Tag Archives: harm

Starmer’s Tory-supporting crackdown on his own party makes him a danger to people with disabilities

[Image: @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter.]

Apologists for Keir Starmer who reckon he’s easing the way for Tory legislation to make them “own their mistakes” will have a hard time justifying this.

Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.

After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.

The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.

They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.

“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”

A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.

But that’s not all.

It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.

Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.

The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.

Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,

Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.

This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.

Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.

The big question is: What is to be done about this?

The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?

And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.

Will they act? Should they?

What do you think?

Source: Keir Starmer Has Launched an Unprecedented Crackdown on Rebel MPs | Novara Media

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If the Tories are keen to preserve lives, why are they threatening people who are shielding from Covid?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons the role of the House of Commons “can only properly be fulfilled when members are here in person”, and says his decision is “completely in accordance” with the “equalities considerations” of the government and parliament. Phew, what a loony!

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are very much second-class citizens to the Conservative government, aren’t they?

Consider teachers who have been ordered back into work even though their physical health means they must shield against the virus – that is, they need to stay in their homes, away from anybody who might possibly pass it onto them:

Teachers with underlying medical conditions have been threatened with pay cuts or disciplinary action if they do not come into school.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union – which opposed the reopening plan – [said]his union had received “lots of worries” from members this week.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic in relation to teachers with underlying health conditions,” he said.

“We’re now seeing some schools insisting that shielding is over and that those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be back in the workforce,” he said.

“We’ve come across one or two examples of schools threatening to deduct pay or put people on disciplinary procedures if they don’t come into the workplace.

“Of course we’ll continue – and have done – pushing back with those employees with some success, but nevertheless this shouldn’t be happening out there.”

Conversely, MPs are being deprived of the ability to carry out their responsibilities, even though they could do it from home if they were permitted to:

The shadow minister for disabled people has taken legal advice over the government’s “outrageous” decision to prevent MPs at serious risk from coronavirus from continuing to vote and take part in debates from their own home.

Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft, who has a long-term health condition, was unable to vote on Tuesday [June 2] because of the government’s decision.

She [said] she and other MPs at particular risk from COVID-19 had been discriminated against.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also criticised the government this week over its stance, after refusing to do so last week.

There is no consistency in this behaviour by the Tory government; one group is penalised because their health forbids them from working while the other is penalised because its members want to.

It seems the Johnson government is happy to contradict itself, simply to inflict harm on the vulnerable.

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Universal Credit causes mental illness – but won’t get you a new job, study finds

A study of Universal Credit has found that it increases mental illness in claimants while failing to get them into new employment.

The finding should cause huge concern among the two million people who are said to have signed up for the benefit after the Conservative government imposed its coronavirus-prompted lockdown, forcing them to sign onto the benefit when their incomes disappeared.

The study of able-bodied people (those with disabilities have already been shown to suffer adverse effects due to changes in their benefits) found a 6.57 per cent increase in psychological distress.

This led the study’s authors to estimate that an extra 63,674 people suffered psychological distress between 2013 and 2018, as a result of being put on Universal Credit.

They estimated that 21,760 might reach the diagnostic threshold for depression.

They believe that, although the effect sizes identified are moderate, the potential for psychological impact is substantial owing to the widespread national policy implementation.

Levels of distress remained constant for people who were not put on the new benefit.

The study revealed that there was no increase in the transition into employment amongst those on Universal Credit, compared with those who were not – despite this being the key rationale given for its introduction.

The Tory government has commissioned its own evaluation of Universal Credit – but this will focus on labour market outcomes and not assess the effect on health and wellbeing.

Won’t it be interesting to see whether this study finds an improvement in employment?

Source: Universal Credit mental health problems, but not employment

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Universal Credit isn’t just harming people – it is damaging the entire UK economy

Oldham was named as the most deprived town in England in 2016.

That was three years after the town volunteered – yes, volunteered – to pilot Universal Credit, the Tory government’s flagship benefit that was touted as a huge improvement on the ‘legacy’ benefits it replaced.

And what has happened in the years since then?

Well, UC pays housing benefit direct to claimants, rather than to Housing Associations – meaning that one such organisation lost £400,000 in rent during the first year of the benefit; money it will never recoup.

Currently, 41 per cent of its tenants on UC are in arrears – that’s 1,398 out of 3,402.  Another 2,450 are yet to make the move.

But the problem isn’t with tenants withholding the money; it’s with them struggling with the Kafkaesque application process and having to wait five weeks before their first payment.

In the last year, the housing association has referred 199 people to food banks.

