Why? Because I believe utterly that "By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone....in a society in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few." Because the party that Keir Hardy imagined spoke for those who didn't have that luxury and empowered them to stand together against oppression or injustice. Because, growing up, it was endlessly clear that a Conservative government didn't speak for the weak and vulnerable and never would.
Over 13 years of a Labour government, I watched various groups become disillusioned and stop voting for us. On the doorstep, I heard a litany of complaints from lifelong Labour voters and over time, I began to dread knocking on the doors of my natural allies more than those of Conservatives or "Don't Knows." PFIs, Academy schools, Iraq, Tuition fees, 10p tax, Immigration - one by one, Labour seemed to turn it's back on the people it had always sought to protect. We all make mistakes, especially over 13 years, but the ones that damaged my party most were the ones where the leadership showed they actually had no real concept of what it means, in their hearts, to be Labour. Time and time again, I met puzzled faces and heard "How can they not see? How can they be Labour politicians and not automatically know what's wrong with this?"
For years, I found arguments in favour of what was, occasionally indefensible, but what should REALLY terrify Douglas Alexander this morning is that I was a Blairite. I agreed with many of the changes, felt they made Labour a more viable party of government, and in some cases, were long, long overdue. What mattered to me was that underpinning any policies, there MUST be a true understanding of people's lives and a genuine desire to help them, not abandon them.
When Labour bought in ESA, it was clearly not fit for purpose. You were either "Disabled" or "Fit for Work", there was no provision for those who were long term sick. The Work Capability Group was actually a good idea in theory, but the so-called support disabled and sick people could expect just wasn't there. The jobs just weren't available and co-operation with employers just wasn't sought. The assessments were conducted by a private company, using assessors who weren't even doctors, tasked with deciding who were and weren't sick enough to work. I lobbied the disability minister, Jonathan Shaw endlessly, but he never even bothered to reply.
Recent figures from the DWP, show that just 6% of those being assessed for ESA are put into the Support Group. 39% have been found capable of work and have been turned down completely. 36% of claims have been closed and no-one knows what has happened to them - not even the DWP. Just 15% are put into the Work Capability Group, in theory, entitled to support and training to help them into work. (3% of claims are ongoing). Recently, the public accounts committee published a report which found that using private sector companies in the Pathways to Work Scheme ( the scheme entrusted with getting sick and disabled people back to work) had "Universally failed."
"Under the programme, launched in 2005, private sector companies were brought in to target those on incapacity benefit to see if they were fit for work – and to find them a job.
MPs found the private providers had "seriously underperformed" and had lower success rates than Jobcentre Plus.
There is no evidence that any of the 125,000 people who came off incapacity benefits in the same period did so as a result of the programme, the report says."I ask anyone reading this, to tell me, hand on heart, that they believe that of the 2.6 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit, only 6% of claimants are unable to work. I published some figures a while ago about how many people actually suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities in the UK. It is far from a comprehensive list, but might give you some idea of why all claimants aren't "scroungers" or "lazy".
"around 3.7 million people have lung disease, 2.6 million people have diabetes, 180,000 people suffer from bowel disease, 5.4 million people suffer from asthma, 2.6 million live with heart disease, around 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with cancer, 1800 babies a year are born with cerebral palsy, 640,000 people live with schizophrenia, 820,000 live with Alzheimers or dementia, 19,000 receive dialysis for kidney failure, 23,000 are deaf blind, around 40,000 people have suffered a spinal injury and 8,500 people suffer from cystic fibrosis, 200,000 suffer from ME and 100,000 from MS. Whilst only scratching the surface, we're heading towards 18 million already, yet only 2.4 million people claim ESA. That's at least 15 million people living with a severe illness or disability not claiming anything at all. **ESA is not fit for purpose. There is nothing else to say. Labour - you made a mistake. The intention may have been good, but it failed. Douglas Alexander said yesterday :
"We will take time to listen and learn from our defeat. And apply our thinking afresh to the challenges of the future......election defeat is an instruction to face up to weaknesses as well as strengths.Five months or so after an election defeat and five years or so before the next election is not yet the time to write a manifesto. Labour must start by going back to more fundamental questions. What do we stand for? What sort of country do we want Britain to be?"
Indeed Douglas, fine words. Sadly, you also said that you already agreed with "
"Pathways to Work, using the private and voluntary sector to provide back to work support, with payment by results...and proposals such as; reforming the DLA gateway, continuing the IB to ESA transition and continuing to drive down fraud (and).... a role for private and voluntary providers. Funding based on outcomes not processes.....Virtually everyone on benefits should be on an active journey towards work."
Which makes it fairly clear that you've made your mind up.
