Coalition spins a li(n)e about disabled people and work; media ignore it

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Is it possible that the news media are finally learning to examine Coalition press releases critically, rejecting those that don’t stand up to scrutiny?

There’s a crumb of hope in the fact that the latest disinformation about disabled people has received a very poor pick-up in the press. This is probably because it is easily-disproved nonsense.

The release claims “More than 500 disabled people a week supported into work or training”, which is a grandiose claim when one remembers the trouble suffered by the DWP in doing just that, only a few months ago.

According to the text, the DWP reckons more than 78,000 “opportunities for disabled people” have been created since 2011, where they have either found a job or “taken a significant step towards the workplace”.

But the logic falls down when you get to the quotation from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Easyjet. He said: “Already over 100,000 disabled entrepreneurs employ an equivalent number of people in their business start-ups.”

Firstly, in the light of other quoted statistics that say 21,000 (of the 78,000 initially mentioned) have been on work experience placement, while more than 10,000 more started in sector-based work academies, one must wonder where 53,000 of the people mentioned by Sir Stelios came from.

Secondly, did you notice that he let the cat out of the bag (so to speak)? “Business start-ups”, is it?

Didn’t we all discover, via a BBC 5 Live investigation back in February last year, that job seekers on the work programme were being encouraged to declare that they were self-employed – when they aren’t – in order to get more money in tax credits than they would on Jobseekers’ Allowance?

This is just the same scam, applied to people on disability benefits like the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance. Once their year on ESA runs out, they have a choice of going on Jobseekers’ Allowance (which is problematic as they cannot say they are fit for work), going without benefits altogether, or taking the self-employed cheat.

Some of them might be working but it seems likely that the vast majority aren’t.

Meanwhile, the government gets to fiddle the unemployment statistics to make it seem that the Work Programme is succeeding and more people have jobs.

It is right that the news media should not promote this blatant false accounting. Instead (as Elizabeth Caldow states in the comment column below) they should be exposing it for the outright fabrication that it is.

There should be a law against it.

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16 thoughts on “Coalition spins a li(n)e about disabled people and work; media ignore it

  1. cmgregson

    This figure could be accurate if the ‘start-ups’ are disabled people employing personal assistants through personal budgets instead of receiving care and support through agencies or local authorities. This is also a great job creator as one full time care assistant can end up working several part-time positions employed direct by the same people. There’s no limit to what these guys will go to to distort employment statistics.

    1. cmgregson

      The answer could be very simple- a letter sent by Stelios to local papers last year says there are around 100, 000 disabled self-employed people. A copy is here: http://m.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/letters/stelios-award-for-disabled-entrepreneurs-business-owners-now-s-your-chance-1-5461862 These won’t all be recent start-ups: some will have been going for decades and others will be cottage industries, Avon reps etc. Linking Stelios’ stat with the DWP’s factoids appears to be pure conflation.

  2. jaypot2012

    Re-blogged on Jay’s Journal and commented:
    These lies that can be proved over and over again must be stopped. They are telling these lies in Parliament as well? If so then they should be sacked on the spot, but that won’t happen as all this backdoor coalition have done is lie since they didn’t take power!

  3. Pingback: Coalition spins a li(n)e about disabled people and work; media ignore it | Jay's Journal

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  5. john Keen

    The “self employed” gag has been an option for some time as a dodge around the unemployment (JSA) signing criteria.
    (i could really go on about the bovine waste products of the JSA tag but won’t here).

    You can “start up a business” and although this means you need to do yearly tax returns and will need to pay your own NI contributions (a mere couple of pounds a week) if your not making enough to live on and declare to the DWP you have made little or no money then you can claim income support (or whatever it is called this week)… so your still basically on benefits, just not officially.
    As far as the DWP are concerned you are employed and thus not part of the bad news figures….

  6. Joseph Smith

    This government lied long before it was a government, it was formed and has its basis on lies and false promises, now the lies are being exposed almost on a daily basis they are forced to invent and produce smoke screens in order to stay in power. The sustained attacks on sections of the population and the almost continual questionable statements about immigration the economy reducing unemployment terrorist threats are designed to distract our attention away from what these devious cunning callous pigs are really up to which is the furtherance of themselves, money, and their Fascist ideals. We are sleepwalking to the cliff edge and must wake up and vote them out.

  7. Elizabeth Caldow

    “It is right that the news media should ignore this blatant false accounting”.
    Well, no, rather than ignoring it, should they not be exposing it, in very large front page headlines, for the outright fabrication that it is?

    1. Joseph Smith

      Arnt the governments boys in the media part of the problem? They have no real interest in exposing any government lies, I suspect because of the sanctions which may be imposed in the wake of the hacking row, and which could be used to protect this unscrupulous bunch of bandits

  8. Stephen Bee

    Shouldn’t this be brought, with corroborating evidence..to the attention of the National Statistics Authority and get them to condemn IDS/DWP YET AGAIN..for publicly lying?

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