That’s not what happens to people who are receiving enough money but using it wrongly; it’s what happens to people who are being deliberately starved.

Claimants like ‘Barbara’, who has to look after an autistic son and has anxiety and depression, including suicidal thoughts, have faced delay after delay in a process that should be straightforward but seems to have been deliberately complicated by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Now she is £5,000 in debt because the pittance UC provides her simply doesn’t cover basic living costs.

And some people are going undetected by organisations trying to help. While they seem to be coping on paper – by paying their rent on time – they are going without heat, light or food.

Even people who are in work are penalised by the system. One couple, after going self-employed and coping on UC for a year, then discovered that their future payments would be based on a notional figure of what they should be earning, plucked from the air.

In short, their UC payments halved and they were left struggling to cope. Reluctantly, they were forced to close down the business.

So this revolution in the benefits system has not only caused extreme hardship to its claimants, but there have been knock-on effects on the businesses they try to run and the organisations they rely on.

It is already causing serious harm, not just to the poor but to the economy of the United Kingdom. And the Tories want you to think it’s a huge success. Insanity.

Source: Oldham Piloted Universal Credit 7 Years Ago. Here’s The Grim Reality Of What Happened Since. | HuffPost UK

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Dutch cartoonists can see what’s happening to the UK – even if our citizens can’t

This cartoon in Dutch newspaper Volksrant doesn’t pull its punches.

It shows Boris Johnson, his back to us, raping – that’s right, raping – the UK, while others including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dominic Cummings and Nigel Farage wait their turn to do the same. The other one may be Michael Gove, according to a commenter to This Site.

Meanwhile a representative of the BBC – who looks uncannily like the granny from the old Times ‘Giles’ cartoons, tells members of the public: “Move along now. Nothing to see here.”

The situation it depicts is even worse than that displayed on this billboard:

This cartoon is saying that the Tories (and Farage) are violating the people of the UK.

And the BBC is helping them do it, by directing the people to look in the other direction.

I’m surprised the granny wasn’t pointing at a cartoon Corbyn and saying, “Look! Anti-Semite!”

But here’s the real question:

If the Dutch can see what’s going on, why can’t millions of the British – even if the BBC is sowing confusion?

The Dutch media are not pulling their punches.

This was published in the Volksrant, a daily newspaper.

As you can see it depicts the UK being gang raped by Johnson, Farage, Cummings, Rees-Mogg and somebody else.

The BBC is saying, “Move along now. Nothing to see here”.

Seems to me the Dutch have a grip of what’s happening here and the BBC’s role in it.

Source: (8) Supporting Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell

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‘A great deal’ for whom? The UK will haemorrhage money!

Thumb up: But Boris Johnson won’t lose money on his Brexit deal like the rest of us.

Read this, which refers to Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal:

A “great deal”? Or a nightmare?

Some of you will no doubt be saying, “Don’t give us all that Project Fear talk, Mike! It’s all just scaremongering to keep us as vassals to the fascist EU superstate!” Or whatever.

But is it scaremongering? Is it really, when the economic figures come from Boris Johnson’s own official government analysis?

Isn’t it more accurate to say that the unelected prime minister is once again lying through his teeth in the knowledge that the kind of voter who would respond as I suggest above will lap it up?

Analysis published by the UK government last November suggested that a deal along the lines of that agreed by Johnson would have a major adverse economic impact on the UK, with British people hit by falling wages and declining growth.

Consider this:

Johnson’s own government’s analysis suggested that a deal along the lines of that agreed on Thursday will reduce annual economic growth by 6.7% compared to staying in the EU. That’s a major hit to the UK economy which will make average households thousands of pounds poorer than they would have been had we remained in the EU.

The UK government’s own analysis also suggested that a deal along the lines of Johnson’s would have a big impact on the average wages of people living in the UK. According to its central projection, average real terms wages would fall by 6.4% compared to staying in the EU.

The economic hit would inevitably lead to the UK government being forced to borrow more, or dramatically slash the services it provides to the public. According to the government’s own analysis, there would be a 3% increase in borrowing as a percentage of economic growth.

Admittedly, negotiations over the final shape of the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe – and the rest of the world – have not yet begun – Boris “Get Brexit Done” Johnson lied about that too.

But the broad direction is clear. The UK economy is going into a ditch.

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Worried about climate change? Then DON’T VOTE TORY!

Conservative MPs are more likely to vote for damage to the environment that causes climate change than against it, despite what they may say, according to this analysis by The Guardian.

They also take gifts from polluters, it claims.

Among the worst offenders was Tory prime minister Boris Johnson, who was among several dozen MPs – mostly Conservatives – to record the worst possible score of zero.