I think the phrase that made me most furious was:
" But let me give you an example of where the government have got it flat wrong. Their proposal for a 10 per cent cut in housing benefit for people unable to find work for 12 months is both unfair and the wrong approach. If someone is trying their very best to find work – going to interviews, sending off applications, turning up at the Jobcentre – then taking 10 per cent of the money they need to pay the rent is just unfair"
Indeed it is Douglas, but during the CSR, Mr Osborne announced that anyone put into the Work Capability Group of ESA, who has not found work after one year would lose 100% of their benefits if they had a working partner. Do please, explain to me, how "If someone is trying their very best to find work – going to interviews, sending off applications, turning up at the Jobcentre" taking 100% of their benefits is not unfair?? Or was this just a little oversight in your speech? At a time when anywhere between 490,000 and 1.6 million jobs are estimated to be lost, could you explain just why an employer might choose me over a healthy applicant?
If you're in any doubt why it is unfair that those who already support and care for sick and disabled partners should be totally responsible for their financial support, no matter how little they earn, perhaps you should read "Dave's Story" :
Carer Watch have concluded that :
"the covenant on welfare seems to have been broken. They (ESA claimants) have been caught up as collateral damage in this push back to work and they feel very afraid.They had never expected that the Conservative, Labour and LibDem Parties would all abandon them like this. No party is demonstrating any understanding of their situation or offering them any reassurance or protection. They cannot believe that all three main parties continue to sign up to the delusion that they can be forced back to work by pressure and removal of benefits. Unrealistic and cavalier talk of ‘helping’ them in to work is ill informed and adds to their fears that politicians do not understand the reality of caring, illness and disability.” Carer Watch.
Comment after comment on this very blog tells me that none of the main political parties care about this issue.
And "Puff!" there go another 2.6 million voters Mr Alexander. Maybe a few more activists like me. Because if there is anyone in society you should be protecting, anyone Labour should instinctively know they should protect, anyone that needs you and our party desperately today, it is these sick and disabled and frightened people.
Admit you got it wrong on ESA. Take the hit. Come up with solutions and most of all, do what you claim you will do and LISTEN. Now, before it is too late - or give up the name Labour and all it stands for.
In the end, you see, there will be no-one left. No-one who believes you are any different to the Conservatives. No-one who doesn't expect you to let them down on every promise, just as the LibDems have. I heard it every day of the campaign. "they're all the same, they're all the same THEY'RE ALL THE SAME." The words should ring in your ears, you should not need suggestions for government when people up and down the country are suffering and frightened.
By all means support the "Squeezed Middle" but if, in the process, you decide the rest are all "Feckless Poor" then admit you are, in fact, Tories. Make the same dazzling conversion on the Road to Damascus that has overcome Mr Clegg and leave Labour to her true supporters.
And to Ed Miliband I say - You are not Labour. I am Labour and so are the millions of people who came out to vote for and canvass on behalf of our party on May 6th. You represent us, you do not decide to mould us in your image. You decide on policy with us in mind, not with one eye on the Daily Mail, and one eye on the opinion polls. Do what is right and the votes will follow. Most of all, reshape my party, our party so that I don't hear that endless refrain on the doorsteps next time "They're all the same."
I, and other bloggers, politicians, journalists and charities will make this an issue. We will campaign with every ounce of strength until this terrible, terrible removal of ALL benefits from the most vulnerable people in society is reversed and ESA is overhauled. It would be a dreadful state of affairs if Labour are not there, campaigning with us, side by side, if they choose this issue to prove once and for all, that they really are "all the same."
**All figures taken from relevant charity research.
I agree wholeheartedly. I've only been a member of the Labour Party since July, but I've been very disheartened by the recent statements by various MPs, including Douglas and Ed.ReplyDelete
I've contacted shadow ministers and tried to find out what happened to the disabled members' group and how to resurrect it, but noone has responded to me.
It feels like the party doesn't want to listen to its disabled members. Its an alienating experience.
Brilliant post, absolutely brilliant. I can only hope they take your words, and those of others saying the same thing, to heart. Give us back our Labour party, the true Labour party that Keir Hardie fought to make.ReplyDelete
So true there all a shambles if you ask me and a disgrace to a so called civilized societyReplyDelete
If i knew back in my younger days before i started work in the bank of England what i know now i would have gone into politics and probably according to my mp been very successful i may add
If I may, can I ask you to do all you can to share this? I am determined Douglas Alexander and Ed Miliband must read this.
