Some of you may be wondering why This Site is publishing fewer articles lately. The simple answer is: time. I’m trying to fight back against malicious accusations that have been made against me, but the arguments need to be correctly phrased.
So I am grateful that there are people like Mo Stewart around.
Mo has spent years researching the government-engineered (by both the Tories and New Labour) plight of those claiming sickness and disability benefits, and is the author of Cash Not Care: The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State, which is available for purchase if you click on the link.
Along with eight other experts, Mo has just had a letter published in The Guardian, reminding us of exactly what the DWP does to the sick and disabled.
It isn’t pretty.
The British public have reacted to “a sense of betrayal of that so-called British value of fairness” (The hostile environment? Britain’s disabled people live there too, theguardian.com, 26 April). This “sense of betrayal” was only possible because the national press reported the plight of the Windrush scandal, but this is not always the case. Some of the press were happy to promote the exaggerated claims of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which, during five years of coalition government, knowingly misled the public regarding “fake” claimants of disability benefit. Coincidentally, disability hate crimes increased by 213% during the coalition’s term in office.
Influenced by a US healthcare insurance “consultant”, who funded DWP-commissioned research used to justify welfare reforms, the work capability assessment (WCA) adopted the bio-psychosocial model of assessment which has failed all academic scrutiny. The WCA is used by the DWP to resist access to the employment and support allowance (ESA) sickness and disability benefit, which is the financial equivalent of jobseeker’s allowance, so there is no financial incentive when claiming ESA.
This DWP assessment totally disregards diagnosis, prognosis, past medical history and all medical opinion. Deaths of genuine claimants were always inevitable. There is a reason why the DWP has refused to publish updated ESA mortality totals since February 2014, as suicides linked to the ESA assessment climb. It’s time for this ideological DWP tyranny to end, and for the national press to stop disregarding another national atrocity impacting on disabled people.
The letter is signed by:
Mo Stewart Independent disability studies researcher
Professor Woody Caan Editor, Journal of Public Mental Health
Dr Tanya Titchkosky Professor of disability studies, University of Toronto
Professor Peter Beresford Professor of citizen participation, Essex University
Dr Marion Hersh Senior lecturer, biomedical engineering, Glasgow University
Dr Dominic Griffiths Senior lecturer in Inclusive Education and SEN, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Anne Daguerre Assistant professor in work, employment and welfare, Middlesex University
Dr Simon Duffy Director, Centre for Welfare Reform
Vin West Chair, Arfon Access Group
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