The Conspicuous Absence of IDS

In the words of Debbie Sayers, my Hold Ids to Account campaign buddie –

Back in June we had reason to feel positive our petition asking the work and pensions select committee to hold IDS to account for his use of statistics had reached 100,000 and we had been told that the committee wanted to tie it in to the end of year review of the DWP so they had all the facts at their disposal. A date would be forthcoming…

Time dragged on  and in June we were told MR Smith had cancelled because the end of year review was still not ready…

Time dragged on…

and once in July again the appointment was cancelled with the promise of something in the autumn…

Time dragged on…

and in September we were told November but…

Time is still dragging on and now on the 31st of October 2013, and we’re told it will be December…

That means the end of 2013, the 2011/12 Annual Report from the DWP will be eight months late… Yes that’s right EIGHT MONTHS late why is nobody shouting about this… well I guess we are…

I’M wondering why the press AREN’T wondering what’s going on, why MP’s AREN’T asking questions…

So I’m calling on everyone for help can we start making a noise about this can we tweet #whereisIDS #DWPLateReview

 I would also ENCOURAGE  everyone to start writing to their MP, asking why the DWP’s end of annual report is nearly eight months late… and asking when he will be seeing the Work and Pensions Select Committee in person. We don’t want his juniors to be answering questions we want him to explain what is going on Ultimately Mr Smith is responsible for his DEPARTMENT not Mr Penning or Ms Mcvey…

When a whole department can’t be held responsible and circumvents the balance and checks process we should all sit up and pay attention

Perhaps MR Smith thinks he is above answering questions… Perhaps he’s busy… either way time should be made to get the review in and discuss its good points and short comings… that’s the process that’s the job if he doesn’t like it perhaps he should resign…

Thank you all for your continued support of Debbie and myself, I assure you we are doing all we can to push for this and any help you can give us, and MPs like Sheila Gilmore who is also fighting to get IDS to committee is very much appreciated… I’d just like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that have helped with the campaign fund… We  plan to be using it soon 🙂

Where do Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’ – The Party Response

As well as sending my letter asking Where Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’? to Kate Green, I also submitted it as a comment in to Labour.org; I received a reply from the Labour Party today –

Thank you for your email about Labour’s plans for social security reform.

Because of this Government’s economic failure, the next Labour government must start planning now for what will be a very difficult inheritance. David Cameron claims the economy is fixed, but the welfare bill is going up, not down. Long-term unemployment is up; the housing crisis is pushing up housing benefit spending; and the growing number of people earning less than a living wage is costing the taxpayer more in tax credits and other benefits.

One Nation Labour will get welfare spending back under control, but based on our values, not the Tories’ failed approach. That means tackling the underlying problems in our economy that drive up welfare spending: unemployment, low pay and the housing crisis.

The Tories have allowed long-term unemployment to rise. But under a Labour government, nobody who is capable of work will be left to live a life on benefits; people who can work, should work. We will guarantee anyone out of work for two years or more (or 12 months for under 25s) an offer of a real job, which they must take up, or risk losing their benefits.

Labour will halt the race to the bottom in our workplaces, tackling low pay, insecurity and exploitation rather than leaving the taxpayer to pick up the bill. We will strengthen the minimum wage, encourage more employers to pay their workers a living wage, and ban exploitative zero hours contracts.

Under the Tories, Britain is building fewer new homes than at any point since the 1920s. As a result, rents are soaring, and for every pound spent on bricks and mortar, £19 is spent on housing benefit. Labour will turn this around. We’ll aim to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, and if necessary, we will use ‘use it or lose it’ powers to force land-hoarding developers to build the homes that communities need.

Labour will build a social security system that is fair for both those in and out of work. To restore the public’s faith in a system that sometimes appears to give something for nothing, we will look to better recognise contribution of people who have paid in to the system for years. And where the Government’s incompetent handling of welfare reform is costing a fortune, Labour will get a grip, reforming the Work Capability Assessment so it works properly and gives disabled people the support they need.