Sue...Why not do a bit of creative editing, and post it to IDS, or Ministers in the Tory party, the chance of picking up a couple of million voters might appeal to their more pragmatic instincts....! Good luck, but I don't think Ed M has a great deal of emotional intelligence, you would do better with Ed B, now there is a firebrand.ReplyDelete
That's enough for one day Ken!!ReplyDelete
Just so I can understand what you are driving at :-
""around 3.7 million people have lung disease, 2.6 million people have diabetes, 180,000 people suffer from bowel disease, 5.4 million people suffer from asthma, 2.6 million live with heart disease, around 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with cancer, 1800 babies a year are born with cerebral palsy, 640,000 people live with schizophrenia, 820,000 live with Alzheimers or dementia, 19,000 receive dialysis for kidney failure, 23,000 are deaf blind, around 40,000 people have suffered a spinal injury and 8,500 people suffer from cystic fibrosis, 200,000 suffer from ME and 100,000 from MS. Whilst only scratching the surface, we're heading towards 18 million already, yet only 2.4 million people claim ESA. That's at least 15 million people living with a severe illness or disability not claiming anything at all. **"
Are you making a case for welfare benefit for people who have -for example-Asthma, "lung disease" , "heart disease", cerebral palsy -regardless of their ability to work.
I have known-and know people in all those categories who work. THe have medication, medical aids , and/or sheer bloody determination.
"anyone put into the Work Capability Group of ESA, who has not found work after one year would lose 100% of their benefits if they had a working partner."
Putting aside just for a moment, the vexed question of the rate & speed at which benefit is withdrawn-can you confirm that people on JSA , having passed the six months contribution based time limit, would-if they have a working partner, not be entitled to continued JSA?
If that is the case -& I believe it is-then ESA withdrawal , given a working partner-after 12 months is more generous than the JSA rule.
THe EXISTING principle therefore seems to be that the welfare system will not provide a second household income.
In essence -is it this which you object to ?
You compare those on JSA to those on ESA and talk about principals.
Maybe we should try should try empathising. Picture someone who is receiving JSA and looking for work. This will be difficult enough if you are fit and healthy depending on your qualifications, experience, skills and location, but doubly so if you have a health condition that limits what work you can do, or you are confronting employer ignorance or predudice or you may not be able to work at all.
And yet you refer to some arbitrary limit of no second income for all of the above, without addressing what the first income should be.
Why do you blues focus so much on the number of household incomes or maximum amount of household incomes but at the same time make no reference of the cost of living for the same housholds?
Do any of these benefits have a component that is supposed to pay for care, treatments, therapies, equipment, special diets, etc? You have touched before that not all of this is provided on the NHS.
If you read my post, I wasn't expressing an opinion at all.
I was trying to understand what the central element of Sue's wishes are , particularly in the context of her consistent listing of various illnesses.
I wanted to understand if :
a) I am correct in believing that JSA is withdrawn after six months in the event of a partner in work.
b) THe same principle is now to be applied to ESA ( work capable), but after 12 months
c) whether it is the principle apparent in both policies, with regard to household income, that Sue objects to.
"or you may not be able to work at all"
In which case you will not lose benefit -will you?
Is that correct ?.
I'm not in a position to be able to answer your last question. Could the situation be different in practise than in theory?
I have not been a member of the Labour Party. Grew up working class with expectations and beliefs and hopes in a better life and combat inequality and stop violence and sexual abuse. The Labour Party from the start supported the man's right to rule his home with violence and the right of men to violently attack women and have sex with children. That was and has been my experience and remains so. I have been as healthy as I can be and worked hard and beena good grafter and worker like all working class. Unions never supported women's rights they had to be forced and pushed and still get out of it or side with management if issue of discrimination or harassment. I have no faith in either or any and the Lib Dems have shown again what they are - turncoats and cowards once they get in power or have any influence.ReplyDelete
But I have confidence in people. People have changed and shaped this country and the values and ideas.
Individually and silentlu and invisibly we can influence and change nothing, and no newspaper or TV media or politician is really interested unless they get something out of it. The coverage and representation of disabled and effect on disabled of cuts is token. They have decided to make us invisble. and non of us can stand up without being attackd and knocked down. If protests to govt disabled details are sent to DWP for a good process or reassessment and dissecting and appeal.
I suggest that everyone makes and collects and short video of themselves and the effects of the cuts, maybe using powerpoint from you PC. Then we construct a way layers and bricks of testimony can be projected onto a wall or even the side of govt buildings and parliament and town halls. "Wall of Witness. Wall of Noise." Network and collect as many testimonies and personal stories as possible. Saturate them with the witness. We and many are being ignored or used for others politics. Not unions or Labour or LIb Dems care we are just fodder and pawns. Get the stats and data from all everyone's own area and town. and get as many witnesses as possible. And also say where the services area bag of shit and useless and worthless and how it could be a whole lot better and cheaper with half a brain.
You've read my posts before this I know.
6% of IB assessed for ESA are found "not able to work at all," Up and down the country, seriously sick people are being found "fit for work" by a private company incentivised to do so.
There have been 10s of thousands of appeals upheld Colin.
So yes, you could well lose your benefit despite being extremely unwell and the appeals cost the taxpayer millions.
