Tag Archives: capability

Every new MP receives briefing on how Tory social security reforms have harmed us – so they can’t say they don’t know

Long-term readers of This Site will remember Mo Stewart, the researcher into the harm being caused to claimants of sickness and disability benefits by successive Conservative governments’ determination to convert the social security system to a for-profit insurance scheme.

Mo spent 10 years researching and writing a book on this subject: Cash Not Care – The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State.

After the 2019 general election, she became concerned that the huge new influx of Conservative MPs – along with those from other political parties – were ignorant of the harm that government policies had caused.

So she wrote a briefing paper specifically addressing the issue and sent it to all of them.

Labour’s John McDonnell has apparently offered to arrange a debate on the subject, if possible.

Whether or not that happens, Mo has provided me with a copy of the document so we all have a record of what these MPs should know – and so they won’t be able to plead ignorance.

And here it is:

Social Policy Abused:
The Creation Of Preventable Harm

Executive Summary

The Preventable Harm Project (the Project) ran for ten years and closed in November 2019, with the evidence identified within the Project findings widely promoted during 2019/20. The Project identified the bipartisan political ambition to eventually remove the UK welfare state, to be replaced by private income replacement health insurance. In order to remove the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the psychological security provided by the welfare state. This was achieved by the adoption of a flawed disability assessment model, and the manipulation of the general public aided by the tabloid press, that successfully demonised claimants of disability benefit(s). Large numbers of suicides linked to the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment are overlooked by the Department for Work and Pensions, and successive Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports, highlighting the link between the Work Capability Assessment and suicides, have also been disregarded. The Work Capability Assessment was fatally flawed by design and should be abolished, and the departmental intimidation of disability benefit claimants should be outlawed.

Introduction: The Creation of Preventable Harm

1. Introduced in 2008 to restrict access to the new Employment and Support Allowance long-term out-of-work disability benefit, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a ‘non-medical functional assessment’ that disregards all clinical opinion. Since 2010, the WCA has been linked to the deaths of thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants who applied for state financial support when unable to work, yet were deemed to be ‘fit for work’ by the fatally flawed WCA.

2. Twelve years since the adoption of the WCA there is an identified and growing mental health crisis within the UK linked to claimants of disability benefit(s), and a disturbing increase in suicides directly linked to the WCA, as identified by published academic research but dismissed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“The worst thing, I find, is realising that I am forced into looking for a life that I want but have no chance of having. I seriously feel I may kill myself because being sick, having next to no money, no life, no future, no cure, constant pain and constant disapproval defeats me.”

An extract from the ‘Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work-Related Activity Group’ project, conducted by Catherine Hale and published by MIND and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

3. In both 2006 and 2007 the government’s own expert medical panel warned the administration not to adopt the WCA, advising that it was ‘not fit for purpose’ due to the predictable negative impact on public mental health. The expert panel’s clinical opinion was disregarded by the DWP. The removal of clinical opinion from disability assessment using the WCA guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die, as the state removed the financial and the psychological security of a guaranteed income when unfit to work.

4. There have been two official Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports linking the WCA to suicides, with other Coroners expressing concern at inquests due to the identified enforced suffering of the deceased by the DWP. Coroners’ official Rule 43 reports and identified concerns are disregarded by the DWP, whose social policy reforms since 2010 created preventable harm to those in greatest need linked to intimidation. The constant threat of sanctions, which removes all disability benefit income, leaves the chronically ill and disabled community in need of state financial support living in fear of the DWP.

5. Regardless of the Jobcentre being advised that a claimant is unable to attend an interview due to ill health, disabled claimants are routinely met with an ‘institutional reluctance’ to meet their needs, as identified in Coroner’s reports. Jobcentre staff’s decisions to sanction a claimant can cause death by starvation, in C21st UK, when all income is removed for a period of weeks or months. No-one is held to account when some of those in greatest need are starved to death by the state.

6. The WCA is used to limit access to all state disability funding including the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit and the War Pensions for older working-age disabled veterans, which is a military medical pension not an out-of-work benefit.

7. The WCA is regularly and inappropriately referred to as a ‘medical assessment’ by the DWP, MPs, academics, policy advisers and journalists. The WCA is not a medical assessment and is totally unrelated to clinical opinion. The adoption of the WCA is identified as being attributed to psychocoercion by successive administrations, to remove what once was the psychological security of the welfare state for anyone who is unfit to work.

