As part of a discussion in the DT on 5 Feb 2013 the following comments were made:
The Gas chambers didn’t start fully formed but with the ill-informed prejudices of those who believe in the primacy of ‘common sense’
Esther McVey: We have always said that [PIP] is a personalised benefit. Everybody will be assessed-not all then on a facetoface, as we have said, but everybody will be assessed and it is personalised. What we have also said about this benefit is that it is not about the condition; it is about how that condition affects the individual, and those are key to this benefit. It is how the barriers affect the individual, and how the barriers affect them having an independent life.
Q34 Sheila Gilmore: So the DWP will intend, when it sees people and keeps in touch with them, to help them find help and support. So that will be an integral part of what you are doing.
Esther McVey: When you are assessing people and you are meeting them for an hour, as these meetings would be, then you have an overview and you will engage in a conversation with that person and, yes, of course you will, in an hour’s conversation, be talking about different things within that-how best you can get support and help. Of course you do; anybody would do that.
This answer could possibly be believable were it actually based on the facts on the ground.
The whole thrust of the debate around ‘welfare reform’ is based on the Biopsychosocial model:
The biopsychosocial model (abbreviated “BPS”) is a general model or approach that posits that biological, psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness. Indeed, health is best understood in terms of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors rather than purely in biological terms.
The problems are largely that the social factors are being ignored.
How much help is it to assess somebody as being fit for work and thus to immediately stop their benefits on the basis that they would be more mobile through the use of a wheelchair or other appliance EVEN WHEN THEY DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE THE WHEELCHAIR OR APPLIANCE. Surely any system fit for purpose would provide the necessary equipment and any relevant training and support PRIOR to stopping benefits?
The problems however do not stop there because the system most definitely is NOT personalised.
Say the DWP exhibit the first glimpse of humanity in years and made the change such that they provide the mythical wheelchair to two people one living in the centre of an urban area with good transport, local hospital and support services etc. They could well be more independent than before and a reduction/ removal of benefits may be justifiable.
The second person in our example lives in a rural area, no public transport and the loss of benefits includes removal of MOTABILITY. Exactly how much ‘help’ have they received with their ‘personalised’ needs?
Q28 Jane Ellison: Could you confirm that 71% have never been reassessed?
Esther McVey: They are on a lifetime award. Our view on that is that some of them-50%-never had medical supporting evidence. What we are saying now is one of the positive things about PIP really is to look at a systematic review and, as we say, see how can we help, because our view is the very opposite way: if you have put these people on benefits for life, what are we doing as a society to help and enable those people? Yes, I appreciate some people’s conditions will not get better, and maybe some will get worse, but there is a percentage of people who will get better, and we have to be there for them in a very different way. How can we help them to progress, to take an active part in society?
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIFETIME AWARD – THERE ARE INDEFINITE AWARDS (this is one of IDSs most oft-repeated untruths) and these are subject to review whenever the DWP decides and thus there is no need to change the previous legislation.
We received a brief from the MS Society, who are very exercised by this change. They are incredibly exercised by this change. On Saturday I saw someone with MS, who was attending the same meeting as me. The disabled parking was 30 or 40 metres from the door. He got out of his car and walked with his walking stick. He stopped more than twice and was absolutely exhausted by the time he got into the meeting. By the criteria here, that means he would only get 10 points, because he can move more than 20 metres. Actually, he probably managed 50 metres and he could probably do more than 50 metres, but from his first step-
Dr Gunnyeon: Chair, can I clarify? The issue of safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner would become highly relevant here. You have identified the fact that not only did it take a while, but there is an issue about his being exhausted at the end of it. That is why that ability is so important throughout all of the descriptors. Somebody may be able to do it, but if they are then not able to do anything for the next few hours or are exhausted the next day, clearly they are not then considered able to do it and they would actually get the points.
How will an ATOS/CAPITA interviewer be able to judge this in a 30 minute tick-box exercise in an office?
The next statement however is absolutely kafkaesque.
Q64 Chair: Where does the measure start? If he could walk the first 30 metres comfortably and then struggle, would that mean he ends up not getting the enhanced rate? Is that right?
Dr Gunnyeon: If that is correct and there are no other factors around the safely, reliably and repeatedly, then yes, that would then be the case.
But both have to travel the same distance, both have the same reaction in terms of exhaustion and other symptoms the only time the second person would be in a different position medically, socially and in terms of independence would be if they were constantly require to travel between 20 and 30 metres; an obvious nonsense in the real world.
These are questions based on the uncorrected transcript and Ms McVey comes from the John Prescott school of English so it is often difficult to decipher what it is she is actually saying but the DWP incompetence remains as it has been for several years.
