Letter to MPs from Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network

Annie Bishop contacted CarerWatch to inform us of a letter their group had sent to the 4 Northumberland MPs. With her permission we are sharing a copy of the letter here. Dear xxx , Re Negative press  reporting of disability benefit claimants. I am writing on  behalf of the Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network  which is facilitated by  Adapt NE and Northumberland LINk.  We are extremely  concerned at the negative reporting which took place in  the press on Wednesday  27th July following release of the DWP statistics on benefit  claimants, particularly in the Daily Express and Daily Mail.  The  headline in the Daily Mail read,  ‘The Shirking Classes: Just 1 in 4  incapacity claimants is unfit to work’, and  that of the Daily Express read, ‘ Sickness Benefits: 75% are faking – 1.9m could  work but skive instead’.  We note that the Work  and Pensions Select Committee has also raised concerns about negative media  reporting in its report, “The role of incapacity benefit reassessment in helping  claimants into work”, and that the Chair of the Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP,  wrote to the Minister for Employment Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, expressing  serious concern at this type of reporting.  We strongly believe  that continued media coverage of this nature will generate more disability hate  crime, and could lead to what could effectively be seen as ‘state sponsored hate  crime’. Please could you take  this issue forward on our behalf, and let us know  what can be done to stop this  inflammatory media reporting. We are sending this  letter to each of the four MPs who represent  Northumberland  constituencies. Yours  sincerely...

Carers UK

 Imelda Redmond CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: “There is a huge amount of fear amongst carers, who worry that their family finances will fall apart as a result of cuts and changes to disability benefits and the knock on impact to carers’ benefits. We already know that the scale of cuts to disability benefits could have a devastating impact on the lives of disabled people, but we are deeply disappointed that the Government has not yet published assessments of the impact of their plans on carers. They must do so urgently, and also take every opportunity to counteract negative media stereotypes by speaking positively about how the Government values disabled and older people and the contribution made by...

Mark Shrimpton – Deputy Chief Executive RADAR

Mark Shrimpton, Deputy CEO of Radar, the largest pan-impairment campaigning organisation in the UK, said “I wholly endorse Richard’s words.  Disabled people are now being targeted in the street as scroungers.  This is, quite simply, vile and totally unacceptable.  We need a Minister that will properly protect disabled people and carers.  I have yet to see anything that suggests this will happen and I fear for the future.” Regards, Mark Shrimpton Deputy Chief...

Alan Wheatley

Personal statement from Alan – Summonsed by multibillion pound annual turnover company Atos to reapply for Employment & Support Allowance just six months after my last so called ‘Work Capability Assessment’ resulted in ‘no change’ to my benefits status, I am struck by a sense of gross unfairness and isolation — even though the disability benefits grapevine tells me that summary rounding up of ESA claimants every six months or less is now the rule rather than the exception. From November 1977 till the time I applied for ESA in early 2009, I only managed to get a grand total of 17 MONTHS waged employment. All this reassessment makes me even more terrified of forms and of my own slowness. Atos are the real benefit cheats, systematically mislaying claimants’ documentation and, moreover, they are abusive in the way that they assess claimants as claimants rather than patients. ‘Patients’ suggests a sense of ethical responsibility is their rationale for the situation. They really ought to be brought to account for the current £100m a year they get from the Dept for Work & Pensions. Royal College of Nursing refused to accredit them in 2009. Now they claim that University of Derby Corporate will be accrediting their nurses’ training, but in reality the most accurate assessment of their ‘Examining Medical Practitioners’ is the way they cause needless distress for financial profit in a game that could best be described as ‘Atos roulette’. See also :  MPs slam major failings in disability benefit assessments Alan...

Richard Exell – Trades Union Congress

The TUC is very worried that the Welfare Reform Bill represents a serious threat to low paid working people, carers and disabled people. Parents who rely on childcare support through the tax credit system and disabled people and their carers who need Disability Living Allowance to survive are particularly at risk. The government’s talk of a fairer, simpler system is beguiling, but they have failed to allocate the resources needed to make this a reality. Yours, Richard    Richard Exell Senior Policy Officer Trades Union Congress ****************************** We support End Child Poverty: www.ecpc.org.uk...