Help us stop Conservatives from time-limiting disabled benefits


1:51 pm - December 10th 2011

by Sue Marsh    


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It seems that the Conservatives are simply not willing to give an inch on Time Limiting ESA.

Just to be clear, this means that if you have worked and paid national insurance contributions you will face an assessment. If that assessment finds that you are indeed unwell, but may be able to do some work at some point, you will only qualify for support for a year.

At the end of that year, no matter how ill you remain, if you have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more, or limited savings, you will lose all ESA. All of it.

Those with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities are likely to be the worst affected. Sickness benefits as we know them will become a thing of the past. Just 6% of new claimants will qualify for long term support, the rest will have just one year.

I have written about time limiting extensively here.

The government accept that 94% will not have found work at the end of that year. They accept that they will not have recovered. They simply say “We can’t afford it“.

The only way we can now stop the government from going ahead with this most horrifying of policies is for Lib Dem Lords to vote against it.

Earlier this year, Lib Dem grasroots members voted for a motion and amendment at their conference opposing an arbitrary time limit for ESA. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour.

Here is the amendment in full. Once this vote was carried, opposing the time limiting of ESA became Liberal Democrat policy.

Today, I’m asking all of you – Liberal Democrat or not – to write to a Lib Dem peer and beg them to oppose the one year time limit. Here is a list of Lib Dem peers

Simply click on a letter at random, pick one and write to them. Beg them. Explain it to them. Feel free to send them my articles. Remind them about their conference pledge.

They’re our only hope. If they support the Conservatives on this, despite the wishes of their members, 700,000 people will be affected. People with Parkinson’s, Bowel Disease, MS, Cancer, Heart Failure, Kidney Failure, Lung disease, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and any other condition you can think of.

Very early in the New Year, Lords will vote on this issue for the final time.

Please, if you’ve ever sent one of my letters, every RTd an article because I asked, every written to your MP, every written a blog post or an article, please, do this. Keep doing it until the day of the vote. Tell everyone and ask them to write too.

The welfare reform bill is almost law now. We don’t have very many opportunities to make a difference. Let’s make a difference over this.

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About the author
Sue is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She blogs on Diary of a Benefits Scounger and tweets from here.
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Reader comments


Those with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities are likely to be the worst affected.

While I have some concerns about aspects of the plan – the above statement is totally wrong.

It only applies to those who are likely to be able to return to work within a year – which by its very definition, excludes those “with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities”

Campaign on the issue – but from a point of factual accuracy.

@1

Wrong.

The time limit effects those found eligible for contributory ESA. The time limit is arbitrary. It is not applied based on the ability to return to work, it is applied regardless of individual circumstances. I’ve read the DWP paper proposing the time limit – there is no evidence at all to support the assumption that all those claiming contributory ESA will be fit to return to work after 12 months. If you want proof, just look at Sue’s own case. She’ll be affected by the time limit yet, by any yardstick you like, she is unable to work.

“It only applies to those who are likely to be able to return to work within a year – which by its very definition, excludes those “with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities””

Not familiar with ATOS are we?

Latest absurd decision from them currently in appeal; 58 year old stroke victim who can’t walk and needs help just to eat meals. Told he is fit for work because he enjoys television.

4. Tax Obesity, Not Business

What do you suggest is cut instead?

@4

Oh fuck off, really.

@4

Nothing needs to be cut. The structural deficit would be solved if the Government collected all currently evaded tax.

@1

“It only applies to those who are likely to be able to return to work within a year – which by its very definition, excludes those “with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities”

It doesn’t, unfortunately.

People are being placed on ESA that have long term, serious health conditions, degenerative conditions, mental illness, and learning & cognitive impairments.

I know people that in an ideal world, with unlimited support woule be capable of some limited work, but they are being found fit enough for work that they are put on ESA or are denied even that and are thrown in with healthy jobseekers.

If I were made unemployed now, there’s a good chance I would be placed on ESA, but my impairments are variable – one is static. It limits me somewhat, but I’ve learned to live with it. Another seems to be degenerative. If it took me a year to find work – which is entirely feasible, I mean, it took me three years to find the job I currently have, which is one I can do that works with my health restrictions.

How would cutting disability employment support off after a year help, given it takes awkward buggers like me that refuse to get better, but aren’t too ill to work completely a long time to find work?

