Statement on ESA from Minister

This is very valuable because it is a comprehensive statement of the government position on ESA and DLA and is great for reference. It still leaves all people with disability completely at their mercy – every line in the statement can be interpreted any way they like from generous to draconian – people with disability are still at their subjective mercy and still have no rights to unconditional benefit. The Minister says We remain committed to providing unconditional support for severely disabled people and are determined that support should be targeted to those who are in genuine need of financial help. It still leaves the best option as aiming to get yourself classified as severely disabled to get in the support group which is so demotivating and counter productive.  This is copied from facebook…ACTNow the autism campaigners group. Reply from Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children & Families Sarah Teather MP Minister of State for Children and Families Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street Westminster London SW1P 3BT   ACT NOW Vine House Harlington Road UXBRIDGE Middlesex UB83HD December 2010 Dear XXXX Thank you for your letter of 1 0 September 2010, addressed to the Prime Minister, about the impact assessment report published by ACT NOW. I appreciate you taking the time to write on this matter, and must offer my apologies for the delay in responding to you, The Department of Health (DH) recognises that, left unsupported, autism can have a devastating impact and that people often do not get the support they need and deserve. As you will be aware, the Autism Act of 2009 included commitments...

Back to the Poor Laws

Redefine welfare debate or society will pay the priceEconomic crisis encourages a search for scapegoats among the poor and dispossessed, but that way lies social conflict Article here   Jon Cruddas guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 December 2010   The student protests have dominated the political agenda, but there is a hidden suffering in this country that we must not forget. The work capability assessment (WCA) has been widely condemned for its inhumanity and poor decision making. The coalition hopes that the recent review by Professor Malcolm Harrington will kick it into touch. It won’t. Welfare reform is going to be a political fight for the essential character of our country. The cuts get personal • Draconian incapacity benefit tests are failing the sick • Osborne’s penny-pinching targets disabled people – but we are no pushover • These cuts aren’t building a ‘big society’; they’re tearing it down • It feels as if Iain Duncan Smith is waging war against the vulnerable • It’s now officially ‘unsustainable’ to support disabled people The WCA follows the same callous logic as the 1834 Poor Law Reform which divided the poor into helpless paupers who were confined to the workhouse and free labourers who must earn their living by working for a wage. Unemployment was a stark choice between the workhouse or the risk of starvation. If the WCA deems you incapable of work, you’re parked in the support group. If you are considered capable of working, you’re put in the work related activities group where you face sanctions for failing to conform to the regime. If you live with a partner in work,...

Populist Ideology and Welfare Reform

‘Disability benefit helped me, it can help others. Stop punitive reforms’ By Vern Pitt, journalist, on December 14, 2010 Peter Beresford, chair of national service user network Shaping Our Lives and professor of social policy at Brunel University, explains why he has signed the petition to stop the reform of disability living allowance and why benefits and social care must be seen as a complete system. Two things that go very badly together are populist political ideology and welfare benefits reform. Sadly the Coalition government has not been able to resist what it seems to see as easy political targets in its headlong rush to cut public spending. Worst of all, disabled people have become a number one target in its calls to cut the ‘deficit’. Yet only the Coalition and fellow-travelling right-wing economists seem to see this as of primary importance in getting the UK economy back on an even keel. As the banks bask again in high profits and personal bonuses, it will be poor and disabled people who once more take the hits. And now as part of this Alice In Wonderland strategy, based on blaming the victims, rather than the profiteers, the government seems set on destabilising Disability Living Allowance (DLA). For all its limitations the underpinning value of the DLA is its recognition of the costs of disability. Sadly this government so far seems to have seen the benefits system as more of a cash cow to milk to its own advantage, rather than a massively complex system that does indeed need reform, but not for a quick ideological fix or to bail out...

Scottish Parliament

Motions which members wish to be considered for debate as members’ business in the Parliament are marked with a hash symbol (#) S3M-07616 Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): Disability Benefit Cuts — That the Parliament is appalled by the decision of the UK Government to scrap a series of benefits for disabled people including the Independent Living Fund and the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance; recognises that the Independent Living Fund directly supports 3,654 disabled people in Scotland to help them live independently in the community rather than in residential care; further condemns the scrapping of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, which also affords disabled people the ability to live independently of carers by providing them with a small budget to help with transportation costs or running their own vehicle; recalls plans by the Labour Party earlier this year to scrap both Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance to pay for the creation of a National Care Service only for those in England and Wales; recognises that independent analysis by the Institute for Social and Economic Research predicted that the removal of Attendance Allowance would result in over 67,000 disabled people in Scotland being forced into poverty, and considers that the unionist parties at Westminster have a track record of picking on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society in an attempt to rectify the negative outcomes of their own financial ineptitude. Lodged on Wednesday, December 15, 2010;...