Promises on disability and social security show Labour has listened

The Labour Party has paid attention to the people and published a manifesto that promises to end many of the injustices that the Conservative government (with the Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015) introduced.

This Writer feels duty-bound to tell you that reading the chapter on Social Security was an uplifting experience on many levels, as so many of the subjects This Site has highlighted have been tackled.

Labour will scrap the Department for Work and Pensions. This Site said the DWP had become so badly damaged by the culture of persecution instilled in it by Tory ministers from Iain Duncan Smith onwards that the only option was to dissolve it and start again. It will be replaced with a new Department of Social Security.

Labour will scrap Universal Credit. Since it began to be developed, This Site has highlighted the fact that UC was a hugely-expensive disaster – a position that was proved when it was implemented; instead of providing a convenient all-in-one safety net for people facing hard times, it has instead deliberately pushed them into poverty. It will be replaced with a new system, to be developed carefully, intending to end poverty by guaranteeing a reasonable standard of living.

While this new system is being prepared, Labour will introduce interim measures to end the cruelty imposed by the Conservatives (and Liberal Democrats), all of which address complaints raised by This Site and others:

Labour will end the so-called “digital barrier” that obstructs people who have trouble coping with computers and the internet from claiming benefits. It will offer telephone, face-to-face and outreach support.

Labour will end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments.

Labour will reintroduce fortnightly payments, to help people manage their money.

Labour will end the Tory sanction regime.

Labour will scrap the benefit cap.

Labour will end the two-child limit on benefits and scrap the so-called ‘rape clause’, which it describes (as I do) as “immoral and outrageous”.

Labour will pay the child element of benefits to the primary carer, to ensure that women are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships by the system.

The changes won’t just extend to Universal Credit, though.

Labour will end the Bedroom Tax and increase the Local Housing Allowance to protect people against the threat of eviction.

And the party will reform the benefit system to end its punishment of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities:

Labour will end the “dehumanising” Work Capability Assessments and PIP Assessments.

Labour will stop benefit assessments being contracted-out to private companies and ensure that all benefit assessments are carried out by DSS employees in future.

Labour will increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 a week for people in the Work-Related Activity Group, reversing the Tory cut.

Labour will raise the basic rate of support for children with disabilities to the same level as Child Tax Credits.

Labour will give extra support to severely disabled people without a formal carer, so they can meet the extra costs they face.

Labour will increase Carers’ Allowance to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance. This is the only measure that This Writer thinks is inadequate. Having been a carer, I know that CA is a pittance, but an increase of a few pounds a week is unlikely to help much. More harmful is the fact that, if a carer earns more than a set amount (around £120 a week), the entire allowance is cancelled. It would be better to introduce a taper, so that the amount of CA is reduced according to the amount a person earns.

And Labour  will help disabled people who want to work by bringing back specialist employment advisors, introducing a government-backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help people move between jobs more easily, and reviewing support for disabled people at work, including the Access to Work scheme.

These are all terrific policies.

They make Labour the obvious choice for voters who are currently claiming unemployment, sickness or disability benefits.

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14 thoughts on “Promises on disability and social security show Labour has listened

  1. trev

    All great policies, but JSA needs to be increased as the current level of 70-odd quid a week is hopelessly inadequate. Council of Europe said 5 years ago that it is underpaid by 40%. Unless of course JSA will eventually be supplemented or replaced by Basic Income? At the moment though it is far too low.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      UBI is the plan, it seems. Labour would pilot it in a few areas as a start, then roll it out countrywide if it proved practicable.

  2. Neville

    Sorry Mike, but many of these manifesto pledges are simply not deliverable. The country is flat broke, and when the UK finally leave the EU, the situation will get worse as we struggle to pay our bills. Businesses are leaving the UK in droves and our already moribund economy has collapsed. Plus the fact that the biggest barrier to anyone voting Labour….Jeremy Corbyn.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What a lot of dribble!

      The country isn’t broke at all – face facts, the top earners are now THREE TIMES as rich as they were in 2010! All that has happened since then is that the wealth has been diverted to people who don’t pay their taxes. But because the Tory propaganda machine keeps excreting lies, you’re happy to repeat them without even stopping to think.

      I bet you’d happily regurgitate all Boris Johnson’s policies as being sensible stances for a strong and stable future, or some similar tosh, wouldn’t you?

      Your comment seems entirely based on your own antipathy towards Brexit, which hasn’t happened yet and may never become a reality. Yes, businesses have left the UK because of it and yes, it would cause huge damage to the economy. So why are you tacitly supporting the Tories who are demanding the right to vandalise the country in this way?

      But don’t go thinking the economy has collapsed because it hasn’t and it won’t.

      And if you ask me, Mr Corbyn is one of the biggest reasons anyone should vote Labour. He has taken that party from being a pale copy of the Conservatives and turned it back into a champion of the people – exactly as it should be.

      Grow up, please.

      1. wildswimmerpete

        Mike, the country was effectively bankrupt in 1945 but in 1948 Nye Bevan founded the Welfare State and the NHS, in the teeth of furious Tory opposition. When I was born rationing was still in force until 1953. The mid-Fifties saw the arrival of exotic fruit like bananas and pineapples, up to then British seasonal fruit such as apples, pears and berries. Frozen food first appeared – Bird’s Eye and Findus. Fond memories of the concentrated National orange juice and National dried milk. I remember well my ’50s infant-hood and my ’60s teens, wish I could go back.

    2. trev

      Neville, the country isn’t broke, most of the wealth is in the hands of the rich, but that didn’t stop the Tories from giving tax breaks to the rich or from spending £16 Billion (so far) on developing Universal Credit during a period of so-called Austerity did it? It’s all about redistributing the wealth and spending it on the things that matter. You must be very naive!

    3. Jeffrey Davies

      You been hard like the rest BBC itv papers radio have giving you the Tory’s news yet Blair and brown who ruined labour had paid off our war debt to America paid our national debt down but under the tories has raised three four times more while they sold off more silverware whot happend to that money and the best robbed twenty billion from the pension pot oh dear we been done good

  3. Jeffrey Davies

    Are we to see the end of aktion T4 hmm it would bring smiles to those who suffered under the Tory’s RTU IDs I wonder can they have him up before the break for his crimes against his own people’s that would at least bring a smile

  4. Tony Dean

    There is something in that manifesto which worries me:- “Labour follows the social model of disability.”
    That is what has been the root of the problems with disability assessment since when Peter Lilley introduced them.

  5. Dan

    Replacing the DWP “on day one” sounds good… at first. Then you realise that it can only mean that the existing DWP and all the nasty individuals who work for it would simply be rebranded as the “new” DSS.

    The DWP needs to be neutered on day one – scrap sanctions and so on – but it needs to continue until a completely new DSS is ready to take over. People now working in the DWP must not be allowed to join the new DSS. A clean break is needed or the underlying culture will remain just as nasty as it is now and the scumbags will lie and cheat so that nothing really changes.

    1. caldy1caldy1

      ” Then you realise that it can only mean that the existing DWP and all the nasty individuals who work for it would simply be rebranded as the “new” DSS.”

      You get to the nub of the problem facing the implementation of Labour’s Manifesto

      When the pits and other industries were taken into public ownership employees were faced with exactly the same management they had the day before

      But there could be a solution.

      Instead of paying up the contacts of ATOS and all the other leeches implementing the Condem policies, they could be switched to sorting out who, amongst the many decent (yes there are some) current staff members are capable of administering a humane system, and those who can’t

      The latter being sanctioned from all further public employment for several months.

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