8. Identified in 2008 by the American Association of Justice as being the second worst insurance company in America, the corporate insurance giant Unum (Provident) Insurance have been advisers to the UK government since 1992, and were appointed as the official UK government consultants for ‘welfare claims management’ from 1994. Concerned by the increase in various conditions that could not be confirmed by blood tests or x-rays, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Unum Insurance adopted a biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability assessment, which disregards all clinical opinion.

9. Unum advised the UK government as to how to adopt a similar BPS assessment model in the UK, and funded an assessment centre at Cardiff University for this purpose. The DWP adopted the discredited Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment for the WCA, which disregards diagnosis, prognosis, past medical history and prescribed medicines. The human consequences of using the WCA is that many of those in greatest need would die, with many driven to suicide with a common perception that anyone claiming to be unfit to work, and in need of state financial support, will be persecuted by the DWP. The Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment failed all academic scrutiny.

Policy recommendations

• Since 2009 every clinical authority in the UK have demanded that the WCA should be abolished. This includes the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Nurses and the British Psychological Society. Introduced by the private health insurance industry, disregarding clinical opinion was always dangerous. The WCA is fatally flawed and should be abolished without further delay, to be replaced with a disability assessment that considers clinical opinion, with many assessments being paper-based, so that the chronically ill and disabled community are no longer intimidated by the DWP.

Research findings
• In order to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state it was necessary to discredit vast numbers of disability benefit claimants, aided by the tabloid press, which helped to manipulate the British public.
• Social policies were adopted with a fiscal priority whilst disregarding health and wellbeing, which policymakers failed to take into account when recommending policies which were harmful.
• Since 2010 the social policy reforms, and the additional austerity measures, were destined to have a catastrophic and often fatal consequence for many of those in greatest need. Thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants have died when ‘killed by the state,’ with a 2014 NHS Digital Adult Psychiatry Morbidity Survey report that identified that almost 50 percent of ESA disability benefit claimants had attempted suicide at some point.
• Prosecuted disability hate crimes, including murder, increased by 213 percent between 2010-2016, during the coalition government’s term in office.
• The relationship between physical health and mental health is well documented. The numbers of benefit claimants who have perished due to social policies since 2010 will never be known.
• Published in September 2016 ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’ provides the results of the first six years of independent disability studies research for the Preventable Harm Project. The book is now recommended reading for various social policy, health and legal courses at universities in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

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Thousands of disabled students could get Universal Credit after woman wins legal fight

Tactical cruelty: perhaps DWP bosses realised they were going to lose a court case so they changed the law in order to ensure that disabled students would continue to be unable to claim Universal Credit.

This is good news for many – but not for everybody:

Tens of thousands of disabled students could qualify for Universal Credit after 22-year-old mostly-blind Sidra Kauser won a legal victory over a loophole saying she could not claim Universal Credit.

To receive the benefit, she would have had to take a work capability assessment – but the DWP’s rules contained a bizarre ‘Catch-22’ that she could not take the test, because she is a student.

As a result, she could not be found to have limited capability for work, and therefore couldn’t receive the benefit.

The High Court has quashed the DWP’s decision, saying it breaches the Tory-run government department’s own regulations, dating back to 2013 – and ordered it to pay Ms Kauser’s legal fees.

But this fight is not over because the Tory government changed the law on August 5, ensuring that disabled students claiming Universal Credit after that date would not be invited to a work capability assessment and therefore would not be eligible for the benefit at all.

That will have to be challenged in a future court case.

But this is another victory for crusading lawyers Leigh Day, who explained the case:

Sidra Kauser, aged 22, from Halifax, is visually impaired and is currently studying for a masters degree at York University.

She received Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but that, combined with a student loan, was not enough to provide her with an acceptable standard of living. After payment of her rent, she had £120 a month to live on.

She applied for universal credit, but because she was a student, she was refused a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which meant she was effectively disentitled from claiming universal credit.

Sidra applied for a judicial review of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) policy (which stated that disabled students shouldn’t be invited to a WCA), arguing that the law required the DWP to conduct a WCA to determine whether she had limited capability for work, in which case she would be entitled to universal credit.

Now, after the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, told the court in July, 2020 that she would not be defending Sidra’s claim, a high court judge has ruled that the SSWP had acted unlawfully and has quashed the decision to refuse Sidra’s claim for universal credit.

Sidra will now be given a WCA, and if she is deemed to be unable to work, she will be entitled to make a claim for universal credit.

The court ruling also has an impact on those disabled students whose applications for universal credit had previously been unsuccessful because they had been refused a WCA.

