Thursday 27 January 2011

Thank you Daily Mail and Express

                                                                                                       27th January 2011

To : Paul Dacre (Editor, Daily Mail)
Email : Tel : 020 7938 6000 The Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street London W8 5TT
        Peter Hill (Editor, Daily Express
Email : Tel : 020 8612 7000 Daily Express, The Northern & Shell Building, Number 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN

Dear Sirs,

I wanted to thank you so much for highlighting the disgrace of Incapacity Benefit (Now ESA, 26th Jan 2011)

This is a terrible situation that has been - until now - largely ignored by the UK Media and successive governments, so to see not one, but two national newspapers printing the details on their front pages gave me hope that, at last, something would be done. Thanks to your excellent journalism, the entire country now knows that out of work sickness benefits are effectively a thing of the past in the UK.

As you pointed out, hardly any ESA claimants are being found unable to work. As I believe your excellent newspapers suggested, only 7% - 9% of those previously claiming help are now being considered incapable of any work at all.

At least 10 Million people suffer from a serious illness or disability in the UK. Only one in four of them claim out of work sickness benefits.

Official research figures show that:

300,000 people are diagnosed with Cancer a year
23,000 are Deaf/Blind
19,000 receive dialysis for Kidney Failure
40,000 have suffered a Spinal Injury
8,500 have Cystic Fibrosis
100,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis
180,000 people have Bowel Disease
3.7 Million live with Lung Disease
2.6 Million live with Heart Disease 
640,000 have Schizophrenia 
120,000 people suffer from Parkinson's 

As you can see, these few conditions alone bring us to well over 7 million already, yet only 2.6 million claim any out of work sickness benefits. Even those suffering from these extreme conditions often manage to work or manage alone without help from the taxpayer.

As you, and you alone were willing to point out, to suggest that almost all (91% - 93%) of those listed above can manage employment is ludicrous - even before you were prepared to highlight this atrocity, surely no-one in the country would seriously have put the figures anywhere close to that?

Of course, we all know that some people abuse the system. As a nation, at this difficult time we need to be determined as never before to weed out and punish those who make fraudulent claims and cheat the system. However, if you had paid National Insurance all of your life only to find yourself permanently disabled in a terrible accident or diagnosed with cancer, I'm sure most would hope that there would be some very modest support available. (ESA is less than £400 per month) Many gave their lives in successive wars to ensure that as a country we protected the most basic of human rights - a right to dignity for all - and to remove that right is a frightening echo of the past that most would agree we never thought to see.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for exposing this issue and pointing out to your patriotic and reasonable readers that some cuts are simply a cut too far.

On behalf of The Sick and Disabled of Britain
(Sent unsigned to avoid delay)

**If, like me, you want to thank these esteemed publications for finally bringing the horror of ESA and it's private assessors, ATOS, to a wider national audience, then do please use the contact details above and feel free to copy and paste my letter if you wish. 

UPDATE : Broken of Britain have written this genius, legally constructed complaint to the Press Complaints Commission AND to Parliament outlining how Chris Grayling broke three ministerial codes when releasing his press release. Don't you just love em?


  1. This is a great letter! False rumours need to be quashed!


  2. I was totally horrified to see the tone of their articles eg "400,000 'were trying it on' to get sickness benefits: 94% of incapacity claimants CAN work" Daily Mail

    The Mail and Express once again have managed to totally misrepresent the facts. How dare they imply that ATOS' ghastly system is discovering that most sick people are malingerers. B*stards

  3. Don't get mad, get even!! Imagine thousands of phone calls, emails and letters thanking them for exposing this cruel injustice.

    They'll think twice before they discuss it at all next time, lol

  4. Fantastic! Have you seen this?
    BG Xx

  5. perhaps we should send details on basic maths courses in the area with it, since they don't appear to be able to do it very well

  6. BG - Not only did I see it, I commented (on BoB site I think??) Said it was genius and how I loved you all for being so scarily legal and brilliant xx

    Now I hope all you commenters have sent emails to above contacts;)

  7. My eyes grazed past the headline of the express the other day and I just sighed. Nothing will change. The media have too much power. This is a great letter, but will it change anything? The likes of Paul Dacre don't care.

