Employment Support Allowance ‘easier to claim’ – joke

Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch welcome the discussion on 5th September 2014 comparing the ease of access to ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) with access to the old IB (Incapacity Benefit). However it is important to compare like with like. The new ESA is not equivalent to the old IB and they should not be compared directly. We would suggest that the new ESA Support Group alone should be considered as equivalent to the award of long term IB. If you compare these figures you will find that it is much harder to get in to the Support Group than it was to claim IB. The ESA WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) is a temporary, time limited benefit, suitable for people with short term injuries or illnesses, who will get better and return to work within a year. It only lasts twelve months. It is the equivalent of the old short term IB. We would also note other distortions to the figures including the time taken to process the initial application. If there is a short time to process, then all the short term injuries need to be counted, whereas with a longer processing period, these short term disabilities are gone before they are included. We have pressed for a cumulative impact assessment of these changes and slowly we are seeing acknowledgement that this must be done . We cannot wait much longer. We have always said that changes should not be brought in until the full effects are understood: they wouldn’t do this in any new transport system or construction plan so why are they allowed to experiment in this way on disabled...

Government said a Cumulative Impact Assessment wasn’t possible – THEY WERE WRONG

  .Pat’s Petition launched a petition on 1st November 2011 calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) . We, along with many supporters, also pressed for a debate in Parliament Liam Byrne said – This afternoon, I pay tribute to Pat Onions and her fellow campaigners, to the authors of the WOW petition and to the thousands of people up and down the country who have supported their campaign and will follow this debate closely In a debate in the House of Lords Jan 17th 2013 Baroness Hollis in her closing speech said –   The noble Lord, Lord Freud, referred to cumulative assessment. With the help of Citizens Advice and Landman Economics, we were able to work out pretty precisely-to within 10p or so-the total cumulative effect, since 2010, of the benefit cuts and tax changes. I did it for one family type-the security guard with a wife and two children. If we can do it over a weekend with wet towels and half a bottle of gin, I am quite sure that the Government can do it with the numbers of staff that they have in the Treasury. The answer is that the Government are not choosing to do it. They do not want to be shamed by us and others as to the effect of what they have done over time. There cannot be any other reason why the noble Lord, of all people, who has the utmost respect from the House for his integrity on these issues, and the Government continue to duck the consequences of their action by giving us the cumulative statistics today....

The Truth At Last – Ministers humiliated over cumulative impact assessment

With thanks to John Pring at Disability News service – The truth at last.   “Institute for Fiscal Studies has proved that a cumulative impact assessment is possible for disabled people in Wales.” So the government excuse that a CIA was ‘too difficult’ has been shown to be a fiction.   Pat’s Petition team, along with many others, call upon the government to finally do a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) for the rest of the United Kingdom. We have been calling for a CIA since 2011. Responsible governments don’t make cuts of this severity to the income of vulnerable people without a full risk assessment. You can read the report in full here  ...

WOW petition has passed 1st stage in Parliament

  Many thanks go to the team, and all supporters, behind WoW petition. Pat joined them in London today and will give an update on her return. Although poorly attended by MP’s, those that did speak spoke of the real horror stories they are hearing from some of their constituents. You can read it in full here   and watch it on Parliament TV here ( debate starts at 1 hour 47 mins ) We hope everyone has a safe journey home and look forward to their reports.          ...

Employment Support Allowance is a disaster

Yesterday members of Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch met with Kate Green, Shadow Spokesperson for Disabled People. From there they went to Lambeth Palace to meet with Archbishops advisers. Proposed Reforms to ESA – Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch For many chronically sick/ill and disabled people the barriers faced in the open job market are so significant that they do not have the opportunity to compete on equal terms. This is the elephant in the room. The main Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Group – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – is based on the false premise that chronically sick/ill and disabled people can compete on equal terms. It makes no allowance for the barriers in the job market. Many can compete on equal terms. But many others have a lot to offer but can’t compete on equal terms. It is unfair to place sanctions and time limits on disabled people in the WRAG until this problem is addressed and rectified. ESA/WRAG is currently a disaster and we suggest the following reforms – 1. Find out how to make the labour market inclusive. Disabled people have a lot to contribute. Face up to the question of disabled people and open competition in a flexible labour market. Explore quotas, kite marks, subsidies, public pressure and any other option you can find. 2. Meanwhile place far more chronically sick/ill and disabled people in a safe, long term ESA group. The WRAG is not a safe group because of sanctions, time limits and means tests. The criteria to be placed in this safe group should be that you have an impairment which means you can’t compete...

Point of Order re Pat’s Petition

  Many of you will remember the Parliamentary debate Pat’s petition secured just 2 months ago. The motion calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) was led by a powerful speech from Liam Byrne. Other Labour MPs were just as supportive for us in their knowledge of how disabled people and carers are facing such unjust hardships under this Coalition government. Speaking against the motion was a Tory MP – Paul Maynard. His choice of words angered and upset so many of us especially when he named Pat’s Petition team as ‘extremists’. In the days immediately after we corresponded with him in a series of open emails.  He agreed to follow Parliamentary procedure to gain a further entry in Hansard.     True to his word an entry appears in Hansard on September 2nd 2013  ….. details here On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I clarify for the record that, in the Opposition day debate on 10 July, I did not intend to suggest that I regarded either Pat’s Petition or We Are Spartacus as extremist groups? John Bercow (Speaker) That is commendably clear and pithy, and we are grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Pat x  ...