If the Equalities and Human Rights Commission does decide to investigate discrimination against disabled people by the DWP, This Writer will applaud.
It means every time a departmental spokesman tries to evade responsibility for causing hardship or even death to a disabled benefit claimant, we can all say…
How disgusting of the DWP to say this, when it is being investigated for discrimination by the EHRC!
… in exactly the same way that the crazy bigoted witch-hunters have been, whenever accusations of anti-Semitism are batted away by the Labour Party.
Anybody suggesting this is unfair treatment of the DWP would have to admit it is also unfair for people to say it of Labour in respect of alleged anti-Semitism – and This Writer would say they were right to do so.
Such claims may only be made if the EHRC records a finding against the organisation it is investigating.
In that – of course – the Labour Party’s situation differs hugely from that of disabled benefit claimants. There is a wealth of information to show discrimination against people with disabilities.
This is also an opportunity to praise Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, who has continued to champion the cause of disabled benefit claimants, even after she was replaced as shadow work and pensions secretary.
I have known Debbie for years, as we have both worked on this issue, and can confirm that she is absolutely dedicated to protecting vulnerable people in the benefit system.
I hope the EHRC makes a swift decision to investigate this ongoing scandal as soon as possible.
Yes, we are going into a general election and a future government may not be formed by the party responsible for the way disabled people are currently treated.
But any findings from an EHRC investigation will serve to inform that government’s future policy – and may even lead to justice for those the current system has so badly betrayed.
The equality watchdog is considering taking action to tackle discrimination in the way decisions are made in the social security system, it revealed this morning… in response to continuing calls for action from Labour MP Debbie Abrahams.
She had told Disability News Service that evidence from disabled people about their appalling experiences of benefit assessments was helping to build a case to persuade EHRC to launch an inquiry into links between the government’s actions and the deaths of claimants.
Abrahams has met with EHRC to discuss her concerns about the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions, following a letter she wrote to the watchdog in June.
She asked EHRC in her letter to investigate why ministers hid documents from Dr Paul Litchfield, their own independent reviewer of the work capability assessment (WCA), when they knew the information would link the “fitness for work” test to the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.
And she told EHRC of her “grave concerns” about how DWP investigates deaths linked to its activity, and the lack of official scrutiny of the treatment of disabled people by DWP and its private sector contractors, Maximus, Capita and Atos, which carry out assessments.
Abrahams is working with disability blogger Dr Chris Whitaker, who has so far collected 570 stories in less than two months from disabled people who have been through the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment system.
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