Coronavirus: are people with disabilities being left to starve – in breach of the Tory government’s pledge?

Claims that some people with disabilities could slip through a government safety net and be left to starve are understated. Where is the safety net? According to Disability News Service, the government announced that 1.5 million disabled people had been categorised as “extremely vulnerable” to the virus and would receive regular deliveries of basic groceries if they do not have their own support network of friends and family. The list includes those with severe respiratory conditions, many people on immunosuppression therapies, and those with certain cancers. DNS quoted a disabled Baptist minister who…

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Coronavirus: Medical groups unite to condemn bulk ‘Do Not Revive’ plan for sick and disabled people

This should be seen as absolute proof that it has been a policy to deny coronavirus care to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. This Writer has noted some scepticism in the responses to yesterday’s article about the GP practice in Wales that wrote to people with ongoing medical conditions, telling them that equipment used to treat coronavirus is being rationed and they were not likely to be treated if they contracted the disease. Instead, the letter asked them to sign a form directing medical staff not to attempt to…

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Coalition government condemned over sanctions regime that tortures children

Around 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions between the beginning of April 2013 and the end of March 2014, according to a new report. In the same period, nearly seven million weeks’ worth of sanctions were handed out to benefit claimants. The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, will feature in this evening’s episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches, entitled Britain’s Benefits Crackdown. The report – Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions – is published today by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church Action on Poverty, the Church in Wales, the Church…

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This Christmas, remember the hidden casualties of the Coalition years

Today I had a long chat with a Russia Today reporter, thanks to a recommendation from John McArdle of Black Triangle. It seems a foreign-owned news corporation is more interested in the plight of the UK’s most vulnerable than our home-grown media or – worse – our government. She was asking about Vox Political‘s Freedom of Information requests, seeking information from the Department for Work and Pensions on the number of people who have died while going through the now-tortuous process of claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which includes the…

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Are Labour’s work capability assessment changes really ‘crucial’?

According to Benefits and Work, the Labour Party has been emailing people with proposals for three “crucial changes” it is proposing for the way the work capability assessment works for disability/incapacity benefit claimants. The three problems are: That the WCA is ‘not integrated with employment support’ and so is not helping claimants back into work; That the WCA ‘lacks credibility with disabled people, causing anxiety and stress’; and That the system is ‘riven with poor decision making’, leading to a ‘staggering 45 per cent of appeals against the test’ being…

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The Conservative Party – nasty, stupid and clumsy

Independent luminary Andreas Whittam Smith reckons the Conservative Party in its current form is both nasty and stupid – and also clumsy, if his latest article is to be believed. Nasty because of its aggressive behaviour – such as the decision to withdraw support for rescue operations that save thousands of migrants from drowning as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Or because of benefit assessment policies that mean people living with progressive and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and rheumatoid arthritis are being subjected…

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DWP limbo: We ask Job Centres ‘How low will you go’?

It is as if staff at the Department for Work and Pensions were trying to commit vocational suicide, in pale emulation of the lengths to which they drive their ‘customers’. Following on from yesterday’s article on the DWP’s sickening response to the latest Freedom of Information request on incapacity claimant deaths come two accounts of the heartlessness of the Department’s staff. The first is from our old friend Pride’s Purge, and concerns a letter from the DWP to a woman who suffers with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. It…

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Found: The book that helps the government smear the sick as ‘malingerers’

  Some of our least favourite people contributed to a book entitled Malingering and Illness Deception in 2003, that seems to provide much of the ammunition used by the current government to demonise claimants of disability and incapacity benefits. One of the relevant chapters is ‘Malingering, insurance medicine and medicalization of fraud’ by John LoCascio of the criminal American insurance giant Unum, that has been heavily involved in British social security work since the 1990s. The other is ‘Origins, practice and limitations of Disability Assessment Medicine’ by Mansel Aylward, the…

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How do we wrestle fairness from a rigged economic system?

It’s terrific when an article makes you think. Why Capitalism needs unemployment, by Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, tells us that unemployment is used as a weapon against the workers – with the threat of it used to force pay cuts on employees, while we are told to fear inflation if unemployment falls. So fatcat company bosses win either way, it seems. The article commented on Margaret Thatcher’s ideological mentor, Milton Friedman, who “understood that low levels of unemployment give confidence to workers, who can fight for better pay and…

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Cometh the hour, time for a party

A new political party has been launched – on International Workers’ Day – to represent the interests of people whose opportunities in life have been restricted because they earn low wages. The Underpaid People’s Independence Party – UPIP – will campaign for better pay, better rights and a better say on behalf of all those who currently earn less than they need in order to pay their own way. The new party has announced several policies already: A living wage for every working person, ensuring that the overburdened benefit system…

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