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

Through the Fog of Pain

Through the Fog of Pain I struggle and toil

to establish recognition so Parliament see

though disabled sick or jobless we still

despite no PAYE; contribute to life,

Through dread and paranoia of the latest media tales

calling names & blaming us, for National decline;

I strive to write & tell how 2 lifestyles collided

and from which, one fragile identity wails for an ear.

Through the Darkness of Depression with muses of expiration

and temptations of potential peace I battle to prevail,

exposing and opposing the injustice of ‘Welfare Reform’,

via social networks, the only arena to avail itself to immobility.

Through deteriorating health incapacitated by Fatigue I persevere,

challenging the Policies built on duplicity and deceit,

not daring to hope yet, aspiring for enhancement

to the fictitious feats, of the current regime.

Through ever rising costs of existence I strain to endure,

in stubbornness and refusal to subjugate to the crass, self entitled

and shallow Politicians who closeted in the palace of Westminster,

scribe laws to refute our Rights, deny our sustenance and determine our Fate.

Through Anger & Outrage, I contest these discriminate Acts

whilst grieving the loss of so many others, deemed expendable

by the unelected; my fury at the atrocities, refuelling and sustaining

the essential energy to continue this legitimate rectitude for continuance.

Mcvey still won’t answer us!

As many of you know Debbie Sayers & I wrote an open letter to Esther McVey back in April which 866 people signed; we are still awaiting a proper reply hence the following…

Dear Esther McVey MP

Further to your reply to our letter of April 14 2013.

Your response offers no answers to our questions, therefore we reiterate the following:

We ask you revise your statement of April 8 2013 where you claimed “At the moment the vast majority of claimants get the benefit for life without any systematic reassessments and around 50% of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone – without any additional corroborating medical evidence…The Personal Independence Payment will include a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews – something missing in the current system”

We offered multiple examples of evidence which disproved the individual points in your statement; to save you time we recap – the vast majority of claimants get the benefit for life without any systematic reassessments is misleading as there never have been ‘lifetime awards – “In the past, the use of the term “Life Award” proved to be confusing amongst people who received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) It was taken by many to mean that once awarded, benefit could not be taken away. That is, and was never, the case” Source: DWP Central FoI Team 30/3/12

““around 50 per cent of decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone” the contrary evidence for this is overwhelming but most tellingly on the DWP’s own site https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit/eligibility;

You also claimed in an interview with the Mail on Sunday that the introduction of PIP “ has produced an extraordinary ‘closing-down sale’ effect, with rocketing claims as people rush to get their hands on unchecked ‘welfare for life”; this is also unfounded as you can view by utilising  the DWP’s own  tabulation tool  http://tabulation-tool.dwp.gov.uk/100pc/dla_ent/ccdate/cnage/a_carate_r_ccdate_c_cnage.html

Given this we believe a more fair and balanced statement including the facts should be simple enough? We request you respond to our individual points as laid out above.

A Tory plan to reintroduce the Workhouse

Rarely if ever have I read anything that has made me physically sick; this morning I came across a Government Report via fellow blogger johnny void that openly calls for “Residential Training is intended to help unemployed adults with disabilities, particularly those at risk of exclusion from the job market, to secure and sustain employment or self employment”  which to my mind describes nothing more than a workhouse.

Reading through this Report I went from Hot to Cold and back again as I rationalised the contents, from the executive summery to the Recommendations. The emphasis throughout is to stress the ‘benefits’ of the Residential element and attempts to demonstrate how that could apply to people on Work Programme which “provides support, work experience and training for up to 2 year” and Work Choice for people “ disabled and find it hard to work“.

The report also repeatedly recommends how this Residential programme might particularly suit people with “people with mental health issues” so much as the authors find it necessary to link unemployment rate figures against differing mental health ‘issues’ “phobia, panics, nervous disorders (14% employment rate) and depression, nerves/anxiety – (33% employment rate)“!

I suppose in order to provide a fair analysis I must also note the reports willingness to be inclusive, therefore I also note the authors desire to ensure this Residential training is also open to those the DWP deem to be “non-disabled people who are long term unemployed”. Although this is because “the unit cost of provision would then be driven down” rather than the programme suiting these potential trainees.

I can not here begin to offer a full analysis of this Report but I strongly urge you to take a look and if you can’t bear to read it all at least read the the 3 Case Studies which focus on opiate addiction and mental health issues, Scoliosis, Asthma, Autism, Aspergers, ADHD and Depression and severe mental health issues, alcohol abuse and long-term unemployment; these alone demonstrate the ‘type’ of individual the authors feel ought to be in Residential programmes, and then tell me this isn’t a case for a return to the Workhouse??

