Tag Archives: Penny Mordaunt

How the Tories used Motability to attack more than 100,000 disabled people

It was supposed to be an aid to help disabled people live normal, productive lives – but the trouble with giving people schemes like Motability is they can all-too-easily be taken away.

And that is what the Conservative government has been doing. The latest figure from the Motability Scheme itself shows that 102,000 people have lost their entitlement to a specially-adapted vehicle.

The method the Tories are using to take away this vital lifeline is simple: transfer their benefit claim from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment.

And I’ve been reporting it for years.

You see, the Tories toughened the eligibility regime for disability benefit when they introduced PIP and used it to replace DLA.

In 2015, I reported that they were stripping Motability cars from 200 people every week.

So, for example, a teenager called Olivia – who lost a leg to cancer – was told she was not disabled enough for a Motability car. The DWP said she could keep it until a certain date – then reneged on the agreement, leaving her with days to raise £4,900 to buy the vehicle.

As I stated at the time, that’s a tall order for a girl who’s still at sixth form.

By 2016, 14,000 disabled people had lost their cars, based on figures provided to the BBC by Motability. But then-minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson claimed he did not have that figure when asked a direct question in Parliament.

Was he misleading Parliament?

Later in 2016, his successor Penny Mordaunt misled Parliament on the effect of PIP on Motability users. She claimed that, compared to DLA, “more people are entitled to use the Motability scheme”.

In fact, of customers who had been reassessed for PIP, 44 per cent had lost their entitlement.

By 2018, 75,000 disabled people had been forced to return their Motability cars by an uncaring Tory government – although then-Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey was caught misleading Parliament about it by Lord Stirling, who co-founded Motability in 1977.

And now the total is 102,000 – and likely to go higher still before reassessments for PIP are concluded in March this year.

The loss of the vehicles means the Tories have denied these people the ability to travel to work and access leisure and other independent living opportunities.

It means they are likely to be condemned to a life staring at the four walls of their home – until the Tories find an excuse to cut off whatever remaining benefits are left to them.

And you’ll spit when you find out the reason used to take away the ability of these people to travel anywhere.

It was a change in the rules that means you lose the higher mobility rate if you can walk further than 20m. Under DLA, it was 50m.

That’s right – think about it.

The Tories took from 102,000 people the ability to travel anywhere, because those people were able to walk up to 30m further than they allowed.

Source: More than 100,000 disabled people lose Motability vehicles when reassessed for PIP

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Six Tory ministers are members of a secret group supporting Brexit for their own reasons

Suella Fernandez: She chairs a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs [Image: Rex].

People who still argue fervently for the UK’s departure from the European Union still haven’t got to grips with this simple fact:

The leaders of the biggest ‘Leave’ campaigns didn’t want to free the UK from EU interference; they simply want all the power for themselves.

All their talk about freeing us from an undemocratic power bloc is nonsense.

They want to reduce our access to democracy still further, ensuring that they make all the decisions and the rest of us have no choice but to do as we are told – without recourse to the international checks and balances offered by the EU.

Hence the proposal by Michael Gove – a member of the group – to strip UK workers of the protections offered by the European Working Time Directive.

It should be no surprise that Suella Fernandez, who wrote a ridiculous propaganda piece on Brexit in The Independent which This Writer rubbished last week, chairs this secretive organisation.

They want to distract us with inconsequentialities like the colour of our passports.

Go on believing that this nonsense matters, if you want.

Alternatively, wake up and recognise your oppressors.

Six leading members of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid-up subscribers of the secretive European Research Group, the hard-line anti-EU caucus of Conservative MPs who have serially refused to publish their membership list.

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the newly-promoted defence secretary, David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, and Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, have all used official expenses claims to pay for “ERG subscriptions” over the last 12 months.

Stewart Jackson, who lost his Peterborough seat in June’s general election, and is now chief of staff to David Davis at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also used his official expenses to pay for ERG services during the last years.

Five other subscriptions from former Tory cabinet ministers and whips, plus the current chair of the ERG, means this group alone have claimed more than £32,000 from the public purse.

Source: Six of Theresa May’s cabinet are paid up “members” of secret group demanding a total break from the European Union | openDemocracy


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A Theresa May U-turn the public CAN’T believe – improving mental health care

ESA sanctions ranked by disability: Notice that mental illness attracts by far the largest number of sanctions. Aren’t these the people who are most likely to commit suicide in such circumstances?