  8. This letter sums up what a lot of people on Disability Benefits feel. Unfortunately, many of the Mail's readership will believe this claptrap at face value. If 90% are fit to work, then surely their GPs need re-training. They're obviously not very good at diagnosing sickness.

  9. Come on you sceptics!!! Never mind what "they" think, send the email!! You're quite right, 50 won't make any difference, but 1000 people have read this today - if we all send an email and ask one other person to, we start to at least make them think

  10. I don't know if I misunderstood you Mama Tiara, but that's part of the outrage - the assessments aren't even done by GPs - or nurses!!!
    They ignore medical evidence from Consultants and all other professionals to declare you "fit for work" it's just unbelievable.

  11. Off to do just that thank you :0)

  12. Thank you very much for your recent communication.

    We receive a great deal of correspondence each day and, although I may not be able to respond to you personally, please rest assured that I do take the time to read all the emails I receive. Those intended for publication on the letters page will be considered carefully.

    If you do not see your point of view in print, however, I hope you will appreciate it is only possible to publish a small percentage of the letters we receive.

    Any emails deemed more appropriate for other departments will be forwarded for their consideration.

    Thank you for your interest in the Daily Mail, I am grateful to you for taking the time to contact us.

    Yours sincerely,

    Daily Mail Readers' Letters Editor

  13. QVC Queen - Good Woman! Hundreds today!! I should have asked people to add their names in a comment box. Never mind. Over 1100 reads so far and 200 or so emails sent that I know of (hopefully lots more)

  14. Ha! QVC, we all got that! I'm sure they got a large "volume of correspondence" today. I really hope so

  15. Best of luck with the campaign. You might want to consider how you present and use your statistics. They could be presented (or twisted if you prefer) to support the other side. e.g.

    The total population of the UK is about 60m and the working population is 21m. A ratio of about one in three.

    You list 7 million people with a serious illness or disability in the UK. Assuming these are drawn from the whole population and are therefore of all ages, dispositions and circumstances then using a one in three ratio would suggest that 2.3 million of them are in the working population. If out of work sickness benefit is as its name suggests for the working population, then your figure of 2.6 million claimants would look about right.

  16. Emails sent last night - not even an acknowledgment from the rats at No 10 - why am I so unsurprised?

  17. Sent!

    I added a line that pointed out that many people have more than one condition at a time.

  18. I'm liking all the sents!

    gwb - Quite brilliant post, but perhaps you attribute analytic skills to Mail and Express readers that they clearly can't possess? (They wouldn't buy Mail and Express otherwise, lol)

    Actually, figures for sick & disabled are prob closer to 20 million and the 7 million or so I listed were just the conditions common and terrible enough for Mail and Express readers to be scared of.

    It was a simple article I agree, but then it was written for a simple audience, boom! boom!

  19. UPDATE - Apparently emails are now being deleted without being read!!!!!!!!!!!
    How brilliant is that! Did you all get acknowledgement or not????

    Would be SOOOO amazing if they got sick of us.

  20. Had what looked like an auto acknowledgement from the Daily Heil. Nothing from the equally vile Express.

  21. Isn't it about time we started lobbying G.P's, specialists and the like, after all, they have spent years getting to a point where they can diagnose a person only to have that diagnosis overturned. Arn't they afraid of getting sued for a misdiagnosis?.. perhaps that where it ought to go. Imagine a collective law suit for thousands of people who have been now been supposedly misdiagnosed as being disabled and unfit for work who suddenly find that they are suddenly able bodied enough to work because a government official says so..? Surely The medical professions only defence would be to prove they had the diagnosis right to begin with.

  22. Whats next ? Some benefit claimants forced onto a long distance train and told "Work sets you free" No point anyone asking where they've gone...