Lying, mealy-mouthed politics: Sarah Newton says the disabled aren’t facing a hostile environment

Stop lying: Sarah Newton made the appeal to Opposition MPs who accused the government of creating a “hostile environment” for disabled benefit claimants – but she was the one who was telling porkies.

The Conservative minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, is a desperate woman.

So desperate is she, it appears she is happy to lie to Parliament about the plight of people with disabilities who are trying hard to survive the governments of David Cameron and Theresa May.

The simple fact is that 71 per cent of PIP appeals in the first three months of this year were granted, because the Tory system is rigged to prevent claimants from receiving the benefit.

The figure represents only five or six in every 100 claimants who have been turned down for the benefit – despite the fact that benefit fraud is known to occur in fewer than one per cent of cases – because there is scant support for them to appeal with no legal aid to pay for it; because an appeal is a lengthy time-consuming process and appeals are not routinely undertaken by welfare rights agencies such as the CAB.

Before they even get to appeal, claimants have to go through the lengthy process of ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’, with no chance of payment until any decision is made. No wonder so many give up on the process and try to find another way – although we have no information on what that other way may be – apart from this:

Still, from a certain point of view Ms Newton is right.

It isn’t a “hostile environment” along the lines of that faced by the Windrush Generation – the environment for disabled benefit claimants under the Tory government is downright homicidal.

I seem to recall mentioning this quite recently… oh yes! It was a few days ago when Jeremy Corbyn was coming out with his weak claim that there is “evidence” to show Tory austerity policies have caused people to die. We don’t just have evidence – we have proof.

It was certainly persuasive enough for the United Nations to find that the UK’s Tory government has committed “grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s rights” after an investigation.

But Ms Newton had the nerve to try spin the situation, claiming that talk of a “hostile environment” is actually putting people off claiming benefits – when we all know it is Tory policies that are turning genuine claimants away.

The information about PIP appeals (above) is clear. Yet Ms Newton has the insolence to say those who accurately attack Tory policy should “stop saying things which they know are not true.”

She knew she was saying things that were not true.

Of course, Parliament is supposed to have procedures to penalise MPs who lie to their fellows. Those procedures have failed time and time again over the last eight years.

One wonders if those who allegedly safeguard Parliamentary standards will ever get their fingers out and do their jobs.

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7 thoughts on “Lying, mealy-mouthed politics: Sarah Newton says the disabled aren’t facing a hostile environment

  1. trev

    It’s like we’re living under some sort of Dictatorship where there are no rules of accountability and those in power can just say what they want whether it’s true or not.

  2. Justin

    I very rarely use a phrase like fos, so I am going to not use it but to describe a situation, I volunteer, what role I do I wont mention but when i see unreal people like this, I use fos as a statement, so my suggestion, summer is coming and parliament is going to be shutdown. lets get them all out to work in the environment they are connected to, Sarah we have a role for you, same as ids, will he man up to a voluntary role in am unit, and as for mcvey well she could cook her own breakfast, lets get all the tory hangers on that are responsible for policy and take them out into the big real world, I even give some free time to educate them

  3. Simon Cohen

    Newton is clearly flying in the face of the evidence as Mike points out. There is a lot of research showing that public attitudes toward the disabled worsened from 1997 onward and nose dived after 2010.

    The British Social Attitudes survey states:

    The last five years (report is from 2015) have seen, at most, a very small reversal of the long-term decline in support for
    welfare spending.
    • Support for increasing taxes and spending more on health, education and social benefits fell
    from 63% in 2002 to 32% by 2010 – and had only increased slightly to 37% by 2014.
    • The level of agreement with spending more on welfare benefits for the poor fell from 61% in
    1989 to 27% in 2009, and remained low, at 30% in 2014.

    Rises in attacks on the disabled have increased, we’ve had appalling language from Government ministers like the ghastly Lord Freud and Osborne’s reference to ‘those that get up in the morning. Osborne was vigorously booed at the opening of the Paralympics which he had the Chutzpah to open and grinned moronically. Katherine Quarmby has catologued much of this in her book ‘Scapegoat’ .

  4. Lynn Jenks

    I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which has recently been recognised as a disability. I’m 62, so I have another four years to work before I can claim my pension. I drag myself to work every day, often in a great deal of pain. But I daren’t retire early on medical grounds, precisely because I can’t face dealing with the hostility I’ve faced whenever I’ve dealt with the DWP in the past.This hostility is not a new thing. But under our far-right government it is far worse.

  5. Daphne Parkin

    “We don’t just have evidence, we have proof”. Evidence IS proof. “Evidence” and “Proof” are synonyms of each other.

Comments are closed.