DWP sentences man with learning disabilities to a life of job searching

UPSET: Edward West has criticised the DWP for deciding he is fit for work [Image: Northern Echo].

UPSET: Edward West has criticised the DWP for deciding he is fit for work [Image: Northern Echo].


Edward West is absolutely right; the Conservative Government couldn’t care less about people like him.

After six years of persecuting the sick and disabled, it is clear that Conservatives consider people like Edward West to be – shall we say – surplus to requirements.

So they’ll get no more help from state funds and will be expected to find their own way in the world. The Tories know their choice will put many people in their graves but simply don’t care.

And for those reading this who are still, after all this time, saying, “He doesn’t look ill”: Take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror.

I’m willing to bet you didn’t think you looked ill, either.

‘The government doesn’t care about people like me’, says a man with learning difficulties after being forced to find work.

Disabled Darlington man Edward West has been considered unable to work for the entirety of his adult life.

At the age of 44, he must now look for full time work within an hour’s commute after the Department of Work and Pensions unexpectedly declared him fit for employment.

Mr West lives in sheltered accommodation, has significant learning difficulties and needs the support of a carer several times a week.

Source: Man with learning disabilities told to ‘go find a job’ by DWP (From The Northern Echo)

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19 thoughts on “DWP sentences man with learning disabilities to a life of job searching

  1. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    In this latest case, it is believed the DWP did not contact Mr West’s GP or consider medical records before making a decision, expecting him to have contacted them for evidence to support his claim.

    In the tragic Mark Wood case (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/28/man-starved-to-death-after-benefits-cut), his GP Nicolas Ward was not contacted by Atos or the Department for Work and Pensions about his patient’s medical history. Dr. Ward told the court that, had he been asked, he would have ruled him unfit for work.

    [see also] My Disability Studies Blackboard: Benefit sanctions are a ‘hard read’ for Britain’s learning disabled http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2015/03/benefit-sanctions-are-jeopardizing.html.

  2. joanna

    What I wonder is, why didn’t his social worker or support worker go with him? He has learning disabilities so they would have known that he had an appointment. It seems that everyone is letting this poor man down!!! But then what can anyone expect when there are no longer the services to cope, what are we paying our council tax for?!!!

  3. jeffrey davies

    just part of their aktion t4 plans by the summer of 41 ops they well and truelly passed this number now

  4. Jacqui White

    Surely he’s going to appeal?

    Mandatory Reconsideration first. They probably won’t change the decision. So then go on to the proper appeal, where he’ll stand a good chance of a sensible decision.

    He needs support from, eg Citizens’ Advice. Can the manger at his sheltered housing help him to access this?

  5. Sven Wraight

    If I understand the Law (the letter, the spirit, officially or in practice?), those currently sentencing him to probable death and certain suffering can’t be held responsible for myrder because no one’s actually “sticking the knife in.” I can’t help but think a better legal approach would be to presume collective responsibility instead of collective irresponsibility and charge all those turning their backs with murder.

  6. inkdropk

    Mike, this is a fault of both the system, and those who impose it. I am not pointing the finger solely at those behind the desk of Jobcentre Plus. But when assessments are made of individuals, its important that (a) a correct record is kept (b) a persons disabilities are noted and understood and (c) (and this is the important one) a persons skills are noted and understood. This of course, requires a proper skills assessment from an independent source….something, I may point out that has been severely lacking from this administration. The attitude of DWP staff appears to be slightly Messianic – namely “Pick up your bed and walk” – but without understanding of a persons disability – How on earth do DWP Mandarins expect people to do a job effectively? another case how #compassionateconservatism is failing? i’ll let you decide.

  7. casalealex

    Peter Dowd (Bootle) (Lab):

    Last week, the High Court ruled that severe delays in assessing disabled people for benefits were unlawful. Given that, will the Prime Minister personally take charge to ensure that these distressing delays do not happen again?

    The Prime Minister:

    First, let me welcome the hon. Gentleman to this place. He is absolutely right to raise this issue. Some of the delays have been unacceptably long for people getting their new benefits, particularly when we are transitioning from disability living allowance to personal independence payments. Those delays are coming down, and I give him my assurance that we will keep on this and make sure that the delays come down still further.