However, on 5 August the DWP changed the law so that other disabled students who made a claim for universal credit after that date would not be invited  to a WCA and would not therefore be able to establish their limited capability for work.

Ms Kauser said: “I am glad I decided to take a stand and pursue my claim for judicial review of the DWP decision to refuse me a WCA. Hopefully other students will benefit from the court ruling.”

Leigh Day solicitor Lucy Cadd added: “Sidra made a brave stand against the decision to refuse her a WCA and it has proved successful. It has been estimated by the charity Disability Rights UK that the Secretary of State’s unlawful policy, which has been in operation since 2013, could have adversely affected 30,000 disabled students. Other disabled students who were refused a WCA prior to 5 August 2020 and therefore lost out on their claim for universal credit, should ask the Secretary of State to revise her decision.

“Although the DWP has callously changed the regulations to prevent more disabled students being entitled to a WCA, there may be scope for legal challenge to the new regulations.”

Source: Disabled student wins right to be considered for universal credit

DWP disabled sanctions extension shows great tragedy is due to timing, too

Habitual cruelty: if you thought the Tories stopped persecuting people with long-term illnesses and disabilities during the Covid-19 crisis, think again.

The Department for Work and Pensions has employed its usual subtlety and tact – and has extended benefit sanctions against people with disabilities in time for the new English lockdown.

People with long-term illnesses and/or disabilities who fail to take part in telephone work capability assessments are now to be sanctioned. The change was brought in on November 2, days before the new lockdown began.

The change has been attacked by mental health charity Mind as an “abandonment of their responsibility to keep people safe”.

Mind’s Ayaz Manji said:

We need to see a compassionate response to this pandemic.

That has to mean removing benefit sanctions and cancelling reassessments for disability benefits so that people with mental health problems don’t face the prospect of going without income this winter.

Sadly, we are not going to see any compassion from the Department for Work and Pensions while it is under Tory control.

The Department has said nobody will be sanctioned without being contacted first – which raises interesting questions if assessors can’t even phone up a claimant properly:

People will be contacted to ask them to explain why they did not, or could not attend or participate in the assessment and where good cause is provided and accepted, support will continue.

We don’t want to sanction anyone and our absolute priority is to ensure people continue to receive the support they are entitled to.

We will contact anyone who hasn’t engaged in a telephone appointment and their support will absolutely continue if they have a good reason for not attending or participating.

We’ve heard it all before. Expect a slew of articles about the DWP failing to follow this simple routine.

Source: DWP extends benefit sanctions against disabled people just as new lockdown begins – Mirror Online

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Chorus of derision greets announcement that Iain Duncan Smith is to be knighted


Former Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to be knighted – presumably for his services to genocide and eugenics.

This is the Tory who made changes to the assessment procedures for sickness and disability benefits that assumed anybody claiming them was either lying or deluding themselves.

Result: Countless deaths (literally. The Conservatives have point-blank refused to count the number of deaths caused as a result of these policies).

Mr Duncan Smith – IDS, as he is sometimes called (or RTU on This Site; he was in the army once, and RTU signifies a candidate to be an officer who fails to make the grade) – is the person most directly responsible for those deaths, in the opinion of This Writer (and many others who are aware of the facts).

The deaths – and the unwillingness to acknowledge the facts of their occurrence – suggest a desire to end the lives of everybody who has a disability, long-term illness or congenital health condition: genocide.

The fact that they would also lead to the removal from the gene pool of people with those conditions suggests eugenics.

Vile.

And the fact that Boris Johnson is quite happy to make him a knight for his work in this respect tells us everything about his government and what it is:

Vile.

But don’t take my word for it – consider the following reactions to the announcement:

https://twitter.com/maliharez/status/1210655008896749569

https://twitter.com/Rachael_Swindon/status/1210656218445991936

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Dying dad deemed fit to work left with just £15 a week – but has the DWP done its duty?

Darryl Nicholson: Short-changed by the government.

Has the Department for Work and Pensions really followed its safeguarding rules for people whose health could be in serious danger here?

Is Mr Nicholson receiving “fit notes” from his GP, or has the doctor been told not to issue them any more because the patient has been classified “fit for work” and the government now lies about whether those letters are still necessary?

I’d like answers to these questions but of course the DWP does not comment on individual cases.

And there are now so many individual cases that it is impossible to keep informed about them all, let alone comment on them.