I know you're intelligent Colin, so surely it's clear that by listing all of these conditions,l I am pointing out just how many people do what you say and get by on sheer "bloody determination". THE OTHER 2.6 MILLION ARE PROBABLY THE VERY WORST AFFECTED AND JUST CAN'T what's so hard to understand about that? Sure there are cheats, so go out and catch them but assuming that 94% of existing claimants are fit to work is simply ridiculous.
I think, Colin, you should think for a moment about the difference between being ill and being disabled too. How can someone with a long term variable condition possibly know when they will or won't be able to work????
Perhaps you should read posts like "pain" "how sick is too sick" and "Dave's story" again.
Most of the conditions I listed can be mild or severe - someone with Crohn's like me might respond well to treatment and never have another episode. Others like me won't and will be seriously ill forever. Some with arthritis will get a little twinge now and then, some will be in a wheelchair in their teens in permanent, unspeakable pain. Some with asthma will get the odd attack, others, like my nephew will die suddenly. These conditions aren't easily classified and the assessment often doesn't take account of these things.
You know what? When a government has got something terribly wrong, they should welcome advice from those with experience. When your own party gets it wrong it is your duty, imo to tell them. Any politician or supporter who tries to defend the indefensible just shows their party up.
As for JSA, I haven't got a clue. I care about ESA Colin, and the people put into the WCG are still sick or disabled, they are just considered able to do some kind of work with support. The system doesn't give them that support, so how can they possibly compete with able bodied applicants? Don't tell me it's the law, because I don't have a wheelchair to fight a court case in. Whenever I applied for jobs and lied about the Crohn's I was offered the job, whenever I was honest I was not. You decide. Is it a level playing field? Of course not.
You would be doing your party, your daughter and people like me a huge service if you saw how wrong this is.
One last thought. Your daughter is obviously very brave and lucky to have your love and support. What if things had been a bit worse? What if she had had to go into care. What if she relied totally on DLA mobility to get about? And this government wanted to take it away? Wicked isn't it.
I love Barbara Castle - you might be surprised if you read what she did for women and families.
As for your points about video blogging, you're quite right and there is a brilliant site doing just that http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.com
If you'd like to share your story, please do and we aim to present them as you say, with maximum impact.
What a wonderful, wonderful post. I am a Labour party member and I am disgusted to the point of incandescent rage with regards to ESA. I am lucky. Despite many health problems, including being deaf, I am able to work and I am grateful that that is the case. My father, however, is a severely disabled man and through his struggles to access the support he needed I have witnessed the scandal of ESA second-hand. Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever conceived that such a disgraceful, intolerant and flawed policy would emerge from within the party I love. Yvette Cooper should hand her head in shame for the fear and the alienation she has instilled in countless thousands of sick and disabled people across this country thanks to her policies. It is not right that the Labour Party forms policies in order to chase votes. It is right that the Labour Party forms policies that are right. It's as simple as that. I cannot write as I would like as this issue instils such anger in me that I consciously censor my true feelings but my party hurt me. It hurt my family. I will never forgive it for that. If this country needs a Tea Party Movement then so be it. I would sooner my party lead the fight on these issues but Douglas' words leave me feeling this won't be the case. I will fight this disgraceful policy and the continued support of it with every fibre of my being. Thank you for this blog post and for making me, and my family, realise we are not alone.ReplyDelete
Colin people transfered from IB to JSA will be means tested straight away, they do not get any time limit, people transfered to ESA who are known to have a disability but can work with help, can stay on ESA for life, but after twelve months the ESA will become means tested .ReplyDelete
I think it's pretty obvious now that people are having benefits cuts, not job interviews.
After ten years of my Job center hunt, then being sent to numerous so called job providers I've not had a single job interview.
I have to date filed in 850 job application through the job center, Remploy, and the Shaw Trust, Remploy and the Shaw trust moved out of the area stating not enought employers were interested. A new company then started one which was given £2.5 million it employed sixteen people none of which were disabled to find employers for people, it lasted two years and it failed to find work for anyone.
The simple fact is why would an employer want somebody with heart problems breathing problems or in fact did not want to work, employers make profits they are no social workers.
I think you speak on behalf of everyone mark and there is not much more to addReplyDelete
Other then for me to say if i was fit i would have left the country as living in a country where the politician's of the day take such a dislike to our cause and blame us for everything is not really a country that a normal person would wish to live in
@ Miss BReplyDelete
"Unions never supported women's rights they had to be forced and pushed and still get out of it or side with management if issue of discrimination or harassment"
As a TU representative I do not identify with your experiences. Quite the contrary.
