27th January 2011
To : Paul Dacre (Editor, Daily Mail)
Email : email@example.com Tel : 020 7938 6000 The Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street London W8 5TT
Peter Hill (Editor, Daily Express
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Tel : 020 8612 7000 Daily Express, The Northern & Shell Building, Number 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN
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?