Having received millions in public funding it seems the estimable @toadmeister is the perfect person to run a taxpayer funded Free School. Here in an article from The Spectator the odious bigot makes his thoughts abundantly clear:
If this self-entitled, ignorant shit is, along with the Policy Exchange Spads and a Murdoch-hack, considered fit to have input into the education of other people’s children then I really am glad that Scots education is outwith their control.
From Hansard of 10 Jan 2012:
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, the noble Lord’s right honourable friends in the other place, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, are waging war on so-called shirkers, in part by cutting their benefits. However, as my noble friend has said, two-thirds of those benefit cuts are falling on women. If you take into account changes in pensions, pay and taxes, more than 80% of the cuts are falling on women who are bringing up children, caring for the elderly and holding down a part-time job at minimum wage. Does the Minister agree with his right honourable friends that apparently the face of a shirker is now that of a mother, a carer and a woman?
Lord Freud: My Lords, as regards the reduction, or potentially below-inflation increase, in benefits, a lot is happening in the economy in relative terms. Today’s article in the Financial Times is one of the best analyses of that that I have seen. I am sure that others have seen that article, which shows how squeezed people are in the middle and upper-middle tiers of income distribution. They have fallen right back to the level of earnings in 2002-03, while real incomes in the bottom 30% were 3% to 4% higher than they were. That is the context in which we are looking at the adjustments to the benefit levels.
Note that Lord Fraud was unable to mention the upper tiers of the income distribution being squeezed and the official DWP figures show that under any measure the lowest deciles are facing the biggest cuts in whatever terms you care to mention. It would also seem the blithering idiot has accepted Miliband’s ‘squeezed middle’ hypothesis so overall not a very good attempt at dissembling.
Shheessh it’s going some but he almost makes the antics of the MEP’s working for US lobbyists look ethical.
I have COPD and a, currently undiagnosed, neurological condition both of which have manifested in the last two years and I spend every waking hour worried about my future. I dread the idea of being institutionalised, not being able to have any quality of life and gradually turning into a vegetable. That would be bad enough but what really terrifies me is that I am being de facto criminalised for being ill.
The tactics being deployed against me are truly awesome in their vindictiveness, lack of compassion and, what I perceive as, ideologically-inspired hatred.
I am being subjected to the treatment well known to those who have suffered at the hands of tyrants down the ages.
I am dehumanised; no longer a human being or a citizen, not a father, brother, mother, daughter I am a ‘scrounger’, a ‘skiver’, one of the ‘arbeitscheu’. I am not worthy of respect as I am no longer a member of society but a ‘cost’ to be borne by the ‘taxpayer’.
I have no control over any aspect of my life whether that be housing, income, medical treatment and myriad other things that most people take for granted.
The laws, rules and regulations; the hoops through which I am increasingly forced to jump are not built upon any rational basis. My disabilities are not medical or social they are political. Those who, in theory, are supposed to act as my advocate are not putting forward my case as one of the people on the receiving end of the treatment being meted out but are putting forward the case of those making the laws and writing the rules and regulations. The Minister for the Disabled, whoever currently holds that position, should be renamed The Minister for Controlling the Propaganda Related to the Disabled. The Minister in overall charge of the Department for Work and Pensions is extremely happy to put out briefings to the Daily Mail or the Sun about a benefits cheat but whenever someone dies because of the failings in the system the stock response is trotted out: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases’. Just in case they haven’t noticed yet; WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS.
Every single day I await the arrival of the envelope with the four letters on the outside that tell me I have a 50/50 chance of being consigned to absolute destitution: ATOS.
A few weeks ago I received that letter and I don’t know whether it is before or after Xmas that I will be forced to attend the local branch of Lourdes to be ‘assessed’ by someone in whom I have no trust whatsoever as part of a procedure which is not flawed but designed to be the way it is, not by medical experts in consultation with the disabled, but by an investment banker and politicians whose motivation is purely ideological.
If I fail the assessment and the decision-maker rubber stamps that assessment, as is far too often the case, then I will not receive JSA; I will, for between six and nine months, be expected to support myself without a single penny of income from any source whatsoever. I cannot sign on for JSA because I am not able to honestly state that I am fit, willing and able to look for work because I can only sign that document if I am able to accept whatever work I am offered – there is no gradation built into the system it is 100% or nothing.
I am being stripped of my right to appeal until the DWP have ‘reconsidered’ any adverse decision but whilst they are reconsidering they immediately remove my ESA/DLA which means I also immediately lose any housing benefits, council tax benefits, free prescriptions. IMMEDIATELY lose ALL income.No grace period in which to renegotiate or end contracts, talk to creditors, look for somewhere else to live. ‘Computer-says-no’ bye-bye you’re on your own. Naturally the reconsideration also takes no account of my needs as there is no time limit on how long it can take and the timetable for the appeal doesn’t start ticking until it’s completed.
