Dear Esther McVey, your ‘facts’ aren’t True! UPDATE

Dear Esther McVey MP

We the undersigned have been shocked and appalled at you and your Minister’s persistent use of dubious facts and statistics regarding DLA. We ask that you make use of  the raft of factual statistics and desist from twisting evidence; your misrepresentation presumes some sort of illegal activity regarding DLA claimants, this is particularly disturbing when the DWP’s own figures for fraud of DLA is 0.5%.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and a former chief economist at the DWP, said ‘it was part of a “consistent pattern” which threatened to undermine public confidence in official statistics…”I think it is very unfortunate. These statistics are very important. Government analysts, economists and statisticians work very hard to produce them and they provide important information to the public,”…”It is very important that ministers should not seek to misrepresent what those stats actually do or don’t show. That detracts from the public’s faith in the analysis produced by government statisticians. “This is, I am afraid, a consistent pattern of trying to draw out of the statistics things which they simply don’t show.”’

No evidence for Iain Duncan Smith benefit cap claim, says research chief 13.04.13

Your persistence that DLA requires few face-to-face medicals and little or no additional medical evidence to obtain DLA, is untrue. The government’s own figures show that just 16% of awards relied on the form only and a mere 9% of DLA funding was spent on this basis

Your claims that  DLA is awarded without a medical;  is simply not true, many claimants have to undergo a face to face medical assessment, as part of their application as the DWP website shows: Medical assessments You might get a letter saying you need to attend an assessment to check your eligibility. Further the DWP statistics report of November 2011 also clearly demonstrates Medical Examinations did form part of the assessment process for claims. Table 2:

Savi Hensman’s blog in Ekklesia also disproves your claims –  Government minister Esther McVey’s untrue claims about Disability Living Allowance

‘Disability Living Allowance is an “outdated benefit” for which “around 50 per cent of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone – without any additional corroborating medical evidence,” stated UK minister for disabled people Esther McVey on the BBC and elsewhere this morning (8 April 2013).

This is completely untrue – the government’s own figures show that just 16 per cent of awards relied on the form only and a mere nine per cent of DLA funding was spent on this basis. McVey was trying to justify the controversial replacement of DLA by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from today, to be paid to fewer people.’

Savitri Hensman Ekklesia

The latest figure you used in you BBC interview that of 50% of claimants not presenting any additional medical evidence, may in fact be due to medical evidence being sought directly, via the consent form on page 7 of the DLA form, which gives the DWP permission to contact the claimants GP and other medical professionals directly for further information.

You also state that 71% would “stay on it for life” without further assessments, but there have been no lifetime awards for sometime now, therefore your statement made on the BBC on the 8th of April 2013 is misleading. The new term ‘Indefinite Award’ requires claimants to undergo reassessment at any time at the whim of the DWP is it therefore the fault of the claimant if the DWP fail to exercise that right?  However, they announced a few months ago that they would not be testing those with indefinite claims at all until after the next election. Indefinite awards make up nearly 70% of all DLA awards and the government claim over and over that it is this group who have been “left to languish” yet they’ve decided to do nothing about it at all.

‘She also referred to the claim that, under DLA, 71 per cent of people get support for life without checks. This, again, is misleading. The figure refers to ‘indefinite’ awards, which means that their period may vary according to needs. Recall is possible if circumstances change. This is appropriate. There are many people who have permanent and unalterable disabilities. Moreover, while benefit may be awarded for a non-fixed period, that does not mean it is necessarily ‘for life’. The total number who still get DLA excludes those who have had it on fixed awards and now no longer get it.’

Savitri Hensman Ekklesia

In the press you have continued to indicate the reason for the change from DLA to PIP is the rapidly accelerating growth of DLA claimants up by some 35% in the last ten years, from 1.1million to 3.3million, a figure we do not contest. However we would like to examine the context of the 35%; the reform of DLA is only affecting working age claimants, with children and Pensioners being exempt from the changes (for now). Given this, when analysis of the increase in claimants in undertaken discounting those exempt,  you get a significantly different figure of 13%. Why then are you insistent on using the wholly inaccurate 35% figure if not only to make your claim seem more urgent?

Sue Marsh co author of the Responsible Reform Report states:“…the government have constantly misled the public over the new benefit, claiming a 35% rise when Spartacus Report showed clearly that the rise is only 13% for the working age group who will be affected. Physical conditions have remained totally stable, whilst the 13% rise is almost all due to a rise in mental health conditions and learning disabilities, a trend seen worldwide, not just in the UK.”

Sue Marsh Diary of a Benefits Scrounger.