@fourbanks Thank you very much for kind response. When we approached ESA with my father it necessitated that I get an overview of the benefit as the DWP simply did not take into account how overwhelming the experience of claiming ESA can be for those that are severely unwell. My father worked all his life from school leaving age till his late fifties. In the last few years of his employment it was clear to all that he was becoming so unwell that work was a serious risk to his health and an intervention from the family finally made him accept the seriousness of his condition. He is a proud man and he never wanted this to be his fate. He has Asthma, Bronchiectasis, Heart Failure, Primary Immunodeficiency Disease, Allergic Pulmonary Aspergillosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Hypertension, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome and numerous other conditions to boot. The daily cocktail of drugs he needs to survive has ravaged his body. He bleeds from the slightest knock, his bones are so damaged he requires daily morphine for the pain and is unable to walk. My father was judged fit to work and placed in the Work Capability work related activity group. Despite the sheer odds that faced him, he made it to the first interview this placing necessitated and the lady from DWP was so shocked by the state of his health upon presentation that she begun the process of moving him into the support group there and then.ReplyDelete
The outcome was good for my father in the end but his treatment during the assessment phase was akin to bullying. I have heard of mental health patients who have attempted suicide as a direct result of the pressures they have endured in their attempts to claim this benefit.
The stories, hundreds of them, that my father's treatment inspired me to search for stunned me. The most severely ill people in our society are being judged fit for work and left without support. Again, I am going to stop short of writing much more as my ire is rising.
ESA was wrong and remains wrong and the news that Douglas intends to continue to support it has caused me to speak out against my beloved party for the first time in 19 years.
It's a sad day folks. The warmest of wishes to all of you.
I just have to post this comment from Facebook. I am honoured that so many people tonight are responding in this way and if we all do what Peter is doing we can make this an issue. If our friends and families do to, we can make it THE issue.ReplyDelete
We are politics, us, the people, we just forgot.
"Sue, i'm posting it everywhere including MP, MSP and Euro Mp's facebook pages. Probably won't endear me to anyone but what the hell. we need more people doing it which is why i'm trying to get people to read this as it articulates best how disabled people are feeling. Many like me are Labour Loyalists, your a Labour Loyalist and right ...now we feel abandoned. But its more than that. We are genuinely feeling scared. We aren't strong enough to fight on our own, we're prepared to fight, we're prepared to do our bit but we need help. In the past we thought we could look to the Labour Party for that help. But Labour has turned its back on us. That being the case where do we look to now, the press are demonising us, government minister are domonising us and even Douglas Alexander is turning his back on us. We didn't cause the crisis but we're paying a heavy price for it"
This post is being read by hundreds of people every hour. Thank you all so much.
Thanks for your response :-
"So yes, you could well lose your benefit despite being extremely unwell and the appeals cost the taxpayer millions."
Is benefit withdrawn whilst the appeal is underway?
Are you saying that the medical assessments are fundamentally flawed?
May I ask if you think yours has been?
" by listing all of these conditions,l I am pointing out just how many people do what you say and get by on sheer "bloody determination". "
I didn't say that Sue.
I said that people with Asthma , Arthritis or Cerebral Palsy for example are not neccessarily unable to work-they take medication, they have medical aids & their conditions vary over a massive spectrum..
I'm sorry but you seem to be trying to construct a picture of millions of people with illnesses, for which the NHS prescribes treatments, as incapable of work, regardless of the degree of their illness .
You are equating "illness" & "disability" with complete incapacity.
I don't accept this picture at all-it is far too crude & simplistic.
Many people with illness clearly do have grit & determination-simply to carry on with their lives, let alone go to work.
"the difference between being ill and being disabled too. How can someone with a long term variable condition possibly know when they will or won't be able to work????"
Your posts have helped me understand that Sue.
But I have to ask again-are you telling me that the medical assessments of work capability ignore these variabilities?, Is it really a case of how you are on that day, rather than the medical diagnosis & your long term symptoms?
If that is the way it is being done then that is clearly wrong.
"Whenever I applied for jobs and lied about the Crohn's I was offered the job, whenever I was honest I was not"
THat is very depressing. I am amazed that an employer would not consider someone with Crohns. My niece-who has the condition- has been more lucky than you with her employer.
May I ask-assuming you accepted some of those jobs-did your employer's attitude change after he became aware of your illness?
"What if she had had to go into care. What if she relied totally on DLA mobility to get about?"
She does rely on DLA ( mobility component) to get about . She uses it to fund her numerous calls on the local taxi service.
She will have to go into care at some point in the future-she knows that. Her hip dislocates at will-usually when she is trying to transfer to the loo. She has had one hip replacement-and now needs another.THe success of the operation is questionable because of the muscle spasming.
So she is living on borrowed time-but she has two children to bring up & get to adulthood -on her own ( she is divorced).
Meanwhile she is doing a second degree- in theology this time ( psychology first time) & plans to become ordained. I hope that God offers her a job if IDS doesn't renew her temporary contract at JobCentre.
As to her future independence-she tries not to think about it. She gets on with things as she finds them.