How many people have to live every single day without knowing whether they will have any income from one week to the next? It is this fear of losing my income that means I do not use my disability benefits in order to help me live as normal a life as possible but put as much as I possibly can into the bank to try and build up a fund to get me through any period when I am without income as I am put through the system but it is really a futile thing to do because I can be given my benefits back after the nine months it takes to wade through the backlog of claims only to find that I am, within weeks, being called for reassessment.
As is the case I, along with many others, have symptoms which are exacerbated by stress; my breathing becomes more laboured, my tremor more pronounced, my limited appetite and lack of sleep become more the norm than the exception. It would be harder to design a system more efficient at increasing stress than one based on arbitrary ‘descriptors’ with no guaranteed period in between testing.
I would like to think that the system will improve but all attempts at a rational discussion have been rebuffed, not on issues of fairness, efficiency and accuracy but because the Minister has set a timetable to push through the ‘reforms’; he’s not interested in the effects of the ‘reforms’ just that they meet his arbitrarily imposed time-scale.
Like most tyrants the one thing this government is taking away from me is the one thing without which everything else falls.
They are taking away my hope.
This is how a Tory government and Lib Dem poodles ‘protect the vulnerable’ – note that children and those on ESA are not considered ‘vulnerable’:
Those working in the public services, who have seen their basic pay frozen, will now see it rise by an average of 1%.
A similar approach of a 1% rise should apply to those in receipt of benefits.
That’s fair and it will ensure that we have a welfare system that Britain can afford.
We will support the vulnerable.
So carer benefits and disability benefits, including disability elements of tax credits, will be increased in line with inflation and we’re extending support for Mortgage Interest for 2 more years.
But most working age benefits including Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support – will be uprated by 1% for the next three years.
We will also uprate elements of the Child Tax Credit and the Working Tax Credits by 1% for the next three years – although previously planned freezes will go ahead.
Local Housing Allowance rates, that are a central component of Housing Benefit, will be uprated in line with the existing policy next April and then we will cap increases at 1% in the two years after that.
For this measure, 30% of the savings will be used to exempt from the new cap those areas with the highest rent increases.
The earning disregards for Universal Credit will also be uprated by 1% for two years from April 2014.
Child benefit is currently frozen.
It too will now rise by 1% for two years from April 2014.
How fast have benfits for the ‘arbeitscheu’ been rising?
The real value (that is, after allowing for price inflation) of JSA and its predecessors has not changed for at least 30 years. Yet over the same period, the real value of per-capita household
consumption in the UK has doubled. Put another way, relative to the average level of consumption, JSA is only worth half what it was 30 years ago. [ie in 1979 the reduction in value began - hmm who was elected that year..]
By contrast, over the previous 30 years (that is, from the foundation of the welfare state in 1948 up to 1978), JSA’s predecessor maintained its value relative to the average level of consumption.
“Any organisation that makes up the rules as it goes along, however good its motives, is acting dangerously”
“Nothing is so dangerous as somebody who thinks that his motives are so pure that the rules don’t apply to him.”
“The idea that government should be of, for and by the people… What people?
They found the only possible answer to that question which is that democracy works best in a unit whose people feel enough in common, one with another, to accept government from each others hands which is why so often the cause of democracy, the struggle for representative government was so often one against the MULTINATIONAL monarchies that existed without reference to people’s preferences.”
And those words are the reason why you are either a liar, a fraud a stooge, or worse, Mr Hannan; when every action, every word, every carefully postured, posing practiced-in-the-mirror delivery of pre-scripted assaults on the honest beliefs of others is done at the behest of multinationals.
Multinational corporations that fund the political parties, the lobbyists, the TV and press advertising, the jaunts around the world.
Multinational organisations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council who believe that they are the holders of the only true views and that this justifies actions which go far beyond the bounds of anything acceptable in a free and representative democracy.
You would replace the old monarchies of Europe with the Koch brothers and Exxon, Microsoft and Atria. You would have cigarettes sold to children, offences created to fill jails with captive workforces, human rights, minimum wages, unions, medical and health care ..all to you are not the legitimate desires to be satisfied by government of the people but an opportunity for grubby corrupt and sleazy, inept, incompetent and arrogant corporations to make money out of other people s lifeblood.
Tony Blair, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and all the others would not be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths were it not for the oil companies seeking a way to gain sovereignty over other nations, the arms manufacturers needing targets upon which to test their products and to increase demand; the aerospace, transport, logistics, static security. communications, construction all outsourced to corporations who just happen to fund the politicians.