He was also among 10 ministers who received donations or gifts from oil companies, airports, petrostates, climate sceptics or thinktanks identified as spreading information against climate action.

The average voting score of Johnson’s cabinet was 17 per cent, compared with the Labour shadow cabinet score of 90 per cent – although the paper charitably stated that this could be because they are in opposition and unable to influence government decisions..

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, scored 92 per cent.

The conclusion is clear: if you want a government that acts against climate change and to protect the environment for you, your children and future generations, you need to vote LABOUR.

To find out how your MP scores, visit this web page.

Conservative MPs are almost five times more likely to vote against climate action than legislators from other parties, a Guardian analysis of 16 indicative parliamentary divisions over the past decade has revealed.

The Tories also registered many more donations, shares, salaries, gifts and tickets to sporting events from fossil fuel companies, petrostates, aviation companies and climate sceptics, according to declarations made in the parliamentary record of MPs’ interests between 2008 and 2019.

The Guardian, in collaboration with the investigative environmental journalism group DeSmog UK, rated MPs from 0% to 100% based on 16 parliamentary votes since 2008. The selection sought to cover a range of measures that would affect the UK’s carbon emissions, with an emphasis on votes where MPs were willing to break ranks and put the climate before their party.

Source: Tory MPs five times as likely to vote against climate action | Environment | The Guardian

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NHS privatisation: paying profiteers means there’s no money for healthcare and patients are harmed

Recruitment difficulties for NHS ambulance trusts have meant private ambulances are being used, with untrained staff, leading to incidents in which patients have suffered serious harm.

This is what happens when you waste money that should be spent on healthcare, paying profit into private company bank accounts.

The cost of hiring private ambulances is draining funds that could be used elsewhere, while private firms are cutting corners and failing to provide the care that patients need, according to the Unison representative quoted in the report (below).

While ambulance trusts said they were struggling to recruit staff because each person has to have three years’ training, the Care Quality Commission found private ambulance services were employing staff who had no training at all.

It reported “evidence of incidents of serious harm to people from staff that had not been properly recruited and vetted”.

I would like to know what this evidence is, and how many patients suffered serious harm as a result of Tory healthcare privatisation.

I would like to know which Conservative MPs were directly responsible for inflicting this harm on people who are ill, or injured, and vulnerable.

And I would like to know what action may be taken to call them to account.

England’s ambulance trusts spent more than £92 million in the last year on private ambulances and taxis to transport patients, Press Association (PA) research found.

Some trusts said they rely on private ambulances due to a chronic shortage of NHS staff and ongoing problems with recruitment.

In some parts of the south, almost one in five emergency calls result in a private ambulance being sent to the scene.

Earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a damning report warning that patients were being put at risk by private ambulances.

Source: Patients ‘at risk’ as NHS spends £92m on private ambulances and taxis | The Independent

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More than HALF A MILLION CHILDREN have been harmed by cruel Tory benefit cap

 

The Conservatives will be celebrating today after it was revealed that they have harmed nearly 600,000 children with their two-child cap on benefits for parents.

The stated aim of the cap on child benefit is to stop people having large families whilst on benefits.

But this is a fallacy. Most of the people hit by the cap are in working families.

And it is in fact harmful to the UK and its economy. The number of children born here is lower now than in the past, making it economically difficult to sustain the ageing population; there needs to be a large working-age population generating the economic activity needed to pay for services.

One solution has been to attract immigrants – but Brexit and the racism that it has engendered have made the UK extremely unattractive to foreign talent.

Then there’s the “rape” clause, which requires women to tell strangers that their children were born from controlling or coercive relationships, filling out a four-page form and reliving the trauma.

And there can be no doubt that this has contributed to the increase in child poverty under Conservative rule. Currently more than one-third of children in the UK are in poverty.

So the harm meted out to the children of the poor – and some parents – is revealed as what we always knew it would be: Cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

Nearly 600,000 children have seen their family’s finances slashed by the Tories’ “nasty” two-child cap on benefits.

The damning figures – from the first two years of the cap alone – sparked fresh calls from MPs, charities and more than 100 academic experts to axe the “cruel” austerity cut.

And they smashed claims the cap would force benefit claimants to make the same choices as working families – as it emerged 59% of victims have a job.

This distressing information has come at the beginning of Boris Johnson’s period as the new Conservative prime minister.

What do you think BoJob intends to do about it, apart from rejoice?

Source: DWP two-child benefits limit hits 500,000 children in cruel Tory crackdown – Mirror Online

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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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