Or if you prefer Disability News Service

 “DWP released a “statistical update”, which it said showed the number of successful claimants of DLA had risen by 15,000 between February and May 2012.

But analysis of DWP figures by Disability News Service (DNS) has shown that the rise in claimants is due to increases in the number of children and older people receiving DLA, while the number of claimants aged 16-64 actually fell by more than 1,600. This is important because the reforms and cuts will only affect working-age claimants…”

Disability News Service


“To quote the DWP 2013 report Fulfilling Potential: Building a deeper understanding of disability in the UK today, “There are 11.5 million people in the UK who are covered by the disability provisions set out in the Equality Act… six per cent (0.8 million) of children, 15 per cent (5.4 million) of adults of working age and nearly half (45 per cent, 5.3 million) of adults over State Pension age are covered… Only around half (six million) of the 11.5 million people covered by the disability provision in the Equality Act are in receipt of disability-related benefits.”

Savitri Hensman Ekklesia


Anne McGuire, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said it was “yet another example of the DWP manipulating the figures on DLA to suit their agenda of abolishing DLA”.

This brings us to another disturbing trend of recent weeks, statements being made by yourself and MR ID Smith MP which strongly suggest people are rushing to claim DLA in order to avoid the new harsher PIP assessment criteria…

“We’ve seen a rise in the run-up to PIP. And you know why? They know PIP has a health check. They want to get in early, get ahead of it. It’s a case of ‘get your claim in early’.”

IDS 8/4/13

Hufffington Post

And you yourself have similarly claimed…

The Mail on Sunday this week reported that McVey believed coalition plans to abolish working-age DLA had led to a huge increase in applications by people desperate to claim the benefit before it was replaced by the new personal independence payment (PIP), which will come with a tougher assessment.

The Mail on Sunday article – based on an interview with McVey – stated: “The decision to introduce new tests has produced an extraordinary ‘closing-down sale’ effect, with rocketing claims as people rush to get their hands on unchecked ‘welfare for life’ before McVey’s axe falls on April 8.”

A spokeswoman for McVey told Disability News Service (DNS) that, although she did not use the phrases “closing-down sale” or “welfare for life”, “everything in the article was a fair representation” of the interview.”

John Pring DNS

We have a number of  issues with these statements not least of which, the inescapable fact that no one can escape the changeover to PIP; every single DLA claimant, whether they have been on it for years or for five days will have to reapply for PIP in the next few years, therefore no one will be able to ‘get ahead’ of it and any ‘last minute’ claim for DLA would simply delay the inevitable. Ergo the suggestions in your statements that recent claims are an attempt to escape PIP appear convoluted . Our assertion is further supported by , Declan Gaffney Tue, 04/09/2013 in his article Did claims for DLA increase in the run-up to PIP? analysed statistics produced at which appear to refute these statements.

He States: “I presume Mr Duncan Smith has some basis for this claim, but it’s not supported by the published data on DLA. The changes only affect people of working age, so I’ve charted the number of claims by people age 16-64 with a duration of three months or less, using the data available on Nomis. A sudden increase in people claiming should show up in these figures: I don’t see it. On the contrary, the latest figures are the lowest on record.”

Given our concerns outlined above we request that you officially retract your recent comments with regard to DLA and PIP and issue a fairer balanced statement, based upon accurate data and one which maintains the integrity of Ministers in Government. We request you include the facts  that PIP only applies to working age DLA claimants; that there has been only an average increase in overall working age claimants, and there has been no significant rush to apply for DLA .

If you agree with the above and want to add you name to the latter please follow the link below and SIGN

This letter will close for signatures at midnight 21/04/13

Co Author – Debbie Sayers  – Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

57 thoughts on “Dear Esther McVey, your ‘facts’ aren’t True! UPDATE

  1. Pingback: Dear Esther McVey, Your ‘Facts’ Arn’t True! | Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

    • add my name , i was listening to her on the radio when she said since toughening up loads of people had stopped claiming and my own cousin was one of those, no he didnt not claim, he claimed and was turned down by atos, then he appealed and won ,18 months it took, Sorry Esther Mc vey, but by spinning the myth that you are weeding out dodgers is simply wrong and a slur on the genuinely sick, especially when we have worked all our lives and paid into the system, Do not treat us like fools


  2. Brilliant letter! I am sick of the lies they spout because the truth never gets told and nobody would support what they are doing if they knew the truth. It is despicable
    Add my name please
    ME19 6RT


  3. Too much misleading information being spouted out by a man who admits to fraudulenty claiming himself, echoed by totaly ingorant blind followers like you has to end. history has a habit of returning to bite you on the bum hence ding dong !, probably will be sung about you sooner or later