Better millions suffering obesity, diabetes, strokes and heart problems than sell healthy food; easier to lie about the crap pouring into our and our children’s lungs than to clean up the air pollution.
You and the rest of your blue-suited corporate thugs disgust me and I will do everything I can until the day I die to stop you; not for my sake, I’m on the way out, but because I cannot stomach the idea that the young people of today will be governed by those whose entire lives are dedicated to removing from them everything that makes life enjoyable until it has a price tag attached.
Under Schedule 19 Minister of the Crown are listed for the purposes of the Equality Act meaning they are subject to its provisions.
Discrimination arising from disability
(1)A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if—
(a)A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability, and
(b)A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
(1)A person (A) harasses another (B) if—
(a)A engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and
(b)the conduct has the purpose or effect of—
(i)violating B’s dignity, or
(ii)creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.
98.This section defines what is meant by harassment for the purposes of the Act. There are three types of harassment. The first type, which applies to all the protected characteristics apart from pregnancy and maternity, and marriage and civil partnership, involves unwanted conduct which is related to a relevant characteristic and has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the complainant or of violating the complainant’s dignity. The second type is sexual harassment which is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature where this has the same purpose or effect as the first type of harassment. The third type is treating someone less favourably because he or she has either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.
section 29 makes it unlawful to harass someone when providing a service.
Section 29: Provision of services, etc.Effect107.This section makes it unlawful to discriminate against or harass a person because of a protected characteristic, or victimise someone when providing services (which includes goods and facilities). The person is protected both when requesting a service and during the course of being provided with a service
There is currently no limit to the number of time a disabled person may be required for assessment, nor is there any minimum set period between assessments.
Assessments have such a high error rate that for many they are little better than tossing a coin and the consequence of a negative assessment can lead to many months of penury.
Under the Welfare Reform Act disabled people who are suffering degenerative disabling conditions are not exempt from the assessments.
The consequences of this are a breach of section 15 – reassessing people with degenerative disabling conditions for which there is no known recovery is disproportionate to the aim of moving those who can work into work. It is extremely unlikely that someone judged not fit for work is going to become fit for work as their condition worsens.
The Act also breaches Section 26 and 29 covering harassment as it is seen by many disabled people as being :
intimidating – irrespective of anything DWP say it is known that the purpose of assessing and reassessing is to save money first and treat the disabled person on their needs second.
hostile – the briefings and press releases along with the repeated use of misleading statistics has been instrumental in creating an atmosphere in which Disability hate crimes are being reported at record levels.
Given that many people are being assessed on multiple occasions,
given that there is no limit to the number of times may be assessed
given that there is no minimum time between assessments
given the high proportion of errors
given the length of time it takes to rectify errors
given the severe difficulties that may arise due to a wrong assessment
given the failure to tailor the requirement to attend assessments to the needs of the disabled person
The Secretary of State is in Breach because:
Many disabled people are afraid to use their benefits payments in the manner intended, especially if they require a large item or are asked to sign a long term contract because they are worried that a brown envelope can arrive at any time and that they could be within weeks of penury.
They are thus constantly suffering anxiety and fear due to the permanent state of uncertainty arising from the Welfare Reform Act.
I would argue that given the above it is incumbent upon the Secretary of State to:
1/ Set out a schedule for reassessments
2/ Require that DWP provide all claimants with a minimum time between reassessments
3/ As, a matter of urgency, either drop the WCA or develop one that’s fit for purpose
4/ Develop a method of especially protecting those on passported benefits who are appealing a decision from seeing a huge drop in income overnight
5/ Either exempt or set a long period in between reassessments of those with degenerative conditions. If DWP is really interested in help an annual letter asking for confirmation that the claimant does / does not with to apply for a higher rate award should be sufficient along with a corroborating statement from the claimants registered GP
6/ The claimant should have the right to see any reasoning behind requiring multiple reassessments within a short period of time.
“A bhuí le Rí na bhFeart go bhfeiceam,
Mura mbeam beo ina dhiaidh ach seachtain,
Gráinne Mhaol agus míle gaiscíoch,
Ag fógairt fáin na baincéirí ! “
FSA spokesperson asserts that a fine is a ‘significant’ penalty for Barclays after years of manipulating Libor rates for YEARS under instruction from senior managers.
How is a fine ‘significant’ when the money will be recouped in higher charges for customers.
far be it from me to suggest any link between the attitude of bankers and politicians towards trivial inconveniences such as accountability, integrity, ethical conduct..
IT’S HARDER TO JAIL ONE BANKER THAN A THOUSAND WHO HAVE BEEN IMPOVERISHED BY THEM
The FSA has failed in its duty to the public and is an absolute disgrace.