Mark - Lovely, lovely posts, thank you so much. Would you mind if I sent your last comment to http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.comReplyDelete
It is a site for testimonials like yours and your comments are so powerful an so typical.
If you'd rather do it yourself, just let me know.
I'm unspeakably happy that this post has been such a success, thank you.
"The outcome was good for my father in the end but his treatment during the assessment phase was akin to bullying."
I am glad for him that it was.
The process you describe was unforgivable
Sue, thank YOU. Thank you for speaking out for the vulnerable and for those who are often to ill to speak for themselves in a manner that is listened too. Please share comments wherever you feel appropriate if it will in any way in your efforts to raise attention to the plight of the disabled in Britain today. I am currently emailing links to your article to every Labour party member on my contacts list and will continue to do so. We need to be heard and we will be heard. Again, my thanks.ReplyDelete
@Colin Thank you so much for your kind words. My father is enduring another bout of pneumonia at the moment so my nerves are a little raw and the kind words of folk like you really do matter.ReplyDelete
I recall that during the assessment phase two of his consultants contacted ATOS to explain their sincere concern that the journey to and from the medical centre would be to much for him. My father was told if he did not attend he would lose his money and his claim would be terminated. I have never endured such fear as I did in the days prior to his medical and on the day I was beside myself. It was one of the most soul destroying moments of my life as I saw my poor father treated like political collateral despite his health by the party I love. When they declared him capable of work and explained that he would be forced to attend further interviews or lose his benefit I have never experienced such a feeling of disillusionment or powerlessness in my life. I hope for a better experience for others and I hope for some sanity from our party and I ask Douglas this: when was it decided that the judgement of Doctors was so worthless? If four Consultants deem a man not fit for work what more is there to be said on the matter? What need is there for further distress to the lives of severely sick people? Let the medical staff decide a patients suitability for work not a government endorsed bonus-chasing outfit like ATOS. It really is inconceivable that a three-day-trained nurse can overturn the opinions of highly trained specialists at the pinnacle of their careers. Sheer insanity. Sorry for the rambling folks.
Mark - You are SOOO not rambling.ReplyDelete
You're sharing your experiences of this and unless people do that, it doesn't mean anything.
Every time it is someone's life affected, their children frightened, the system failing, it speaks for itself.
Colin - A moment of warmth - I am passionate about this, but it's because if anyone has fought it is me. If anyone would give ANYTHING to work, it is me and if the system did what it said, I would have been so, so happy.
It doesn't and people are being hurt and abandoned every day.
I actually have some very pro-active suggestions that I think you will approve of (coming soon....) so I'm not all about the moaning!
Sue you are very right to post this for three main reasons..ReplyDelete
Red blue and yellow voters were left without a counter argument to the fact that there was an infinite amount of spongers on DLA (or equivalent). An oceanful of potential monies to be saved. Thus, people you seek to defend ahve no voice...
Also, the logic of your argument makes sense... what is good for the goose (10% sufferers) is good for the ganfer (ESA claimants)
Third, and one which is increasingly getting my goat. What in the anme of good fect ever happened political principle. You will know that I never backed Ed Mili.... I have not given up on him, but by feck he is trying my patience....
good post Sue- Well done!!!!
Eoin - My hubby, who is Irish, just literally rolled on the floor laughing.ReplyDelete
Thanks by the way. In one day it is the most read post on my site and has literally taken on a life of it's own. It's fascinating to watch.
You just never know Eoin, all may not be lost :)
Peter!!! That's incredible! I just signed it and I'll post about it as my blog tomorrow and send it to all the supportive sites.ReplyDelete
You know what? This is how a movement begins :):):)
This is from an FOI question I asked.ReplyDelete
Amongst all the uncertainties, what is clear is that ATOS Healthcare4 will have a heavy
workload over the next three years. The expectation to assess 1.6 million existing
Incapacity Benefit claimants over the next three years, equating to 41,000 per month, is
an ambitious target. It is particularly ambitious considering that DWP statistics show that
of the 166,300 who were found fit for work under the current assessment (by June 2009)
, a third of those people appealed against this decision. This review of the situation is
timely, particularly given the current backlog of 50,000 assessments.5 Evidence to date
has already highlighted that two thirds of all appeals heard have had the decision
overturned in favour of the claimant
Sorry to be ignorant Robert - is that your question or their answer? DID they answer?ReplyDelete
Thats the answer, the question was brought about by the CBI saying 75% of people going through the new medical were found fit to work.ReplyDelete
I found that to be a bit of a worry and I thought that cannot be right.
Turns out it was a bit of spin .
They had failed to point out that out of the 75,000 who had failed the medical 50,000 had won the appeal.
The appeal which is independent are seeing the new ESA medical not taking into account medical evidence.
