The French view of Welfare Reform

A couple of months or so ago I had a phone call out of the blue from a French journalist for Le Monde, based in London; wanting to interview me and another couple of disabled people about how we feel regarding Welfare Reform; of course I agreed.

Eric Allbert, the journalist, needed to conduct the interviews that week so I arranged for my daughter, Nicki Linney and another campaigner Kitt Bolton, to meet, Eric travelled up to Leicester to speak with is; he was at my home for almost 3 hours, and spoke at length with with of us about our experiences.

The point of this for we campaigners was to tell Trench readers of Le Monde, precisely what was going on in the UK and how the Governments Welfare Reform Act really affected disabled people.

The article was printed last month, and unfortunately when translated, takes some concentration due to grammar differences;  all I can add is I hope you agree, we did us all justice


Jayne Linney call it “syndrome brown envelope.” Severely disabled after two car accidents, this 52 year old woman, met in mid-April, lives with the fear of receivingin his mailbox a summons to a medical examination to assess their disability.“Whenever I hear the postman, I have a lump in the stomach. 

His fear follows the traumatic experience she had during its last assessment. In 2010, Jayne had stopped working , reluctantly, but her physician. The aftermath of his accident worsened, and also serious difficulties in walking and a partially paralyzed left arm, she suffered from incontinence and fibromyalgia, a disease that causes severe pain throughout the body.

“NURSE ME screamed”

In 2012, she was summoned to a medical examination by the French companyAtos , which carries out the assessment of disabilities on behalf of the British government. “Nothing had prepared me to face someone as openly hostile. One of the exercises was to put on tiptoe. I am incapable, but the nurse yelled at me, accusing me of not making effort. “Test result: zero point, then it takes five havethe right to disability allowance. Jayne might lose her only source of income and she grabbed the justice . A court ruled in his favor eighteen months later. “The judge looked at my file and I immediately questioned my incontinence, which is a simple criterion to evaluate . In three minutes he ruled in my favor. 

It was only the beginning. Two months after her court victory, Jayne was called for a medical examination. In total , it has been tested five times in three years by Atos. With one exception, the experience has been extremely unpleasant. When she finally got satisfaction, it was necessary to fight against a system it deems organized against the disabled.

This system was developed by the British government, who wants to make money by pushing disabled people who can to return to work. If the goal may be laudable, the method to achieve this is denounced: the tests are rigid and thousands of false cases have been documented.


Among those deemed able to work were a man in a coma, people who died shortly after, and others who were unable to walk more than a few tens of meters withoutregain their breath … Nearly 40% of people who appealed the decision have won against the courts.

If the final decision on the allocation of social benefits is the government, medical examinations are outsourced to Atos, a company led by Thierry Breton, the former economy minister.

Since it is at the heart of the scandal, accused of incompetence and insensitivity.On 27 March, it announced that it was abandoning the contract signed in 2005 and which was come to an end in August 2015. The company said s’ stop voluntarily.She wants to put an end to many insults and threats received by its employees.More importantly, the French company withdrew to stop the financial bleeding.


There are two years, as the scandal began to take momentum, a written evaluation of disability to perform the medical staff was added to the test, which previously consisted of boxes to check . This has made the grade in the assessment of the patient, but it has increased by one third the length of treatment of each case. Atos, profitability dropped into the red.

“Ultimately, the entire contract, since 2005, we have made ​​no profit,” says Michel-Alain Proch, CFO of Atos. Contract between a loss and a tarnished public image, the French company wanted to cut short the disaster.

“IF YOU ARE NOT in a wheelchair … “

“I do not think a single person with a disability will be sad to know that Atos no longer supports these assessments, “said Richard Hawkes, director of Scope, an association of aid for the disabled. He believes, however, that the departure of the company may not change much. Atos simply to apply medical examinations developed by the British government. The questionnaire, inflexible, tends not totake into account the obvious handicaps, questioning the symptoms less noticeable. “If you’re not in a wheelchair, we do not believe you,” says Nicky Linney, the daughter Jayne, who also suffers from fibromyalgia.

But the two women also believe that Atos has made ​​no effort to make the process bearable. Together they created a small association to support disabled during their medical evaluation. With two slogans: never make one test, and alwaysrequire registration.

Thus Kitt Boulton, achieving myalgic encephalopathy (chronic fatigue), was accompanied. “For years, I was terrified at the idea of being called for these exams. When I received the letter in November 2012, I was panicked. “It has been successful, but after a harrowing period.” Rules have been put in place by the government, and he is primarily responsible for the current situation, “she says.

18 thoughts on “The French view of Welfare Reform

  1. Pingback: The French view of Welfare Reform | Warcraft, Books & Fibromyalgia

  2. I think I remember this guy from when I was working at Reuters’ Paris bureau. I might be wrong but you’re definitely right about the translation: It’s shite! Sorry I didn’t get to the ‘Clock-tower’ on Monday. Things have gone slightly ‘pear-shaped’.


  3. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    The French translation needs re-translating (maybe when I’ve got a moment) but this is important as it shows that reporters from other countries are taking an interest in the predations of the Coalition government and are going around ‘official’ sources to get their information directly from those affected.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    It’s interesting and heartening that our friends and cousins across la Manche are showing an interest in this. Hopefully it’ll help prevent any politicians in France from pursuing a similar agenda, and continental disapproval might make a few people over here think twice about the Tories’ euphemistically named ‘welfare reforms’. Though my guess is that if any disapproval of the Tories’ policies is expressed across the Channel, the government will start banging the nationalist drum again, and shouting that it’s all some EU plot to destroy Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The French view of Welfare Reform | Welfare, Di...

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