A dying dad told he was fit for work by the Department for Work and Pensions was left with just £15 a week to live off after his benefits were cut.

The 47-year-old, who could only have two years left to live, has stage three emphysema. Darryl Nicholson also has bronchitis asthma, anxiety and depression.

He was receiving Employment Support Allowance (ESA) but after attending a mandatory work capability assessment the DWP deemed him fit for working.

Darryl, who tragically lost his wife to cancer, underwent a mandatory reconsideration which was rejected and he is now awaiting a tribunal.

While on ESA, Darryl received £474 per month directly into his bank account. But after being put on to Universal Credit his money has been halved, receiving just £236 per month.

After paying £48 for his phone bill, £60 per month for electric and £10.37 for gas, Darryl is left with around £15 per week for food.

Source: Dying dad deemed fit to work by DWP left with just £15 a week after benefits cut – Birmingham Live

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‘First do no harm’: Public to lobby Parliament over DWP assessments

Activists are to lobby Parliament next month in a bid to persuade MPs to impose stricter rules on the assessors hired by private firms to judge whether people claiming sickness and/or disability benefits are faking it.

The First Do No Harm lobby on February 13 aims to expose the continued harm caused to disabled people by the Tory government’s work capability assessments (WCAs), concentrating on the repeated failure of assessors hired by the Department for Work and Pensions to collect and pay proper regard to further medical evidence, as needed to judge a claimant’s eligibility for sickness and disability benefits.

It has been organised by Labour’s Treasury and work and pensions teams, through shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood, after campaigning by the disabled people’s grassroots group Black Triangle and other disabled activists.

The aim is to push for the principle of “First Do No Harm” – a concept that should be at the heart of any true medical professional’s moral code – to be included in the benefits assessment process, through a framework that “treats disabled people with dignity and respect”.

This would introduce new “safety protocols” to ensure that the health and lives of disabled people are not put at risk by unfair decisions on eligibility following a WCA.

The lobby also aims to push the Conservative government to bow to years of pressure to carry out a cumulative assessment of the impact of its social security cuts and reforms on disabled people.

And it will call for an end to the government’s sanctions and conditionality regime.

The lobby is due to take place on Wednesday 13 February between 1pm and 6pm, with the briefing from 2-3.30pm, in the Palace of Westminster’s committee room 15. The committee room can be used for one-to-one meetings with MPs or further discussions on the issue from 1-2pm and then from 3.30-6pm

You can read more details in this Disability News Service article – and then you are invited to help out.

While the lobby has been organised by Labour, it is hoped that MPs from all parties will attend – especially Conservatives. And they’re only likely to do so if their constituents demand it.

It doesn’t matter if you are sick, disabled or able-bodied – if you want your MP to attend the lobby, get in touch – for example, by using the website WriteToThem, saying you wish to seek an appointment on the day of the lobby.

One more thing: Spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network you use.

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Did McVey quit the government to avoid questions on disability deaths cover-up?

Runner: Esther McVey got out of the DWP before she could be made to answer some very difficult questions.

Remember when Esther McVey quit the government last week, claiming it was because of Brexit, and I suggested she was running to avoid having to answer the criticisms of the Department for Work and Pensions raised by UN inspector Philip Alston?

It turned out that she had already exchanged words with the special rapporteur on poverty – but now it seems I was not wrong after all, as Ms McVey’s departure allowed her to avoid answering questions on a possible link between the hated Work Capability Assessment carried out by private contractors on behalf of the DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants.

This issue is whether the government showed key documents linking the deaths of claimants with the work capability assessment (WCA) to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert hired to review the test in 2013 and 2014.

Dr Litchfield carried out the fourth and fifth reviews of the WCA but has refused to say if he was shown two letters written by coroners and a number of secret DWP “peer reviews”.

In the light of recent revelations, it seems reasonable to ask whether this is because he was asked to sign a ‘gagging order’ – a non-disclosure agreement requiring him not to say anything embarrassing or critical about the Conservative government or its minister.

Dr Litchfield published his two reviews in December 2013 and November 2014, but neither mentioned the documents, which all link the WCA with the deaths of claimants.

Disability News Service raised the issue in July, prompting Opposition spokespeople to send official letters demanding an explanation. Labour shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova’s was written on July 25, and Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd’s followed on August 2.

Neither had received a response by the time Ms McVey walked out, as DNS reported.

I think we can safely conclude that the four-month delay – so far – indicates Ms McVey intended never to respond. The disagreement over Brexit provided a handy excuse to do a runner.

