Tories urged to push disabled benefit claimants onto private insurance schemes


The Unum Corporation, a US-based firm with a criminal record for fabricating reasons NOT to pay out to customers, has been advising the UK government on benefits for decades.

It looks like there’s a new drive to push benefit claimants onto private insurance schemes that aren’t likely to pay out. Happy New Year.

The article quoted below appeared on the ConservativeHome blog on December 29. It is by one Matthew Oakley, who joined ‘independent’ public policy think tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF) as a senior researcher in July 2015 after having been with Which?, and an ‘economic adviser’ to the Treasury.

It is evidenceless policy, rather than evidence-based research, and therefore deeply flawed. The whole idea of getting a million disabled people into work, regardless of their personal circumstances, is nonsense.

This Writer likes the comment on the article by Sue Marsh (yes, that Sue Marsh), stating: “These articles see those claiming out of work benefits as a static lump of 2.5 million (the implication is lazy) long term claimants who need a ‘nudge’. They are not, they are an ever changing group as people roll on and off of the benefit. Until legislators understand this, reform will fail.”

Quite right. Moreover, anybody in the UK who has paid tax in any form has funded a benefit system that includes state benefits for sickness and disability. There is no reason to trust the private sector to provide insurance against sickness in a reliable way – look at the Unum corporation’s criminal record in this regard. That company now provides advice to the UK government – and has done so for more than two decades, to both the Tories and Labour.

Any suggestion that sickness benefits may be handed over to private firms is a call to condemn people with long-term health conditions to neglect, poverty and death.

We already know that a White Paper is pencilled in for the first few months of 2016 and a new programme to provide employment support for this group will be commissioned later in the year. Little detail has been announced, but there are clear signals of where the Government’s attention is focussed:

Modernising the welfare state: With continued pressure on the public finances, more emphasis will continue to be placed on personal responsibility. Personally, I don’t see much more scope to increase conditionality or the role of sanctions. Instead, a bold Government could transform the welfare state to reinvigorate the contributory principle – the idea that families are supported by the contributions they make. An obvious place to make progress here would be to support individuals or firms to enter income protection schemes. Doing so would take pressure off the public finances and mean more people facing health problems could be supported to recover. Other countries show us that such approaches can be developed collectively and schemes like Pool Re and Flood Re (that provide government-supported insurance for terrorism and flooding respectively) show us that Government has a key role in removing the tail-end risks that usually present a barrier to wide scale entry of the insurance industry into this market.

Source: Matthew Oakley: Five ways to help one million more disabled people into work | Conservative Home

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11 thoughts on “Tories urged to push disabled benefit claimants onto private insurance schemes

  1. Dez

    Why are Governments attracted to even enter negotiations/discussions with US and UK Companies with such appaling records and lack of any integrity. I just wonder how much generous lobbying goes on to open doors for such poor bets. I would love to know the names of all those who were first approached to open the flood gates to such low life companies to even get a look in. Appreciate like attracts like.

  2. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    Matthew Oakley: “Benefit sanctions provide a vital backstop in the social security system for jobseekers.” (Independent review of the operation of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions validated by the Jobseekers Act 2013; Matthew Oakley, J u ly 2014, Foreword, page 4), and he appears to endorse—or at least raise no objections to—the life-threatening ESA (WRAG) cuts: ” Alongside existing cuts to the rate of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for claimants in the Work Related Activity Group, Iain Duncan Smith’s summer speech pointed towards significant further reform.” (Matthew Oakley: Five ways to help one million more disabled people into work | Conservative Home

    My Twitter response to Matthew Oakley: @MJ_Oakley It is my firm belief that there will be an exponential increase in suicides if the proposed ESA (WRAG) c…

    Matthew Oakley endorses the draconian policies of the DWP, which is why he was selected to author a report on JSA sanctions.

  3. paulrutherford8

    I can never go abroad with any health cover because I can’t afford the insurance [specialised ‘disabled-friendly’ firms exist].

    No insurance company is going to take this on, unless the insurance is universally taken up on one’s first ever job, and forward through life.Privatised National Insurance.

    But yes, when it comes to making a claim, I should imagine there will be more than a little difficulty in getting a payout.

    And how the hell does a ‘Which?’ employee get a job in a think-tank… well, I suppose it is #ToryUK.

  4. joanna

    You should see the comments Mike, One of them is suggesting that picking up litter is a suitable job for people with emotional or personality problems What about agoraphobics? Also don’t offenders still do that as community payback? methinks being disabled is considered a criminal offence!

  5. AndyH

    There were 2.5 million people on IB. It was claimed a ‘vigorous’ process would reduce those numbers to 1.5 million. There are now 2.5 million. Conclusion? There are actually 2.5 million sick people at any time – they are not the same people – but there is that amount of people. Why this reality is hard to accept is beyond me. Thanks for fighting Mike! Never give up, never stop voodooing Cameron!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The problem is simply that they keep attacking the symptom and not the cause.
      If Government (of whatever colour) concentrated on eliminating the situations and circumstances that make people ill, those numbers would start to drop. But that’s not happening.

  6. mozzas01

    This can’t really come as any surprise.
    My research report, published in Jan 2015, has been accessed in excess of 500 times via ResearchGate so this has been predicted for a long time. Now the Tories will attempt to make it happen this Parliament .

    See: The influence of the private insurance industry on the UK welfare reforms:

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I was hoping you would comment on this.
      I know there has also been a lively discussion on email. Perhaps some of those taking part in that would like to visit and offer their observations, also?

Comments are closed.