Fit for Work

Fit for Work

Why can’t the government just say – we need to save money – we can’t afford any longer to support the sick and disabled who fail to find work. Instead of dressing it up as some great liberation of the sick in to work which can’t and won’t happen.

CarerWatch say – support sick people in hoping and trying to work. But don’t punish them if and when they don’t succeed.

Being ‘fit for some limited work’ applies to every disabled person now. Every one is not disabled now but differently abled. The goal posts are now so wide that every one is ‘fit for work’. When told that people with severe mental illness were being classed as ‘fit for work’ a confused BBC interviewer said – but we don’t want people with severe mental illness to be classed as ‘unfit for work.’

It’s very romantic. They say every one is fit for work – it is the new mantra which would be fine in a Brecht play. They say even if you are very, severely, enduringly ill you should still be able to work like Stephen Hawkins. He leads the way on this.

No problem at all. But being fit for work in some best case scenario does not mean you can actually find a job that accommodates your disability or that you are well enought to turn up every day and do it. Realistically most people have the same disability as they had yesterday and if they couldn’t find work yesterday – how are they going to find work today. The reality is they will find it very, very difficult to find and keep work.

Of course the opposite of ’fit for work’ shouldn’t be ’unfit for work’. There should be some mid way category that describes the situation most disabled and sick people find themselves in. It is very hard for them to find and keep work but they keep trying and they keep hoping.

Severe illness or disability already provides enormous challenges. Now the government are raising the bar and demanding you go to work somehow somewhere. Sick people are condemned to a life of sanctions and threats for not finding work and now today it is announced that while they fail to find work IB/ESA levels will be reduced along with housing benefit.

Being ‘fit for work’ is a social construct. There are two sides to the equation. It isn’t just the health side – there is the employer who has to want to help and be prepared to spend his own money backing up your problems. We have the most flexible labour market in Europe. The market has something to say about this.

CarerWatch say – support sick people in hoping and trying to work. But don’t punish them if and when they don’t succeed.

Why can’t the government just say – we need to save money – we can’t afford any longer to support the sick and disabled who fail to find work. Instead of dressing it up as some great liberation of the sick in to work which can’t and won’t

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