The Labour Party is likely to scrap the hated Work Capability Assessment for people claiming sickness and disability benefits, replacing it with “something that looks very different” – but you haven’t heard anything about it on the news, have you?
Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Kate Green, said she would be treating with “great seriousness” the Beyond the Barriers report by the Spartacus online campaigning network, which concluded that the WCA is “inaccurate, unreliable and invalid” – but you won’t have heard anything about that on the TV or radio, or read it in the papers either.
Vox Political found it on the Centre for Independent Living’s website, The Fed Online, after being pointed to it by a link on social media. The article – from Friday (April 11) – said Beyond the Barriers was “backed by evidence from more than 1,200 sick and disabled people”, and drew on the best of the systems used by seven other countries.
It said the report “demands a new system that is ‘radical and ambitious’ and ‘inspires, enables and encourages’ disabled people, rather than the current ‘punishing, penalty-based system'”.
Kate Green said she would not want to scrap the assessment immediately, but would want to replace it as soon as possible.
She criticised the points-based format of the current, computer-based test, and its focus on a one-off “snapshot” of each claimant’s condition – which takes no account of fluctuating ailments.
But she also warned that the Department for Work and Pensions has been pushed into a “very fragile” state by its Conservative Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, with his hopeless Universal Credit project and problems with the new Personal Independence Payment and ESA – both of which were related to the work capability assessment.
She said a Labour government would have to be careful not to “knock the whole department over completely” with any changes.
This blog would rather have the whole DWP dismantled, with its work turned over to a new organisation – or several. It seems clear that the attitudes of the department’s heads, along with the damaging work ethic they have propogated, make the DWP unsustainable in its current form.
For the rest of the article, visit this site.
LabourList, the UK’s top political blog, added its support to Beyond the Barriers, with columnist Luke Akehurst stating: “It cogently promotes a viable policy alternative which protects the interests of disabled people without being profligate with public money.”
He continues: “The report calls for: ‘Work for those who can. Security for those who can’t. Support for all.’
“This is the language of Labour’s values. We could do a lot worse than implementing this report’s proposals if we get into government.
“Read the report. Get angry about what the Government has done to disabled people. And get organised to ensure our Party takes these excellent ideas, from disabled people themselves, seriously.”
The rest of that article is here.
How sad that Beyond the Barriers – and Labour’s reaction to it – has been ignored en masse by the news media. It seems a sensible response to this issue is unwanted in those areas.
And a senior member of the Labour Party supporting this sensible attitude would be a long way off-script for the right-wing press, whose mogul bosses need to depict Labour as even more crazed than the loonies in blue ties that their papers and TV stations support.
Still, there it is.
This blog now awaits the fevered response from commenters who have remained determined to trash Labour’s policies.
Let’s see you get your ignorance out, in the face of all the evidence.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
Vox Political needs your help. We can’t get the facts to you without it!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:
Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here: