Coalition Statement – ESA

CarerWatch have been campaigning to protect people with serious and enduring illness or disability under the new welfare reforms.

 This was our General Election pledge which Steve Webb signed as spokesman for the LibDems

CARERWATCH ARE FIGHTING TO RESTORE UNCONDITIONAL BENEFITS TO ALL PEOPLE WITH SEVERE AND ENDURING ILLNESS – SOME WITH ONLY MONTHS TO LIVE. IN PARTICULAR CARERWATCH WANT THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS AND CONDITIONALITY under ESA REMOVED FROM PEOPLE WITH SEVERE AND ENDURING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED SIMPLY BY PLACING THEM IN THE SUPPORT GROUP

So we are very disappointed to see absolutely no mention of the harassment and threats to sick people in the Coalition Statement on Welfare.  Absolutely no mention of sick people at all.

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2 Responses to “Coalition Statement – ESA”

  1. Alan Wheatley, Green Party Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care Says:

    I am reminded of my reaction to a huge David Cameron ‘soap box’ type poster near Finsbury Park Station in London: “Let’s stop benefits for those who refuse to work.”

    My reaction was: “As if people are not already being subjected to loss of benefit when they are not really capable of paid full-time work. I am reminded of the Hitler doctrine that a lie becomes more believable the more times it is repeated.” The backdrop of the Carer Watch pledge on restoring unconditional benefit payments to those incapable of work was more than something I had read of. In fact, for me it did not go quite fare enough because I had won a tribunal on 16 December 2009 to affirm my rights against the hearsay of an Atos Origin Medical Services ‘doctor’ [sic] who declared with the DWP that I was JSA fodder. In fact, I had already been on non-disabled-person ‘out-of-paid-work’ benefits for most of the time and never in salaried service since 1977 despite being disabled from birth. The DWP should have known that I had consulted Disability Employment Advisers [DEAs] from the time that Jobcentre Plus was known as the Manpower Services Commission and DEAs were known as Disability Resettlement Officers! The reason it had taken me so long to claim was that I had never been guided through the relevant form until I was with a mental health jobsearch charity in 2009, and was even advised at the JobCentre to apply for ESA rather than carry on year after year being treated as a recidivist at periodic jobsearch review interviews.

    (When I was ruled ineligible for Employment & Support Allowance, I honestly contemplated suicide in my 56th year with most of my life having been on a treadmill of volunteering and jobsearch. But I eventually won my tribunal, and managed to channel my rage against an unfair system into transforming it.)

    My first contact with Steve Webb MP was in late 2000 when he was Lib Dem DWP Spokesperson and I was a lapsed Lib Dem member. There was talk of the DWP calling all Incapacity Benefit claimants into jobcentres for ‘work-focused interviews’ at a time when my cover DEA had three or four jobcentres to cover and the regular postholder had been on six months sick leave through stress almost since starting on the job as a computer science masters degree holder! So I proposed to Steve Webb that he ask a parliamentary question about staffing levels, training and retention of DEAs. The Govt response was that no records on a jobcentre-by-jobcentre basis were taken centrally, but there were around 650 DEAs for the whole of the JobCentre Plus network and that figure had remained fairly constant for the last ten years.

    I am deeply saddened that Steve Webb as his party’s ex-spokesperson on the DWP has signed such a coalition document as outlined above. He had spoken so eloquently and well-informed at a National Autistic Society campaign launch for reforming welfare reform so that it actually helped rather than hindered people with genuine difficulties. He has been a DWP Spokesperson for longer than I have been a member of the Green Party and should know better than to sign up to such a workfarist document that helps legalise jobsearch slavery with huge expenditures of public money to profit private companies.

    Yet I am Spokesperson on Disability and Social Care for the Green Party that has a highly competent MP in party leader Caroline Lucas who was one of the first party leaders to sign a CarerWatch pledge. So despite the prospect of an even harsher ESA test, I am not without hope.

  2. Geoff Says:

    What do you expect from the Tories and their bag carriers

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