Tag Archives: Down’s Syndrome

Tory treatment of this Down’s Syndrome teen shows their attitude to disability is as evil as ever

Whenever the Conservatives tout new policies they claim will help people with disabilities, I’d like you to think about their treatment of Declan Kemp.

For me, it is reminiscent of an image I used to run on This Site, of a quadruple amputee. The caption stated that the DWP would interview the subject of the image every few months, “in case they’ve grown back”.

That is the level of ignorance and idiocy that the Conservatives show to people with disabilities, every single day.

No wonder so many disabled people have died.

Now we have Declan Kemp. He’s 19 and, besides Down’s Syndrome, he has cerebral palsy, a hole in his heart and scoliosis of the spine.

He visits a day centre three times a week and sometimes has to go into respite care.

His family applied for Universal Credit, making it clear that he would need a home appointment. He didn’t get it.

Instead, heartless DWP authorities summoned him to Job Centre interviews – two so far.

They said Mr Kemp, who could not speak for himself and fell asleep within 15 minutes of the first interview’s start, had to provide evidence from a doctor that he could not work.

He had already provided this evidence for a prior – successful – claim for Personal Independence Payment.

As his family members asked: why should he have to provide this information again?

Worse still, his mother was told to fill in a Universal Credit journal for him – an online record of what claimants are doing to find a job.

He has multiple – progressive – conditions that mean he will never be able to work, as any DWP employee working with people who have disabilities should know.

Challenged to justify its behaviour, the DWP has apologised for mishandling the case and said there was no delay in processing the claim.

That’s what the department says when its habitually harmful treatment of the UK’s most vulnerable people is discovered.

And we’ve had a succession of Tory ministers, who have announced policy after policy they claimed would make it easier for people with serious disabilities to navigate the benefit system and live in comparative comfort.

And nothing has changed.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been asked to investigate discrimination against disabled people by the DWP – and in This Writer’s opinion, it can’t happen soon enough.

We’re currently in the run-up to a general election, and the Tories have already announced a plan for a £10 million fund to help disabled people claim Universal Credit – that, it seems, is only open to those who are capable of holding down a job.

Declan Kemp would not benefit from it at all.

We have a government that deliberately persecutes people whose health is perceived to be less-than-perfect.

I have stated before that it is as though the Tories were running their own eugenics policy – a plan to remove what a certain kind of people still call “useless eaters” from the benefit system by depriving them of the financial means to survive.

Back in 2015 I managed to force the Tories to publish figures – incomplete figures – that showed an average of 99 people claiming incapacity benefits died every day between January 2011 and February 2014.

The full details were likely to have been much, much worse, even then. Can you imagine how shocking they must be by now?

And the Tories are seeking re-election so they can continue this grisly work.

Anybody who votes for them is supporting this cruelty.

Source: Disabled teen with Down’s syndrome made to attend Jobcentre assessment | Metro News

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Health and safety deregulation: The thin end of a crippling wedge

I know what you think about this: “It’s only low-risk places like shops – what harm can it do?”

A lot, in fact.

The government is planning to introduce new rules from April next year, scrapping health and safety checks on thousands of businesses it considers low-risk. Shops are among them, along with offices, pubs and clubs.

Apparently this will save millions of pounds. I wonder how many lives it will ruin.

I have a friend who works in a supermarket, which counts as a shop. While he was working, a cleaner on some kind of motorised transport shot through a pair of doors which hit him on the arm, injuring it. This was months ago; the arm isn’t better. Because the supermarket chain had sub-contracted the cleaning work to another company, he is still awaiting compensation for the injury and loss of earnings; both firms deny responsibility.

This is a health and safety issue. Why does the government have nothing to say about it? And how many more people will suffer similar injury – or worse – in an unregulated future?

According to business minister Michael Fallon, firms will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in areas deemed to be higher-risk, such as construction and food production, or if they have had an accident or a track record of poor performance – but for how long? If the policy saves companies money – never mind the human cost for a moment – won’t they expand it, to improve profitability for proprietors?

Ministers also said legislation would be introduced next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently.

Mrs Mike (my girlfriend) has had firsthand experience of how this works. She’s a former employee of a manufacturing company. This firm had multiple health and safety regulations to enforce, along with the equipment to do so – but she tells me that, strangely, all this equipment was hidden away during the normal working day and only came out when the factory’s owners were notified that a surprise inspection would take place. Think about that.

She doesn’t work there any more. Conditions were such that she had to perform repetitive physical work while standing at an uncomfortable angle, because the work surfaces were too low, for many hours every day, and this caused her physical damage.

But can she prove that it was her job that did the harm?

No.

I admit that this was one factory, run by a firm that no longer exists (it went into receivership and the premises are now run by someone else, who may have instigated a better health and safety regime; we don’t know, Mrs Mike isn’t there anymore). But consider the opportunities for abuse that will be available to other firms, if regulations are relaxed.

You might ask why I don’t think firms will carry on in a responsible manner after deregulation, and it might be a good question if we didn’t have the example of recent history available to us.

What I mean is: Just look at what happened with the banks.

Finally, what do you think will happen if you do suffer an injury at work? Mrs Mike was quietly sacked and has ended up on the infamous Employment and Support Allowance – Work-Related Activity Group. That’s right – you’ll get a year’s worth of invalidity pay before being required to go out and look for work, no matter what your physical condition might be. We already know that this experience can be terminal.

If you still doubt me about ESA, the latest YouTube video on the subject is on the Vox Political Facebook page. It tells the story of a claimant undergoing the hated Work Capability Assessment, in which the assessor actually asked, “So how long exactly have you had Down’s Syndrome?”