Will Amber Rudd be more forthcoming?

The evidence of her time at the Home Office suggests the opposite.

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Theresa May’s snub to grieving mum shows Tories are engineering benefit-related deaths – and they don’t care

Theresa May: She couldn’t care less.

You know what I’m going to say about this.

The Department for Work and Pensions is adamant that we must not claim any causal effect between its decisions and any downturn in benefit claimants’ health – including death.

But that doesn’t work in this case.

Jodey Whiting was found ‘fit for work’ in the face of a wealth of evidence showing the opposite to be the case.

For a start, she had missed a work capability assessment because she had been in hospital undergoing treatment for a brain cyst – and pneumonia.

She had been taking 23 tablets a day, and morphine twice daily, for conditions including scoliosis and bipolar disorder.

She was clearly unfit for work.

But the Department for Work and Pensions’ decision-maker refused to reschedule the assessment and found Ms Whiting ‘fit for work’ instead. The DWP then rubber-stamped a refusal of her request for mandatory reconsideration.

She contacted Citizens’ Advice – and an attempt to secure a new work capability assessment was put in motion – but Ms Whiting took her own life days later.

The ‘fit for work’ decision was rescinded only a couple of weeks after her death.

Job done, you see. The Tories could afford to admit they were wrong because their victim had died and would not burden the benefit books any more. That is how they work.

And now they can’t even be bothered to fake sorrow for the death. Mrs May’s correspondence team failed to offer condolences and her spokesperson refused even to comment on the matter.

The lack of any decent human consideration, coupled with the callousness inherent in the way they treated the deceased woman, damns the Tories.

A disabled woman whose daughter took her own life after being wrongly found “fit for work” has vowed to continue her fight for justice, despite the prime minister’s office brushing off her request for a meeting.

Joy Dove wrote in July to ask for a meeting with Theresa May to discuss the tragic death of her daughter Jodey Whiting in February 2017, and the thousands of other disabled victims of the government’s “wrong decisions”.

But the prime minister’s correspondence team dismissed her letter and replied just days later to say that a meeting would not be possible because of “the tremendous pressures of her diary”.

The letter failed to even mention Jodey Whiting or her death or express any condolences.

Source: WCA tragedy woman’s mum vows to fight on for justice despite No 10 letter snub

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Why did disability charity United Response appoint a private health insurance boss as chair?

Malcolm McCaig.

What can I say about the Unum corporation that I haven’t already mentioned, years ago?

Nothing. Here’s a recap:

“If we know anything at all about the Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits, we know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it kills. There is a wealth of evidence proving this, and if any readers are in doubt, please take a look at MPs tell their own Atos horror stories.

“The WCA is, at least nominally, based on the biopsychosocial model developed by George Engel. He wanted to broaden the way people think about illness, taking into account not only biological factors but psychological and social influences as well.

“The theory forms the basis of the system of insurance claims management adopted by US giant Unum when its bosses realised that their profits were being threatened by falling interest rates – meaning the company’s investments were losing value – and a rise in claims for “subjective illnesses” which had no clear biological markers – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

“The new test aggressively disputed whether the claimant was ill, questioning illnesses that were “self-reported”, labelling some disabling conditions as “psychological”, and playing up the “subjective” nature of “mental” and “nervous” claims.   The thinking behind it was: Sickness is temporary. Illness is a behaviour – all the things that people say and do that express and communicate their feelings of being unwell. The degree of this behaviour is dependent on the attitudes and beliefs of the individual, as well as the social context and culture. Illness is a personal choice. In other words: “It’s all in the mind; these people are fit to work.” (as I mentioned in When big business dabbles with welfare; a cautionary tale)

“This is the model that was put forward to the Department of Social Security (later the Department of Work and Pensions) by its then-chief medical officer, Mansel Aylward, in tandem with Unum’s then-second vice president, John LoCascio.

“Together they devised a new ‘All Work Test’ that would not actually focus on whether an individual could do their job; instead it would assess their general capacity to work through a series of ‘descriptors’. Decisions on eligibility for benefit would be made by non-medical adjudication officers within the government department, advised by doctors trained by Mr LoCascio. Claimants’ own doctors would be marginalised.”

That is how matters have remained. A claimant’s doctor hardly gets a look-in on the process nowadays, and mental health problems are not considered to be of any importance in assessing a person’s fitness for work.

I recently attended a friend’s assessment for the Personal Independence Payment. More than half of an interview that lasted longer than an hour was about her mental health – and none of it was referenced in the decision or the notes on the reasons for it.

