos has made a substantial financial settlement to the department.”

Anyone who suffered at the hands of this provider knows full well while Labour brought ATOS in the Condems rewrote contracts and made tests tougher because they thought it was ‘too soft’ ! They set Atos  impossible targets from the  initial contract which they denied and it is now at stage where they cannot recruit HCP’s hence the backdown and backlog. So realistically Atos are scapegoats for this mess along with Labour because the Condems couldn’t run a Chimpanzee’s Teaparty! While Atos are complicit in facts that they brought about their own demise by reports not being accurate ,cancelling appointments at short notice, losing this contract will be no great shakes for them, probably relief if anything, after claiming their staff were threatened by protesters yet we are still waiting to see that evidence from Atos via a FOI which I still haven’t received a response.

So the new provider will probably come from  the governments other three main contractors G4S,Serco, Capita. As Capita already do some assessments they are probably front runners. One question nobody is asking what happens about LIMA software the HCP’s use?  Have  Atos come to a deal for that still to be used by other providers or have they pulled that rug from under governments feet, or are they going to allow others to pay for right to use it only time will tell but you can bet I’m watching closely and will find out one way or another.