Archive for the ‘welfare’ Category

UKIP hate the unemployed.

as it is

In 2013 UKIP described the unemployed as a  “a parasitic underclass of scroungers”.

UKIP’s welfare policies include forced unpaid work for all Housing and Council Tax Benefit claimants, Incapacity Benefit (now ESA) slashed to Job Seeker’s Allowance rates and childcare support for working parents demolished.

 

To add to this UKIP Welfare Policy is also 

• Non means-tested “basic cash benefit” for low earners and unemployed. Jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit is scrapped.

• Child benefit for the first three children only.

• No benefits for anyone who has not lived in the UK for five years.

For the  2014 elections (UKIP site) these policies stand unchanged :

• Enrol unemployed welfare claimants onto community schemes or retraining workfare programmes.

That is, unpaid workfare.

• Make welfare a safety net for the needy, not a bed for the lazy. Benefits only available to those who have lived here for over 5 years.

That is, yet more scapegoating of the out-of-work – and ‘foreigners’.

from Ipswich Unemployed Action

 

M.E. awareness month

The month of May is “ME Awareness Month”, with May 12th being the particular day, and I have also seen the week starting May 11th designated as ME awareness week.

ME is classified by the World Health Organisation as a neurologically-based disease. It is of unknown cause, although there are several theories including viral and environmental agents. There is no known cure.

Unfortunately, in the UK the NHS seems to have ignored the WHO’s classification of ME as a specifically neurological illness, and has lumped ME together with any and all unexplained tiredness and fatigue, which can in fact be caused by a number of things, including Lyme Disease, Lupus, vitamin B12 deficiency and Pernicious Anaemia, Thyroid and adrenal problems, Sjögren’s, PCOS and other endocrine diseases, MS, fibromyalgia, depression and more, and has called the whole collection CFS, MEcfs or cfsME.

Within the umbrella of CFS there is obviously a vast spectrum of symptoms which range in severity, from those who are experiencing a mild loss of ‘get up and go’ to those who are in constant pain and utterly bedbound and unable to care for themselves, and since it is an umbrella term, treatments that may be helpful for mild types of CFS, such as GET – graded exercise and CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy, are wholly inappropriate and can be harmful for those who actually have ME.

CBT can be useful for people not coping well with any long term chronic illness but should not be touted as a main treatment for ME in the way that it is, based on the faulty assumption that CFS is inevitably linked to caused by psychological factors, and GET is harmful to PWME who have the key symptom of Post exertional malaise.

This situation has been exacerbated by the psychiatric establishment which has greedily claimed all ‘CFS’ patients as their own, baselessly alleging that all CFS must be related to mental and emotional factors.

Thus the tendency is to treat all CFS patients as though they are all suffering from an unexplained, probably psychologically-based, rather than neurologically-based illness, regardless of the severity, and further to fail to investigate thoroughly or adequately in order to rule out any other cause (such as those listed above).

There is no definitive test for ME yet (largely because genuine research has been so scarce), and so ME should never be diagnosed until every other possible cause has been eliminated.

The classification of ME together with any unexplained CFS is a nonsense which means that people who actually have curable and treatable diseases aren’t getting the help they could and should be able to expect, while those with ME are simply treated with disdain instead of receiving the palliative care they need.

This is a wholly unacceptable situation for everybody involved, which helps no-one, except those few outspoken psychiatrists who like to gain notoriety by making the psychological case and denying the reality of the suffering.

A friend has also pointed out that MS, asthma, duodenal ulcers and other illnesses were all considered psychiatric problems before biomedical caught up.

Thanks to “life for beginners” for the reminder and the post.

Lies, Dam Lies and Statistics

With many thanks to the brilliant Benefits And Work.

Benefits and Work has obtained documents via the Freedom of Information Act that may undermine claims by Atos that its staff were the subject of nearly two thousand episodes of assault or abuse, including death threats, by claimants in 2013 alone. Atos used the claim to justify wanting to exit early from the contract to carry out work capability assessments (WCAs).

Atos claimed that they were experiencing around 1,956 incidents throughout the year.

This was, by any standards, a very serious accusation.

Characterising thousands of sick and disabled claimants as violent thugs that Atos could no longer expose its staff to is likely to have increased the level of prejudice against benefits claimants. It may even have contributed to a rise in the number of violent hate-crimes committed against disabled people.

Three of the most important figures from our point of view, are:

Security called/police called’ 215

Threat made to staff direct or implied 110

Staff assaulted 5

Readers can decide for themselves whether they believe Atos’ claims by downloading the whole year’s figures here.

Thanks to “same difference” for the original post.

Pilgrimage to Capitalism!

Thanks to “Kicking the Cat”

History repeating, repeating, repeating …,

Part of the Great British history they don’t teach you at school – how the jobless were treated in the 1920s and 30s… and who’d bet against camps returning again ?

During the prolonged unemployment of the 1920s the British government proposed a scheme for transferring labour from the worse effected areas to training schemes in the South of England. For this purpose anIndustrial Transference Board was set up in 1928 to monitor and control the transfer of labour form unemployment black-spots. The ITB soon brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour a ‘class‘ of men not easily fitted into the broader scheme, men deemed ‘soft and temporarily demoralised through prolonged unemployment‘. These men were considered a danger to the morale of the other men and were considered unfit for transfer until they had been ‘hardened’.

The scheme for ‘hardening’ in Labour Camps (on penalty of loss of the dole) was devised by Baldwin’s Tory government, but was carried through with Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government and expanded by the 1931 National Government. They were supported by the TUC as well as the Labour Party, and were opposed and exposed only by the National Unemployed Workers Movement, in which the Communist Party was the leading influence.