    PMQs 10 Jun 2015 : Column 1189

  8. mrmarcpc

    Bet IDS loved hearing about this, his charges, the homophobe Crabb and mistress of death Patel are doing him proud! The tories couldn’t care less about anyone at all, that’s the right wing way, that’s right wing thinking, they don’t care, even with their own!

  9. maxwell1957

    I have to attend my assessment next week and I am fearful that I will be found to
    be ” fit-for-work ” by some trained monkey who has been taught to tick the right boxes.
    The fact that I have never been on the Employment Register ” also means that I have never been considered as being unemployed because you need to have your name on the aforementioned register BEFORE you are counted as being UNEMPLOYED counts not a jot.
    The reaso for being so considered is because of brain injuries I received at the age of twelve-I didn’t even finish my schooling!
    Now, as I approach my 59th birthday, I am considered, after 46 years of variable levels of ill-health, to be fit-for-work.
    It’s surely a case of ” praise-the-Lord-for such a miraculous improvement in my physical being ” or perhaps, as is more the case, that the minions at the DWP and Maximus ( or whoever ) “were just following orders”. A plea of mitigation that failed to persuade the Judges at The Nuremberg Trials.
    What a set-up!
    And the best thing about it is people; who have next-to-no knowledge either of my history or situation, have the gall to tell me that I shouldn’t worry about it
    Oh well, we shall see what we shall see.

  10. Dave McManus

    How dangerous is this? These guys could kill themselves or someone else in a job. I work with these guys every day, this government is a joke. Some of the guys could and do, a lot of the jobs are unskilled jobs.

  11. Simon Lee Mountford

    This is what Mr IDS wanted from the start he put these policies into place then jumped ship, and now thinks he is the robin hood of disabled people. And to think all his cronies like Patel and Crabb are of the same group that don’t give a dam about how there policies are affecting the disabled. Along side that the support organisations that were supposed to help those of use that have disabilities,Like the Shaw trust and Serco we are having to jump through so many more hops and hurdles. There job clubs are more like boot camps for the disabled because its all about meeting targets so that they get there next contracts, not about helping those of us with disabilities into the right sort of employment, And with ATOS the advisor’s are not trained in the field of disability,so just presume that all disabled people are fit to work, Its like the job centre and its nudging policy so that you are of there books, And we are ready for work even if you go in there crawling they assume you are fit for work.

  12. den carter

    oh ffs – who the hell thinks this is okay? I am seriously concerned about the state this country is in when we give billions to irresponsible, coke snorting bankers who gambled our national reserves and LOST yet are still getting million pound bonuses while we punish the most disadvantaged and needy in our society. Tory voters – please get a grip and ask yourself what exactly are you voting for? And then perhaps explain your choice to the rest of us – and then tell people like Edward how you have rationalised your choice……….

  13. redangelas

    Sadly, this is a perversion of what began as a sensible idea. Many people with disabilities have some capacity for work and would benefit from employment in a suitable job. However nobody gains from having their benefits cut and being forced to apply for jobs regardless of whether they want them, whether the job offers decent pay and conditions, or whether they are physically and mentally able to cope with the job if they were offered it.

  14. NMac

    It really is disgraceful. What on earth ordinary people who support the Tories are thinking about I really don’t know. The Tories would quite gladly, and in fact are trying, to take the country back to the 18th & 19th centuries, with all the evils of abject poverty, slave and child labour, disease and Workhouses. They really do not care about people – only themselves. They have a great deal in common with the Nazi Party of 1930s Germany.

    1. toocomplex4justice

      They don’t have much in common with the Nazis who at least stood by their convictions and just shot people they considered to be subhuman. This lot just allow people to starve to death, a horrible way to go. And they have killed more than action T4 ever did. Hopefully the trials will be as effective at making it clear that when we all said “Never again”‘we meant it, and the decision makers who have gleefully decided to take actions that could only cause harm will be punished. Perhaps even a special death sentence restoration for people who are too evil to deserve their lives be put in place. How can a life sentence in prison for a man that kills one person be also suitable for someone who has killed thousands. Throw them out of power and end their lives. The Nazis would have been ashamed to be compared with these worms

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’d say they do have a lot in common with the Nazis; they’re just more subtle about it. Making sure people starve to death rather than shooting them is probably the heart of compassionate Conservatism.
        I wouldn’t agree with the return of the death sentence. The people responsible need to experience what they’ve done to others, I reckon.

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