Wow. So recent then. Do keep me posted on he reply.ReplyDelete
" Let the medical staff decide a patients suitability for work not a government endorsed bonus-chasing outfit like ATOS. It really is inconceivable that a three-day-trained nurse can overturn the opinions of highly trained specialists at the pinnacle of their careers. Sheer insanity"
Your experience leads to that conclusion.
"If anyone would give ANYTHING to work, it is me and if the system did what it said, I would have been so, so happy. "
I'm sorry that it failed you Sue.
Today the government has stated everyone on JSA will work doing community work, I suspect this will be looking after the sick and the disabled I suspect.ReplyDelete
30 hours a week for £65 a week cheap labour, if they have these jobs in the community then make them real jobs and pay them the rate of pay.
otherwise it is cheap Labour not forgetting this will include carers who are transfered to JSA.
" Today the government has stated everyone on JSA will work doing community work,"
Not according to the reports I just read Robert.
As I understand it the proposal is that benefit claimants who refuse to undertake training programmes or take job offers will be required to accept thirty-hour-per-week placements .
That is quite different to what you posted.
Does it seem unreasonable to you Robert ?
Colin - Once more then.ReplyDelete
By posting the numbers of people affected by certain conditions, I'm trying to make the very opposite point you seem to think I am.
I'll use the examples you used.
Asthma : Of course, millions of people function with it very well.; As you say, they take medication which works for them and are rarely troubled, hence, presumably, they work.
A percentage will have terrible asthma though Colin. They will not be able to walk more than a few steps, medication will be ineffective, and like my 12 year old nephew a few weeks a go, a massive attack will kill them. THESE are the percentage I suggest claim benefits, hence the anomaly between the millions who are sick or disabled in some way and the relatively few who rely on state help.
Arthritis - Do you not realise just how variable this condition is? My Mum has had arthritis all her life. Now that she is in her 60s she gets pain and it is often troubling, but she has never even taken medication for it.
A friend at university (Rugby player, beautiful looking, very clever) was diagnosed in our final year, degenerated very quickly and was in a wheelchair suffering excruciating pain a year after we left uni. He'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Some simply won't respond to any medication Colin, there are no magic bullets.
As for cerebral palsy, you obviously know much more about it than me, but some will be mildly affected, others will be totally disabled.
I simply make the point that all of these conditions are variable. of course I don't claim the state should be paying for them all! that's silly! I simply conclude that if over 18 million have some kind of sickness or disability, it seems logical that 2.6 million may be badly enough affected to need state assistance.
As for another question, yes, the assessments are flawed.
They DO ask the questions as though it is your worst day, so that helps with the variable conditions, but then you are asked if you can pick up a pen or walk across the room! Of course I can I've got crohn's.
Again, you say you know someone with crohn's who works, well of course, so do I. I also know several people who have been so severely affected that they will never work again. They have lost so much bowel through surgery that they will be fed forever through a central line into their heart.
The simple (and rather uncomfortable truth) is, if I went to an employer in a wheelchair, or because I was blind, there it is, in black and white and much assistance is available. If I went to an employer with crohn's, then like you, they might assume I could take meds and be fine, they would probably have little concept of how the condition really affects someone like me and there is no assistance available at all.
These new measures as set out by the government could be overturned by the EU if bullying or any form of cruelty or ill treatment was being imposed upon those concerned IE the sick and disabledReplyDelete
So a letter to your mep would be helpful to start the ball rolling
i mean there will be those that take their own life along the way and the politician's of the day at a latter date can be held to book for crimes that have been committed against other human beings
The EU is very powerful at the end of the day
What i mean is just like in any form of persecution of other's the government can always say they played no part in someone's downfall and blame others at a local level in which invariably that is true.ReplyDelete
However Someone not professionally qualified who makes a judgment as to someones fitness to work who then shortly after woods dies has indeed committed a criminal offense and any personal lawyer will tell you that so as i say the death record of all of the sick and disabled will need to carefully monitored by whoever i myself don't have a clue who that should be
By the time all of this is finished the death toll from those committing suicide and being forced to work and then passing away will run into thousands that's for sure and it's imperative that a record be kept to bring those guilty to stand trial at a latter date
People people people! Colin mate it's hard not to fall into your trap sometimes mate, Troll does come close to my defination of your comments mate.ReplyDelete
Over 18 million working days are lost to asthma each year.
• There are four times as many people with asthma in the UK than with diabetes.
• 1.2 million people with asthma experience significant restrictions on their daily lives because of asthma.
• For 42% of people with asthma (2.1 million) their condition requires constant or repeated attention and their daily life is affected by a range of symptoms.
• Approximately 21% of people with asthma (1.1 million) experience severe restrictions while jogging or running.
• Approximately 17% of people with asthma (860,000) have severe difficulty walking upstairs or uphill.