So it seems the Labour Party feel that reforming the WCA, which I totally agree is essential, is enough to reassure those of us too sick to work will receive the essential support we need. Whilst the ‘recognition of people who have paid into the system’ might refer to a change to the current time limit on claiming contribution based ESA; there is no mention of PIP, or any of the other benefit  losses such as the Independent Living Fund.

Given this and the lack of reference to disabled people having value as human beings  I await a reply from Kate Green herself with intrigue.

Dear Kate Green – Where do Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’?

Dear Kate Green MP

You wrote in LabourList.org on Oct 18 you’d spent a week ” at home with a bad back, unable to make it into Parliament“, you then talk at length about the ineffectivenesses of ATOS and how the Labour Party needs ” to think about whether we can we develop an assessment process that looks at people’s real lives, at what they would really need to be able to do to hold down a job, and what support they’d need to do it.

I’d like to ask you to now consider those people who live with your ‘bad back’ every day of their lives; those of us who struggle through with a disability that causes sickening  pain, so bad we can’t sleep, move, or even think, What are Labours plans for us? We’ll never be able to hold down a job when it takes an hour to write a short, simple email because of pain, or confusion from lack of sleep. We are people who live in fear of a brown envelop, for fear it’s another ATOS appointment or another form from the DWP; where do we fit in Labour’s Welfare Policy?

It is all very well and good for you & your senior Minister Rachel Reeves to ‘think’ about Welfare Reform, and how you might make it work around supporting people into work; but in order for Labour to be a truly One Nation Party, you must recognise their are a proportion of us who will never (in my case ever again) be in employment.

I and thousands of others like me do exist and whilst we may not contribute via PAYE we have a role in Society; we are parents, grandparents, children, volunteers, bloggers  etc and are worth far more than to be ignored aside from the vicious media campaign of Scrounging Parasitical individuals who’s only aim is to bleed the Country dry.

You were incapacitated for one week, I hope this has given you a small understanding of our lives.

In anticipation of your thoughts

 

The PIP 20 metre rule remains intact

An excellent analysis by Jane Young of the Governments ‘reason’s’ Why they have ignored all consultation recommendations on this particular element of DLA’s replacement, PiP (Personal Independence Payment).

This is looking like another carbuncle to add to UC (Universal Credit)

A MUST Read

Despite hundreds of consultation responses explaining the devastating impact on people with significant walking difficulties of using 20 metres as the benchmark distance for eligibility for the enhanced mobility component of PIP* and therefore the Motability scheme…

The PIP 20 metre rule remains intact.

Oh Dear Rachel Reeves – You Got it Badly Wrong!!

So the new Labour Shadow Minister for Work & Pensions, Ms Rachel Reeves MP, turned to the Observer for her first interview in her new role; and in 822 words she managed to infuriate countless people!

There are already two excellent blogs outlining just what was wrong with Ms Reeves announcement of Labours approach to Welfare – ‘Dear Rachel Reeves‘ from Paul Bernal & ‘Sort out the tax dodgers‘ from Vox Political, and I encourage you to read both if you haven’t already; their excellent respective arguments focus on challenging the message & the content of the interview & I agree with both.

For me though the last paragraph of the interview was a direct quote – “I think it is right that those people who are in work do not feel that those who aren’t in work are getting something that they couldn’t dream of getting” and it is this that I want to challenge. I and others have spent the past year + fighting to get the truth about welfare into the public domain and it is this and other challenges that have led to IDS stating his words are true because he ‘Believes them‘; well this belief is not good enough, particularly when official statistics and real life examples prove it to be completely Wrong.

For the Shadow Minister for Work & Pension to start her new role stating she “thinks” that employed peoples “feelings” are being hurt is fine; but not when this ‘Thought’ will define Policy, Policies which will then continue to create homelessness, immoral benefit sanctions and death.

Labour Policies, as should all such papers, be determined according to fact.fact borne out be genuine research & statistics and reflecting real life needs.

If you agree with this I urge you to contact Rachel Reeves MP via

email rachel.reeves.mp@parliament.uk;

Twitter @RachelReevesMP

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rachelreeves10

or telephone 020 7219 7097 asking for the office of  Rachel Reeves MP

and tell her WHY it is WRONG to plan Labour Policy according to Tory Policy