Thursday 9 June 2011

Chris Grayling - How do you Sleep at Night?

Here's Mr Grayling telling you that assessments used to determine whether or not someone is "fit for work" or not are "Not money driven," somehow, ignoring the "target" of saving £1 billion from the sickness benefits bill.

However, Here's Mr Grayling during a recent DWP committee meeting telling you that the decision to stop all contributory ESA benefits entirely after one year, whether the person is then fully recovered or fit for work or not was entirely based on cost cutting. When asked if after one year these vulnerable sick or disabled people would have found work or even be fit for work he replied it

"is not about recovery times. It is not about a decision that 12 months is an appropriate time for recovery. These are people who have other means of financial support, so what we have sought to do in difficult times financially, and by taking tough decisions, hold the line on this difficult issue and do not accept the right hon. Gentleman’s amendments. We do not believe that financially we can do so. [Full transcript here : ]

How much is this financial support that people have to fall back on? Well, the means test is set at just £7500 per year. Any working partner who earns more than this will become totally financially responsible for a sick or disabled partner!

Next, here's Mr Grayling telling you that he's 

"bemused" over being criticised for saying people should not be judged as "scroungers" ... He said he had advised "a number of media outlets" about the need for careful language but said some stories the department considered insignificant had shot to the top of the tabloid news agenda.
"Sometimes stories run in a way that completely bemuse me," he said.. [Full article here :]

However, here's, the independent media checking site, and the four pages of misleading headlines that have been questioned and upheld on their site.

All of the stories quote the DWP's own press releases and most refer to "government sources" using the most colourful language. As a result, the Press Complaints Commission has demanded retractions from the Telegraph, the Sun, The Mail and the Express. Mr Grayling has twice been reported to the Cabinet Office for breaking the ministerial code on politicised press releases. Last month, the minister for disabilities herself, Maria Miller, made misleading claims that more alcoholics claimed higher rate DLA than those who were blind. She was wrong. Or she lied.

So, you know, I just thought I'd link to some actual fact thingies. I know they get in the way Mr Grayling, but we can't have you all "bemused" now can we? We can't have a government minister who has no idea of the effect of his own press releases. We can't have a minister who happily admits that the very worst of his policies are purely financial and totally unresearched, whilst trying to persuade us that others are caring, compassionate and all for our own good now can we?

This shouldn't be legal let alone ignored.


  1. I have just been reading the Welfare Reform Committee meeting notes. Well I got half way through before feeling sick. Literally nauseous. The man who is leading the Conservative debate really doesn't care does he? He really is just looking at a way of cutting costs and this is a great way of doing it. He doesn't care how many people he shoves into poverty to bring down that bill and that makes me shiver in fear. I am one of the few lucky ones who won't starve if my benefit is taken away, but I know I am in a minority, because the average salary in this country is lower than the amount my partner earns. Therefore I'll be ok, but it could so easily be very different. I can't believe that if your partner earns more than £7500 pa you will not get any financial aid. That is DISGUSTING. How can one family be expected to survive on that amount? I just feel this enormous overwhelming need to go and smack the lovely Chris Grayling round the chops and take him on a tour of the places he could expect to live if he earned that amount. The Tory ethos really hasn't changed they have just hidden it under a warm and fluffy mask.

  2. I'm so glad someone else has read it too! It's really hard to convey just how shocking it is in a blog post!

    I was literally shaking with fury and despair when I'd read it - for about two hours.

    He doesn't care, he has no research, no evidence, he's just throwing us on the scrap heap. One of the worst things is his claim that the state will still support us in other ways.

    That's just not true. ESA is not passported in any way and is not taken into account within the tax credits system. Unless income is 16k or less, we will simply lose the entire £4661 per year, whether we can afford to or not.

    I know he doesn't care about the moral argument - none of them do - but it also means we will become totally dependent on the goodwill of family or friends to survive. Chattels with no independent worth at all. Now isn't THAT terrifying?

  3. Oh yes, and I believe the committee themselves have the amount wrong on the means testing cap. The earning cap is set at just £102 per week or 24 hours, which is surely £5304 per year? Not £7,500 (though we're splitting hairs, either figure is ludicrous)

  4. I am sure Mr Grayling sleeps very well at night because he does not have the issues we have and maybe never will.

  5. This man is named after a butterfly. I have met more intelligent butterflies that this one! Wonder how much DDT it would take to sort him out?

  6. You wont just lose £4661 you will then go on to lose your DLA and your cares allowance if you get it
    so in total you will lose £10000 per year

  7. @Fourbanks, DLA is independent of ESA, so hitting the one year limit on Contributory ESA shouldn't affect DLA or the benefits passported off it.

    Of course they're also proposing to do away with DLA in favour of PIP, axing 25% of the people who are eligible for it.

  8. Great article.

    Yep. That's conservative ideology. They believe that welfare is evil and encourages idleness (even though it's barely enough to live on but conservatives never let facts interfere with their beliefs) and by getting rid of them is for the poor's own good as it will create a sink or swim situation and in a free and prosperous country anyone can find a way to survive, and if they can't it's because they are lazy and therefore they deserve to die if they wont work.