 

ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE ACHIEVE POSITIVE CHANGE

It been a funny few last weeks, the amazing success of our petition, whilst being astonishing, thrilling & slightly scary, has also created several moments of tension.

I’ve had various people, particularly on Twitter make, what I felt were snide comments about the very fact our petition has received over 99,000 signatures; these have usually been in relation to other petitions.

I want to set the record straight once & for all; We as sick & disabled people, along with all other vulnerable & minority groups, have in the past 2 1/2 years been subjected to a huge number of cuts to our benefits and services, and an ever increasing amount of  hoops to travail. To begin to list them here would take a far better memory than mine.

In response to this oppression, a mammoth number of online campaigns, groups, petitions etc have emerged; and personally I am thrilled to witness & honoured to belong, to a good many of these. In my cyber world I have met far too many people to mention here, but suffice to say they are other bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook users, & online group members; which occasionally where they live locally, have become friends in my real world.

That said, each of these amazing people works tireless on their own little bit of a necessarily huge puzzle; albeit it Welfare Reform, Support for the NHS, Justice Reform, etc. all are striving to challenge the poisonous oppression experienced by the most vulnerable groups in Society.

And that brings full circle, each person, campaign, group & petition plays a vital part in the war we’re fighting, each battle is another victory in this war, each casualty hurts us all; but we are ALL fighting for ONE thing – Justice & Equality for vulnerable people.

It really should not matter which blogs result as articles in the National Press, which individuals represent us on TV, which campaigns receive the most coverage or which petitions get to Parliament; each and every one of those successes is an opportunity to celebrate, regroup and move on to the next battle.

Without every tweet, share, comment our petition to have IDS called to account for Lies would not have been the success it is, and when it ends as a formal presentation to Parliament, it will be an astounding achievement; and collectively we will raised even more awareness amongst the wider population to our war.

It is this ever increasing level of support from the electorate of the UK that will eventually help Parliament realise the people of Britain will not stand idly by whilst any one group is attacked & surely this above everything is our ultimate Goal?

ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE ACHIEVE POSITIVE CHANGE

‘We are raising more money for the rich’ revisited: some thoughts

A post I wish I’d written

The exposure of Cameron’s lie that the welfare reforms are about “making work pay” and his Freudian-style slip -”we are raising more money for the rich” during Parliamentary debate on 12th December 2012 deserve a little scrutiny and analysis. This a memorable Commons debate, with Ed Miliband delivering  some outstanding challenges to David Cameron, some of which provoked the Freudian slip, and exposed traditional Tory values and ideology underpinning their policies. 

So Cameron is raising more money for the rich. Get outta town! Well, it’s not as if most of us hasn’t spotted the the growing gap between the wealthiest and the poorest, and made a fundamental connection there“..,

‘We are raising more money for the rich’ revisited: some thoughts.

WOW – Support The Most Vulnerable?

The Labour Party has a website where any Party member can review comments and make submission to Policy for both the Party itself and, perhaps more importantly, to inform the Manifesto for the 2015 Election.

There are eight areas for Policy Commission and unfortunately within this NO reference to how Labour plans to manage the Economy to ensure adequate provision and support for chronically sick and disabled people.

To this end, in partnership with the people responsible for the WOW Petition  I have submitted the following to the Work & Business Policy section for consideration.

In 2015 Labour could inherit a Welfare State decimated by Cuts and legislation; whilst understanding it is not possible to immediately rebuild such it is imperative that Labour recognises and provides for this people unable to work through poor health and, or, disability.

Building on the “Making Rights a Reality” Paper published by the Shadow Work & Pensions Team, and the e-petiitions – “pat’s petition & WOW; supported by thousands of  people throughout the UK,we call upon the Labour Party to commit to :

An immediate  Cumulative Impact Assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick & disabled people, their families and carers;

A free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act.

An immediate end to the current Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association, to be replaced by a fair assessment based upon individual need and not budgets

Consultation between the Depts of Health & Education to improve support into work for sick & disabled people,

An end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits.

An Independent, Committee-Based Inquiry into Welfare Reform, covering but not limited to: (1) Care home admission rises, daycare centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, universal mental health treatments, Remploy closures; (2) DWP media links, the ATOS contract, IT implementation of Universal Credit; (3) Human rights abuses against disabled people, excess claimant deaths & the disregard of medical evidence in decision making by ATOS, DWP & the Tribunal Service.

A resumption of disability benefits to a recognised level, allowing for the extra costs incurred by recipients of such.

What can you do to support this?

Visit http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/ – search welfare disability, and comment on the Support The Most Vulnerable submission

Visit  http://wowpetition.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/open-letter-to-liam-byrne-will-labour.html For the latest updates on WOW

Sign up to WOW Petition – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

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Thank You for giving a damn