Well done to Johnny Void for finding this:
A chilling vision of the future has been presented by Tory think-tank Reform who have called for all out of work sickness and disability benefits to be scrapped, even for the most seriously ill, alongside a Jobcentre programme of forced medical treatment.
In a report published this month Reform argue that paying those with serious health conditions more money than those simply on the dole acts as a disincentive to find employment. Instead every claimant, no matter how unwell, should receive just over £70 a week, although they concede that this should be combined with an increase in Personal Independence Payments – the benefit paid to those either in or out of work which is intended to cover the additional costs of living with a disability. Many people on out of work sickness benefits are not eligible for these payments however.
The report also calls for increased conditionality for sickness benefits including a mandatory occupational health plan. This could involve a requirement to take up medical treatment with the threat of benefit sanctions for non-compliance. Astionishingly this treatment plan would not be agreed with a claimant’s GP but would instead be drawn up by a ‘Healthcare Professional’ working under the supervision of an Occupational Health specialist. Reform generously warn that sanctions would have to be carefully applied – they are opposed to people being sanctioned because they didn’t get better they claim – but elsewhere they raise the prospect of a sanction being inflicted because someone failed to follow the correct state-mandated diet.
The real reason for these proposals are not to help people but to save money and help Iain Duncan Smith acheive his aim of throwing one million people off sickness benefits by pretending that they aren’t really sick or disabled anymore…. Ensuring strict conditions for benefits helps keep down the ‘reservation wage’ – the minimum amount that people are prepared to work for. The inference is clear, those on sickness benefits should be pushed into the lowest possible paid work as quickly as possible. The only flimsy evidence available that work is good for your health is quite clear that this only applies if you have a good job. Reform want to force sick and disabled people into work which is likely to be harmful as a lesson to the rest of us not to get ill in case we become unproductive and the profit that the rich glean from our work might fall slightly.
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