It’s also worth bearing in mind many people with impairments have fewer qualifications than non-disabled people, because of challenges staying in education, and inability to reach higher education because of either health getting in the way, or the nature of the impairment meaning higher education is academically too difficult.

@4 The throats of Tories *

*Just a joke, I’m sorry you don’t have a sense of humour (the Clarkson defence)

I’m sick of hearing there’s no money, if its true where did Osborne find £250,000,000 to dish out to the most polluting industries, why didn’t he close the stamp duty loophole on expensive properties bought by non-doms, where’s the £500,0000,000 for the HS2 tunnel going to come from, Cameron shook the magic money tree for the Olympics again last week. Just collect the bloody tax we’re owed instead of sacking 12,000 taxmen who collect many times their income. Those who claim the disabled are some sort of luxury the country can’t afford are beneath contempt, though contempt will have to do until something better comes along

@4

Areas that could be cut instead including the Olympic budget, the salaries of MP’s, the wages of those earning over £80k in the public sector, the hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money that former prime ministers have been able to claim, the fund set up so local councils can afford to collect bins every seven days, taxpayers’ money spent on buying artwork for government ministers…

Then again, I’m guessing you don’t care so much about these areas. Perhaps you just have some irrational hatred of disabled people?

10. Oxford Kevin

Sue,

You should make it much easier for people to support your campaign. For me being fully dyslexic I will need to spend near an hour putting an e-mail together to send to a Lib Dem Lord. I support lots of causes, mostly because the organizers provide a number of alternate texts to send. Without making it easy for members of the public to do what you want you will only get a small number of committed activists doing so.

Kevin

@4
You!

IanVisits – No, it REALLY doesn’t. Those who go into the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) are assessed as having limited capability for work. They MAY be able to work with the right support. All of the illnesses I mention can go into the WRAG.

Those who developed ESA believed that people in the WRAG MIGHT be able to return to work within 2-5 years (Prof Paul Gregg)

The government admit that 94% will NOT have found work within a year and that it is irrelevant whether or not they are be better. Please believe me, this is terribly important. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/1015/101502.htm
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/eia-esa-time-limit-wr2011.pdf
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia.pdf

Kevin – Today I posted a template letter you can send. http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/12/time-limiting-esa-template-letter-to.html

I always start by asking people to write their own, simply because I know many peers won’t read a template letter.

Nonetheless, as I explain in this link, I am writing for disabled people, Many CAN’T write to MPs or Lords and are very grateful for a template letter to send. I hope peers bear this in mind when they receive them.

Can I beg anyone who reads this to send an email/letter/xmas card?? Please.

I know we see petitions and pleas every day, but often, disabled people cannot fight for themselves. We need YOU to stand with us.

15. Leon Wolfson

@4 – Let’s see.

Higher rate “tax relief” on pensions.
The Olympics, and all other non-profit making adult sports
HS2
NHS changes (roll em back, halve the NHS admin costs…)
Feed-In Tarrifs
The Coalition

PLENTY of trash to dump.

Thanks Sue. I’ll be e-mailing a Lib Dem Lord now.

Kevin

@15 Yes, NHS changes costing 3 Billion, Universal Credit 3 Billion, Free schools 1.5 Billion and counting……
Ireland bailout 6 Billion, Libya ??
My what a lot of money they’ve found…. mainly from people who would dearly love to live independently but can’t.

18. Tax Obesity, Not Business

Richard @ 9:

I asked the question because any campaign on this issue will be unsuccessful unless you make realistic suggestions as to where the money can be found now.

The Olympic’s budget and Government artworks are plausible candidates. I would not object to anything on your list being cut, but most are not practical politics in the short term. However, it would be most realistic to identify savings that could be made elsewhere in the welfare budget.

OS @ 6: I suspect that you are, as usual on here, conflating tax avoidance with tax evasion, and also simply refusing to think about funding priorities. Public funds are not limitless; and if the disabled are a priority, some other priority will have to be demoted.

LW @ 14: Feed-in tariffs are a good one, though Huhne would squeal like a stuck porker. HS2 is capital not revenue expenditure, so not an appropriate budget to raid.

Schmidt @ 8: That was even more feeble than Clarkson’s silly remark.

Steps I used.