Between 1929 and 1939 25 secret concentration camps were built in the most remote areas of Britain and more than 200,000 unemployed men were sent to these camps. The Labour Camps were conducted under military discipline and men were interned in the centres for three-month periods, working for up to nine hours a day breaking rocks, building roads and cutting down trees. In August 1939, in preparation for the war against Germany, the Ministry of Labour issued instructions that the managerial records of its own concentration camps should be weeded out, and much of the documentation was destroyed.

From: unemployed Tyne and Wear

Source –  http://sites.scran.ac.uk/redclyde/redclyde/rc138.htm

What political “ism” is this?

billboard-poster-david-cameron

A shocking proposal from a so-called expert at the Department of Health has suggested that people in work should be given priority for treatment in the NHS.

In a move which could hit pensioners, disabled people, lone parents and unemployed people, government advisor Dame Carol Black has said: “I personally think we should perhaps be more honest and debate more fully if we would prioritise such patients if it was a question of getting them back to work.” 

In other words if you are currently without a job, for any reason, then forget about accessing healthcare as you are pushed down to the bottom of NHS waiting lists.  Black’s comments even seem to suggest that the sicker you are, and the less likely to be able to go back to work, then the longer you might have to wait for NHS treatment.

Dame Carol Black made the comments – which were first reported on the Work, Savings and Benefits website – at the recent Health and Wellbeing 2014 conference.  She was joined at the conference by DWP chief medical adviser Dr Bill Gunnyeon who according to the website agreed that there is: “an issue about what priority we give to health related interventions for people of working age

reblogged from “the void”

Starvation Strategy?

Longer than my usual but really worth the read!

Dear Mr Cameron,
I have taken the liberty to write to you following an article that appeared in the Guardian a few days ago. I have a specific question that I would be grateful if you could answer but first let me outline the reason for my writing.
I have just read of the tragic story of Mark Wood, who was a 44 year old man with a number of complex mental health conditions. Mr Wood starved to death at his home last August, months after an Atos fitness-for-work assessment found him fit for work. This assessment meant that the jobcentre stopped his sickness benefits, leaving him just £40 a week to live on. His housing benefits were stopped at around the same time. This was despite a plea from his GP not to stop or reduce his benefits as this would have ongoing, significant impacts on his mental health. Mr Wood’s doctor told the inquest that the Atos decision was an “accelerating factor” in Mr Wood’s eventual death. He was very distressed that his housing benefit had been cut off, and by letters about rising rent arrears and warnings from the electricity company his supply would be cut off.
I have no personal knowledge of Mr Wood but for 15 years I have worked, and continue to work in mental health and know that Mr Wood’s tragic circumstances are far from unique. Mr Wood had struggled with undiagnosed mental health issues all his life, which made it impossible for him to work. Although his family ‘worked for years to create a place for him to live safely, this stopped when his benefits were stopped. He tried so hard to survive’. Mr Wood’s sister was distressed that Atos did not seek medical evidence from her brother’s GP, and made the assessment that he was capable of preparing to return to work after a half-hour interview at his home. The Atos report concluded his mental state was “normal”.
Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind confirmed that this tragic case was not an isolated incident for people ‘struggling to navigate a complex, and increasingly punitive, system.’
And now to my query. Mr Alan Budd, who in May 2010 came out of retirement to be the interim Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility was, as you know, a chief economic advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Mr Budd has since gone on record in an interview with the Observer in 1992 to confirm that
“…the 1980’s policies of attacking inflation by squeezing the economy and public spending were a cover to bash the workers. Raising unemployment was a very desirable way of reducing the strength of the working class. What was engineered –in Marxist terms-was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour, and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since” (pp 284-285).
At the time it was always assumed by most that any political activity was always in the interests of the population. This quote served as confirmation that the raising of unemployment during the Thatcher era was a deliberate tactic. As unthinkable as that might have been at the time, there was a clear decision to destroy lives for political capital. My question, and I ask this in all seriousness is whether your administration is currently also having a different set of private conversations to those that the public hear. Just as the Thatcher administration reassured the public they were trying to lower unemployment when they were intentionally increasing it, can I ask whether your cabinet has had conversations about how desirable it would be for a few vulnerable people to starve to death. It could be seen after all that a few examples of what can really happen when the safety net is removed might mobilise others who draw on benefits to stop ‘scrounging from hard working taxpayers’ and move toward the labour market. So my question is
a. Have you deliberately set out to drive a small number of British people to starvation as a political tactic?
The reason I moved to ask such an extreme question is because to make someone die of starvation in a western democracy in 2014 isn’t actually a very easy thing to do. It needs an awful lot of very specific activities to conflate at once in order for it to become possible for vulnerable people like Mr Wood to starve to death. You would need to put in place a systematic regime of wage stagnation, a raft of brutal benefits cuts that disproportionately attack the vulnerable and disabled. You’d need to develop and sustain an orchestrated campaign of misrepresenting vulnerable people through the media and you would need to put in place a privatised work assessment regime that rewards morally bankrupt companies who assess people as fit for work regardless of their circumstances. To achieve this you would need to make possible the most hideous and inhumane political coalition since Asquith’s feckless cabinet contributed to 1m deaths at the Somme.
Regardless of whether a starvation strategy has been deliberately orchestrated or is a tragic by-product of one of the most sustained political failures of modern times, I do wonder Mr Cameron whether you will see Mr Wood’s emaciated and desperate face when you close your eyes to go to sleep at night. For the sake of the many other people around the country approaching such extreme destitution, I genuinely hope that you do.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Carl Walker

From: Since 1545

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