In the same week David Cameron tried to put us off signing the petition on ESA deaths by saying mortality statistics would be published – but failed to mention that the numbers would be fudged into an ‘Age-Standardised Mortality Rate’ ratio, rather than be a straight statement of the number of deaths…
In the same week that the Gentleman Ranker, Iain Duncan Smith, tried to tell MPs that his Department for Work and Pensions doesn’t collect those figures…
In the same week that the Labour Party told us the DWP’s flagship Universal Credit will take nearly 500 years to roll out across the UK at the current rate, while the cost has increased to £15.8 billion…
… a disabled pensioner named Susie called an LBC radio phone-in and spoke emotionally to Iain Dale about her worries over the forthcoming budget and its implication for another benefit, Disability Living Allowance. Here’s what she had to say:
It is abundantly clear that this poor lady is being driven out of her mind with anxiety about her future – a future which the Conservative Government is deliberately keeping uncertain by refusing to give any hints about its plans for sickness and disability benefits.
The DWP has stated – repeatedly – that it is “irresponsible” to connect the deaths of people claiming sickness and disability benefits with the stress that its ministers have gleefully encouraged, by making changes to the benefits assessment regime that mean no claimant can feel secure about their immediate future – let alone their long-term hopes.
Susie’s call shows that all this bluster is bunkum.
Whatever happens in the July budget, DLA claimants are being migrated onto PIP, a benefit with much harsher – some would say unreasonable – conditions. For a start, it employs the same brutal ‘work capability assessment’ medical test (in fact a tick-box computer questionnaire designed to put people off-benefit if at all possible) as Employment and Support Allowance.
Not only that, but the claim process – originally estimated by the government to take around 2.5 weeks per claimant – has left thousands waiting more than a year for a decision.
The best way to end this deliberate infliction of suffering on those who are already suffering enough is to join together and present a united front.
Protests against DLA/PIP aren’t currently gaining national media attention – but the petition for the government to tell us how many people have died while claiming Employment and Support Allowance has.
Cameron’s false claim that the government will publish those figures has slowed the number of people signing it – exactly as he hoped it would.
So let’s all get behind it. Tell everyone you know that they have been misled by this stranger to the truth – and let’s get more signatures on the petition!
It can be found here, on the Change.org website. If you haven’t signed already, please do so.
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