  4. Pingback: Dear Esther McVey, your ‘facts’ aren’t True! | Deaep

  5. did you think they would tell the truth our lovin government who daily see some more of daily by their milk of kindness and that lovely firm called atos who daily take make bonuses for themselves without any thought for those who they say are fit to work but alas we got that lying government who allow this manipulation of the figures showing them in good light but now we find they lied again about these figures how jolly this ids and co is taking away peoples dla and think they are fit to work figures they use to cover up whot reallys happening jeff3


  6. Pingback: Dear Esther McVey, your ‘facts’ aren’t True! | Think Left

  7. Fully support your letter, but would like to make a few style suggestions. In emotive situations like this it is important to be taken seriously, and critics will pick up on any detail, no matter how small, to trivialise and dismiss the argument.

    In your opening paragraph, I would replace “shocked and appalled” with “disappointed”, or even “disgusted”. The phrase “shocked and appalled” has been overused, and is now almost a joke used to imply that the speaker is over-sensitive, or not serious.

    In paragraph three, you speak of Ms McVey’s “persistence”. This should be “insistence”, or “persistent claim”. I know that you want to speak to politicians in their own language, but it might be better to write in plain English, the better to expose their double-speak. Also, a misused long word can ruin a good argument by making you seem ignorant. It is exactly the sort of thing that an opponent will pounce on in an effort to discredit your argument. (“See? They don’t even know how to use the subjunctive! How can we trust their so-called ‘evidence’?”) Sad, but true.

    The facts in your letter are good, with sources quoted and supporting evidence made clear. I hope that this letter gets through to the people who can make a real difference. It is quite literally a matter of life and death.


  8. Pingback: Dear Esther McVey, your 'facts' aren't True! | ...

  9. The lies the miss treatment and hate publicity she and her fellow MP’s have spouted against the disabled is illegal. She should be locked up for her crimes


  10. Can You add my name please Sian Roberts and Sandra Roberts.
    She tells so may lies she would not know the truth if it smacked her in the face. the pain, hurt, fear and misery she is causing she needs to be sat down and shown that we can drive a lorry through her lies!!


  11. Pingback: Petition Work & Pensions Committee: Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics | Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

  12. This government know what they are doing is immoral and would be abhorred by the majority. That is why they choose the cover of misinformation and persistent condemnation of anyone on benefits, be they genuine or not. Unfortunately a lot of people believe the ‘gospel’ written in the media. A look at history will show the dangers of dictators who view the sick and disabled as useless and ultimately ‘remove’ them.
    Think it can’t happen here ? Too late, it already is…homeless…starving…suicides !!!!


  13. I have signed it. I live on over 300mg of morphine a day and am fed up looking over my shoulder because this bloody government thinks I am shirking! If I could work I damn well would, but alas I can’t. If the health system could repair me it would be great, but alas they can’t. So I have to live on over 300mg of morphine and I keep increasing it as I have gotten use to it. So what the hell do I do?


  14. As a disabled individual I can speak for those that are to afraid to say how we truly feel! I want to add our support to this letter to say to the government, “You may be able to take us down, but you will fail; to take us OUT!” David Scameron is using his Son’s memory to shed a what appears to be good light on his policies, that couldn’t be further from the truth, bedroom tax, DLA changes is all for the better – I know it isn’t and it won’t be! Now the government is after me, saying to me what job I can and cannot do and the thing is I have worked my way for through the system and obtained a degree. Shouldn’t it be MY choice what work I can and what wouldn’t be suitable for me? Stopping my JSA isn’t going to solve the situation, just worsen it! So the battle lines are drawn and my complaint goes to him… Let us see what he and his cronies do now! I won’t be bullied by those that think they understand – because they DON’T!


  15. I have tried to sign your petition only to have it refused twice. I, too, feel a sense of outrage at the way politicians use clearly skewed statistics to support their policy making.


  16. Pingback: Esther Mcvey Letter Arrives @ Parliament | jaynelinney

  17. Pingback: Esther Mcvey Letter Arrives @ Parliament | Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

  18. “In the press you have continued to indicate the reason for the change from DLA to PIP is the rapidly accelerating growth of DLA claimants up by some 35% in the last ten years, from 1.1million to 3.3million, a figure we do not contest. ” An increase from 1.1million to 3.3 millions is an increase of 2.2 million which is 200% of the original. You do not contest this increase, you say, but call it a mere 35%. If you are complaining about misuse of figures by the government, and you are right to do so, you must have your own figures right. Something is plainly wrong here.


  19. Pingback: Make the Work & Pensions Committee Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics | Deaep

  20. A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little evaluation on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more particulars? It is extremely helpful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog put up!


  21. The Atos assessments are used to front the DWP’S to withhold entitled Benefits.
    There is absolutely nothing to be gained by attending the (What they term as a) medical, the decision has already been made before you attend, the Atos Report is generated to give the DWP the green light to stop entitled Benefits, the DWP need a document that they can rely on in order to justly their decision, it is the cloak they hide behind to discriminate, without this report the DWP would not be in a position to carry out their Blanket decisions, they need something in writing that gives legitimacy to their reasoning.

    The Atos report is merely a stick that is then used to beat the sick, the vulnerable, and the disabled.
    the Atos assessors are paid around £100 for each claimant, so how many do they assess for benefit claimant they fail, ? perhaps they may assess say 8 per day, so that would calculate at £800 per day, calculate that figure to a weeks earnings or a months earnings for the assessors, we can see exactly were the tax payers money is going, add together the expense of a Tribunal service for claimants who are successful and that comes to a astronomical sum of money this Government is using to try to take away the Benefits that support the sick, disadvantaged, and the disabled live a more stable and productive life.

    If we look at a scenario such as a member of staff falls ill with stress or depression, becomes chronically sick or disable, how does that pan out, are they put through a degrading capability assessment? is their sick pay entitlement stopped? is their medical evidence such as doctors certificates, consultants or other health professionals diagnosis, and opinions simply ignored and that member of staff is ordered back to work? I believe this is were we should test the DWP on their policy in treating those unable to work, for it is not whether or not you are employed or unemployed that is issue or indeed the focus, it is surely the focus of the condition that renders that person incapable, or incapacitated. whether a person is in employment or not in employment is irrelevant.

    I believe this is were:; in terms of discrimination the DWP and the Government are openly targeting those who claim Benefit, Under an Human & equal rights issue a persons illness or condition that renders them incapable of employment should not be treated any differently to any other person suffering the same health condition or disability, so it Begs the question why are those on Benefit being seen and treated callously, and experiencing an attitude of indifference from the DWP?

    Those health professionals most of which have no specified degree in mental health and or other medical condition, are employed by Atos no doubt loured by the Financial benefits that they would not receive in their currant post under the NHS or Private medical services, nor would they be permitted to conduct such medicals that can only be the responsibility of specialised medical professionals, are Hired by Government to perform a service on behalf of the Government and DWP. We can be grateful that Those health professionals are not on the wards of our NHS hospitals.
    So there is no service being performed on our behalf, it is not our rights or our interests that are being upheld and protected, It is a full Blown demolition of our equal rights, and rights of protection for the sick, the vulnerable, and the disabled
    I would say to them, that they are receiving Blood money.
    I would also say it is not the Claimant that has failed the medical assessment, it is the medical assessment that has failed them!


  22. Pingback: Dear Esther Mcvey – We’d like a reply please

  23. Pingback: What do YOU think about the Reply to Esther McVey’s | jaynelinney

  24. Pingback: What do YOU think about the reply to the open letter to Esther McVey?

  25. Pingback: Jaynelinney on McVey’s Non-Reply to Letters about the Disability Living Allowance | Beastrabban's Weblog



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  28. Pingback: Mcvey still won’t answer us! | Ramblings of a Fibro Fogged Mind

  29. Pingback: McVey ‘answers’ Politicians, even if she ignores us! | jaynelinney

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  31. Pingback: Dear Esther McVey, your ‘facts’ aren’t True! UPDATE | jaynelinney « this 'n that

  32. Pingback: Our Petition FINALLY goes to Parliament! | glynismillward189

  33. From today’s DWP Questions – it is evident that Smith, McVey and all are still using and abusing factual information and statistics to their own ends. eg Smith claimed there are more people in Germany using food banks that UK – where only 9000 people use them – and he seemed totally at a loss as to what they are for – indeed he claimed there was less poverty in UK now than under Labour. Refused to answer question about the number of deaths of disabled people. McVey on speed telling of how unemployment is down, how work programmes are all great with thousands finding jobs – also spoke of how well dwp/ job centres do in ‘helping ‘ people find work .. and sanctions …. what sanctions???? there are no targets!!!! Smith also said Atos have not pulled out of PIP contract rather it is all a process of change that he has instigated and all is well and will be on time – there’s nothing wrong with PIP!!!

    DWP is foul and una ccountable and should be closed down


  34. Pingback: Time For The Truth | jaynelinney

  35. Pingback: TRUTH Seekers | jaynelinney

  36. Pingback: IDS Lies to Tory Party – Time for him to GO? | jaynelinney

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