There are huge problems with any attempt by Conservatives to tackle the lack of services to help people with mental health issues. Most of those problems are due to funding cuts – by Conservatives.

There are huge objections to Mrs May’s plans. Feel free to mention them in the comment column below, because I want to focus on just one, highlighted in this tweet by David Jones:

“No mention of two big drivers of in our society: and

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams picked up on the comment and responded:

“The point I made in &P PQs this afternoon. Fell on stoney ground I’m afraid.”

One of the pillars of This Site is the effect of the Work Capability Assessment administered by Atos and Capita on the mental health of sickness benefit claimants, possibly leading to their deaths.

So I was interested to see what Ms Abrahams said today, to Penny Mordaunt, who is apparently minister for disabled people, health and work (so does that mean she is there to make disabled people think they are healthy enough to work? Oh dear…). Here‘s what she said:

“People with mental health conditions are more likely to fail the work capability assessment and more likely to be sanctioned.

“At the same time, we know from independent research how damaging work capability assessments and sanctions are for people’s mental health.

“When will the Government take responsibility for the impact of their policies on mental health and ensure that timely, evidence-based support from trained mental health professionals is available for claimants with mental health conditions?

“Will the Secretary of State commit to scrapping the work capability assessment and punitive sanctions, as Labour has?”

Of course she didn’t.

So This Writer can only conclude that the latest announcement on mental health is just another attempt, by the Conservative Government, at ‘gaslighting’.

For those who aren’t in the know, ‘gaslighting’ is a particularly nasty mind game in which a manipulator (the Tory government) convinces a victim (the public) that something is happening, or has happened, when it has not.

Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the targets, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

In other words, I fear the latest policy will make matters worse – not better.

But what do the Tories care?

If another few people with mental health problems die, that means fewer ESA payments every fortnight.

Plans to “transform” attitudes to mental health, with a focus on children and young people, have been announced by Theresa May.

Additional training for teachers, an extra £15m for community care, and improved support in the workplace were among measures announced by the PM.

Mental health experts said more funding was needed to improve services.

Source: Mental health reforms to focus on young people, says PM – BBC News

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Penny Mordaunt is putting all our lives at risk by forcing firefighters to strike

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June this year.

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June this year.

You know the government is on a sticky wicket when its only response to strike action over pensions is that its position is “fair”.

The Fire Brigades Union will be on strike for three hours every day up to and including August 16 after the new fire minister, Penny Mordaunt, cancelled a meeting.

The Conservative-led Coalition government is hitting firefighters with a double-barrelled attack:

  • Firstly, it is raising the level of contributions firefighters must make to their pensions, meaning they will have less pay in their pockets;
  • And it is also raising the age of retirement from 55 to 60, meaning fewer firefighters are likely ever to receive a pension as many members may fail the fitness test required to remain on active duty, and would have to leave the service – without qualifying for a pension – as a result.

If firefighters opted to retire early, the resulting reduction in their pension payments would be “unacceptably high” to the union.

“Government proposals as they stand include a number of unacceptable elements including firefighters being forced to work until 60 – an age at which the enormous physical demands of the job are beyond most of us. Both sides have identified that there are possible solutions to these issues but the Government is unwilling to amends its proposals,” said FBU Assistant General Secretary Andy Dark yesterday (Friday).

He made sure to lay the blame exactly where it belonged: “Firefighters hate striking. We believe that Winston Churchill was right to say ’Jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.’ That is why we are astounded by the cancellation of the last-minute talks by Ms Mordaunt on Thursday.

“It is a bitter disappointment that she cancelled them and made this series of strikes inevitable.”

The government’s only response has been a claim that its irresponsible demands are “fair”.

No doubt there will be many government stooges who are keen to say firefighters are placing people in danger by taking this action. They are silly, silly people.

It is the government that is endangering us all, by putting firefighters in an impossible position.

These Tories are telling firefighters to contribute more to a fund from which they may never benefit.

They are saying that, if they want their pension but their fitness is failing, they’ll have to fake it for the extra years – putting untold numbers of future fire victims and people in need of rescue in extra danger. This would also bring the service into disrepute.

And they are telling people who want to be firefighters not to bother – that they will be putting their lives at risk for an ever-diminishing reward.

By doing so, the Tories and their little yellow friends the Tory Democrats are putting all of our lives at risk.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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