    The sick should be taken care of by friends and family, neighbours and charity, because charity is voluntary it is morally good, pure and noble (they believe this even though the amount of charity people give isn't enough to take care of everyone who needs help) and if anyone slips through the cracks it is the fault of their friends, and families and neighbours for not taking care of them.

    They believe welfare is big bad government forcibly taking other people's hard earned money and ineffciently (because to these fanatics government is always inefficient regardless of evidence or facts)spending it on the lazy spenthrift morally inferior poor. They actually equate wealth with morality.

    These are the beliefs your average conservative use to circumvent what little conscience they have.

    Their leaders who feed them these fairy tales actually know it's a load of bollocks. They are sociopathic individuals who are fully aware that they are pathologically greedy and selfish they know it and they revel in it. They also believe in eugenics and believe the weak and vulnerable should die off to strengthen the gene pool and to prevent it from happening is going against nature.

  9. fourbanks - although it is supposed to be independently assessed I know of people who are losing their DLA based on the results of their ESA medical as here, from a Facebook site for people with M.E. - "...Just received decision on DLA. Failed. Reason given: results of medical assessment for ESA..."

  10. £7500 means-test is to get zeroed, isn't it, I thought the £5k one was for start of taper. We get over £5k, all declared, and still get some income-based ESA.

  11. The DWP say "over £102 per week or those working more than 24 hours"

    The savings limit kicks in at 6k but rises to 16k

  12. You inspired me to put my own 'spin' on the story, Sue:

  13. I just tweeted and shared on FB

    We are creating a bad news day for the DWP here, let's keep up the pressure with lots of links and RTs into this evening everyone.

    Also the article after this which is actually more damning about the ESA time Limit "assessment" papers from the DWP

  14. Come on now, chaps. This lot are better than Jesus at curing the sick and lame. Why, I've been unable to work due to a degenerative condition for 17 years. Sounds like a long time to scrounge, doesn't it? But that's the problem with degenerating; it doesn't tend to get any better. Now, with the all-new compassionate Conservatism, I'm going to be 'helped' to recover within 12 months. I'll be able to join my old colleagues on £40k rather than lolling about on munificent sickness benefits.
    Right, I'm off to gently ease myself onto my adjustable bed, as I've been sitting here for 15 minutes now. I never knew employers these days were enlightened enough to provide them in the workplace too, but if there's suitable work out there, it must be true.
    Happy days.

  15. Well, it only took me 2 and a half hours to come back, read those committee minutes, and be ready to comment on them. Somebody write me a reference.
    I might have more respect for these measures if somebody in government would actually have the balls to admit what they're doing, instead of demonising certain claimants and promising that 'genuine' people won't lose out. Bull. Shit. Why won't they admit they're effectively means-testing our benefits? Because they want to imply that when the rug is pulled out from under our feet that it's our own fault for not deserving them enough. Our own fault for becoming sick, and our own fault that not everything can be cured.
    I don't know why they're wasting taxpayers' money on ATOS. Why not just send out batches of letters saying 'Tough luck, pal you're on yer own'?

  16. Hard to disagree with any of that anonymous.

  17. They are not cutting costs just redistributing all our (the country's) money from people in need to ATOS, A4E and all the other poverty pimps. It benefits no one other than big buisness. Well the corporations have already asset stripped our manufacturing industry, so where else can they go? It has been going on for years with all the privatisation taking money from those using public service and the workforce...really worked on cutting public spending that move...NOT!
    I am sure Greyling sleeps very well at night thankyou very much and could not give a damn about the ones who can't.

  18. i went to 3 special schools in the 70,s i am ADD and aspergers also i have gut wall problems and retina dystrophy and asthma and MPD and OCD.
    i am trained in childcare at nvq 2,since Ian huntly claimd he was mentaly ill at the time its made it dificult to find work i have also had cancer 18 months ago.
    i am 48 this government is quite happy to retire army captains at 55 but wan us ill to work till 67 to pay tax for thses bastereds to fag of work so who is the benifit cheats then 20 years work the retire 15 years early. is ther a job i can do in the army i dont think so......jeffrey

  19. The poor & disabled can beg from passing cars, like they do in India.

  20. I’m sure that when Ed Miliband and his spads went through the final draft of his speech they thought they’d done a good job. A bit of criticism of claimants to keep the right happy. A bit of criticism of the rich to keep the left happy. Hopefully, the squeezed middle (whoever they may be) would be happy with both bits.
    If the speech was given in isolation, it could well be considered fair and balanced and most people could well have been satisfied. If it had been given in a different context, perhaps before the general election after 13 years of Labour government, again it could well have been OK.
    However, we must see the speech in the context that it was actually given. We have a Tory-led government on an ideologically driven rampage through our public services. They have set out to stigmatise those on benefits and are using the right-wing media to launch attack after attack on the sick and disabled. They are determined to use the rare extreme examples of abuse of the benefits system to tar all claimants with the same brush.
    Thousands upon thousands of genuine claimants – the seriously ill, the permanently disabled, those crippled by their work – are feeling very, very frightened.
    They are frightened they will lose their homes. They are frightened they will be left to fend for themselves. They are frightened they will end in abject poverty or on the streets.
    Making this speech in this context shows that Ed either doesn’t recognise the fear that is out there or, even worse, that he is doesn’t care.
    That is why I, and many others, have reacted with dismay at his performance today.