• Up to 40% of people with asthma are sensitive to pet allergens.
• Up to 85% of people with asthma (4.3 million) are sensitive to house-dust mites.
To put this in place in the UK 3 to 6 people die each day from the illness.
Asthma can be mild, turning to severe, turning to chronic. The drugs used to treat this illness are powerful, but for god sake do not generalize about illness like this.
Lots of people with this illness do not work because they are severely ill....
However Someone not professionally qualified who makes a judgment as to someones fitness to work who then shortly after woods dies has indeed committed a criminal offense and any personal lawyer will tell you that so as i say the death record of all of the sick and disabled will need to carefully monitored by whoever i myself don't have a clue who that should beReplyDelete
These people have gone through a training program most are nurses, anyone who tells me a nurse is not sufficient to do this task of course it depends on the nurses training.
Most nurses are as highly trained as a doctor, so I would be willing to see a nurse.
As for suicide sadly people do end their lives and if they already have a mental health problem then sad as it might sound nothing will be said about it.
In the end the law is made by governments we would normally have a choice in the old days if you were disabled you knew you had labour, sadly labour these days are a carbon copy of the Tories.
Labour are more interested in fighting the loss of child benefit for the rich then fighting for the sick and the disabled.
"yes, the assessments are flawed.
They DO ask the questions as though it is your worst day"
Then that is wrong-you are right to fight it.
" I don't claim the state should be paying for them all! that's silly"
Good-we agree-though I would put it quit differently-Many many people with disability & long term illness do not want to be considered totally incapacitated-it is insulting to them ,and do not conduct their lives as though they are.
But I would agree with you that they need opportunities on a level playing field-& it is often very unlevel.
I can't comment on employers' attitudes to people with Crohn's-I only know of one example-and that , as I said , is not a bar to employment.
However the condition clearly has a spectrum.
It is the Individual which Matters in my book. AS long as we ( me/you/the government) don't use oversimplistic generalisations to stereotype people with disability & illness-and give them the dignity & respect of considering their personal circumstances & objectives-that's all I ask.
Robert-I don't quite know why you provide me with that data.
I repeat-if the Individual is unable to do work of any kind because of disability or long term illness , then -so far as I am concerned-the State should help them.
So it follows that the State must assess the entitlement fot that help-I don't have a problem with that either.
But I get a picture from some contributors here that the assessment is not truly focussed on the Individual's condition.
If that is really true across the piece then it is wrong-and must be changed.
The bottom line in this are that all of those that are sick and disabled are conceded individually and that all degrees of illness and disability are not put in a ball park where one illness ranks higher than another as the person concerned may suffer widely from someone else with the same condition as no two people are the same and never will beReplyDelete
A great article Sue, but just a slight correction on these stats:ReplyDelete
""around 3.7 million people have lung disease, 2.6 million people have diabetes, 180,000 people suffer from bowel disease, 5.4 million people suffer from asthma, 2.6 million live with heart disease, around 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with cancer, 1800 babies a year are born with cerebral palsy, 640,000 people live with schizophrenia, 820,000 live with Alzheimers or dementia, 19,000 receive dialysis for kidney failure, 23,000 are deaf blind, around 40,000 people have suffered a spinal injury and 8,500 people suffer from cystic fibrosis, 200,000 suffer from ME and 100,000 from MS. Whilst only scratching the surface, we're heading towards 18 million already"
We're probably not heading for 18 million, as many individuals live with more than one serious illness or disability (or more than one diagnosis - eg millions with COPD and asthma)
On the other hand, with the exception of schizophrenia, you do not count mental illnesses, so there are millions with clinical depression, anxiety disorders, serious OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline PD and many other conditions who you could throw into the list.
You're absolutely right Ally. I think the figure is supposed to be 10 million and you're quite right to say some will have multiple conditions.ReplyDelete
As you say though, it is by no means a comprehensive list, they were just the first few conditions that I thought of as I wrote the article.
if your wondering why i haven't joined your follower's list sue is because the DWP HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING ME AROUND ON THE INTERNET AND HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT IT CONSTITUTES WORKING so i will have to cut back I'm only allowed 30 minutes a day om the INTERNETReplyDelete
i have had to remove all of my own blogs and face book and cant twitter
i will still chip in now and then but will have to take a back seat from now on
I have been writing to my MP about Labour's attitude to benefit cuts and the results haven't been very reassuring
Here's my original letter
Here's his reply
Here is a letter from the Minister for Disabled that he sent me which he hoped I would find 'useful' (it might look familiar if you've been following Caroline Lucas' attempts to advocate obo her own constituents)
And here is my follow up letter which he hasn't replied to as yet
Not looking good is it?
I'm afraid we have to accept that with the Lib Dems on secondment to the Tory party and Labour rolling over to have their tummies tickled there is no parliamentary opposition to benefit cuts.