That is the legacy of the Unum Corporation.

Its record in the UK is of a decades-long campaign to make it almost impossible for anybody to claim sickness and/or disability benefits, in order to push people into claiming its insurance policies.

And these policies are duff, because every effort would be made to prevent anybody taking one out from ever receiving a payout. The company earned itself a criminal record in the USA because of this behaviour.

So why on Earth would United Response, a charity that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities have the opportunity to live their lives to the full, have any truck with such a company and its representatives?

Good question. And one for which I have no answer.

The advantage for Unum is obvious. Chairmanship of such an organisation lends the corporation an authenticity that its own record cannot provide.

I wonder if the charity’s policies and behaviour will evolve in alarming ways during the course of Mr McCaig’s chairmanship?

A disability charity’s decision to choose as its new chair the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test has been branded “a betrayal” of disabled people and “a truly disgraceful appointment”.

United Response, which provides a range of support services to about 3,000 disabled people across England and Wales, this week announced the appointment of management consultant Malcolm McCaig (pictured).

McCaig has been a non-executive director of Unum UK since July 2009 and was appointed to chair the company’s board last year.

But Unum has spent decades attempting to influence UK government policy on welfare reform and is blamed by many disabled researchers and activists for pushing successive governments to make the process of applying for out-of-work disability benefits harsher and more stressful.

ADDITIONAL: I have been asked to publish the following: “A link to this article was published on the United Response intranet message board. This was the reply from Mark Ospedale, Director of People and Communications:

“‘Trustees including Chair’s (sic) are volunteers and they are appointed as they bring extensive skills and experience to govern charitable organisations such as ours. We undertook an extensive recruitment process resulting in an incredibly strong shortlist of candidates, Malcolm’s skill set and demonstrable understanding of the charity as well as his vast experience led to his appointment.'”

Source: Disability charity’s appointment of Unum boss as new chair ‘is truly disgraceful’

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Scottish Parliament heckler provides more proof that Esther McVey really is a ‘stain’ on humanity

McVile: Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament.

Congratulations to John Pring at Disability News Service for interviewing the man who heckled Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament on Monday.

It turns out that ‘David’ had raised the case of Jodie Whiting, who took her own life after her Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was sanctioned away from her. This Site covered the case here.

It is disappointing that the interruption was not reported fully by the mainstream media because it highlights the cruelty of both the Department for Work and Pensions and its current boss, and illustrates why they both have to go:

Ms Whiting lost her benefit because she missed a work capability assessment appointment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst.

Let’s all stop for a moment and think about that.

It is entirely reasonable for a person on a long-term sickness benefit to require hospital treatment for their health condition.

While it may legitimately require people to prove their eligibility to receive ESA, it is entirely unreasonable for the government’s benefits agency to demand that sick people miss their treatment in order to tick a box on a bureaucrat’s paperwork.

Health comes first, or it is the system that is sick.

And the Tory-run system is terminal – for users like Ms Whiting. Instead of rearranging the assessment appointment, the DWP cut her off without a penny, triggering a chain of events that led to her untimely death.

When the case was raised, Ms McVey didn’t even have the decency to apologise. Instead, ‘David’ was removed from the meeting.

Could anything be a better demonstration of the arrogance and ignorance of our current rulers?

Rather than face up to their failings, they remove anybody who mentions them. And their complicit media mouthpieces gloss over the incident.

The mother of a woman who killed herself after her disability benefits were sanctioned has praised a disabled activist who confronted work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about her daughter’s death as she gave evidence to Scottish MSPs this week.

The activist, David*, had told Joy Dove of his plans to question McVey about her daughter’s suicide as the minister was giving evidence to the Scottish parliament’s social security committee on Monday.

Jodey Whiting, a seriously-ill mother-of-nine, from Stockton, took her own life last year after having her employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctioned.

She had her ESA stopped after missing a work capability assessment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst, and never opened the letter telling her about the appointment.

David, from the campaign group Class War Scotland, who was sitting in public seats behind McVey, called out (listen from 52 minutes) as she was replying to a question from an MSP about her government’s policies on social security reform and whether she should apologise to the people of Scotland.

David called out: “What about Jodey Whiting, mother of nine, who committed suicide after her ESA was stopped?

“It was stopped because she missed an appointment.”

The committee meeting was suspended and David left the hearing.

Source: Mother of ESA suicide mum-of-nine praises activist for confronting McVey


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