1. Selected a LibDem Lord from the list in the link that Sue provided. (I chose Lord Addington)
2. Went to http://www.theyworkforyou.com
3. Found the Lord I selected in 1.
4. Clicked on the link “Send a message to Lord Addington”
5. Filled in the form at writetothem.com, and pasted in the content Sue provided.
6. The message was sent via the House of Lords fax machine.

Kevin

Good luck

20. Leon Wolfson

@17 – No, slashing money from the threadbare payments made to keep people alive is not appropriate. There will be tens of thousands of additional “excess” deaths this winter, and that will rise rapidly.

Oh, and to be clear, I support nuclear energy – with the “overcapacity” at non-peak time used to create a hydrogen economy to replace petrol in cars. Eco-Realist Environmentalist.

Thanks so much Kevin. 🙂

22. Tax Obesity, Not Business

LW @ 19:

“I support nuclear energy”

So do I, so we agree on something. Though I fear that you are like a monkey at a keyboard: given enough time, you will write something that makes sense in amongst your gibberish..

23. Leon Wolfson

@21 – I’m not the one advocating starving and freezing people by shuffling money around in budgets rather than actually trying to stop people from dying.

You of course have to try and evade looking like the evil sob you are by saying what anyone on the left says is “gibberish”.

I’ve still not seen an explanation from TONB why an alternative suggestion is even necessary: the government repeatedly stated that their welfare policy is not about saving money. It may have been contradicted by Chris Grayling under pressure from the work and pensions select committee where our ‘Left-wing’ media doesn’t report bugger all but it’s not something the government can rely on politically and publicly.

I have not seen any evidence from TONB that the government’s welfare strategy will save any money, deliberate or not. They are following a tried and tested and failed programme where indeed the welfare rolls do shrink(sometimes) but they neither save money nor reduce unemployment or poverty. This is because especially where it relates to disability, the needs of claimants do not disappear when their claims are made ineligible by moving goalposts.

There are many different estimates for how much unpaid carers save the country each year; some include those receiving benefits, some exclude them and some only count them. A report this year produced the figure of £119 billion.

http://www.carersuk.org/media/k2/attachments/Valuing_carers_2011___Carers_UK.pdf

This is relevant because Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit have always been cost-saving: they enable individuals to live either on their own or with their families and carers rather than residential care, which was and is extremely expensive. Many of the people with fairly serious do not even have carers and are saving even more money by being their own carers, enabled by DLA and IB/ESA. Take those benefits away and those people will find it much harder to look after themselves or be looked after by friends and family(it is a fact-free, insidious myth that people depend on the state as a substitute for family when the truth is that their resources are squeezed and they need support).

There will either be a humanitarian crisis, or the budgets for social and NHS care would have to be vastly expanded beyond what the DWP saves in order to pick up the pieces. You can not cut budgets for basic human needs, only shift the balance from one budget to another; someone must pay. The only question is who can afford what and how much?
———————————————————-
1. Disabled people and carers can afford the least for themselves from their budgets even with income from benefits.

2. The DWP can save money from their budget, but only by shifting it towards 1 or 3.

3. The NHS and Social Services. Their budgets are smaller than 2 but way bigger than 1. Yet to do the functions of number 1, they would need more than the budget of number 2.

For me the answer seems clear: number 2 can do the most good for the least money by taking the strain number 1 can not cope with. If they do not, number 3 does not have the budget to clean up the mess.

If your concerns are still about money and where it comes from to fund 2, then where is your concern for what funds 1 and 3? A false economy is presented as plain as day in the government’s Welfare strategy and a fiscal conservative would realise it and ask better questions than “but how will you pay for it?” in regards to benefits rather than in regards to consequences.

Much of the above is a draft for a post I’m writing for my own blog (shameless plug).

@4

Trident. In fact cutting trident would also free up enough money to provide people like you with that little part of their brain that normal people have to stop them being twats on the internet.

TONB @ 17

I asked the question because any campaign on this issue will be unsuccessful unless you make realistic suggestions as to where the money can be found now.

To be fair to most of the contributors here, the thrust of this campaign is aimed at decent Lib Dems, not the conscience free Tories. No one is in the slightest bit interested in appealing to the better side of the Tories, ninety per cent of whom are scum anyway.

All we need to do is explain why we think this is an injustice; we hardly need to find another injustice somewhere else in the Country to make our own injustice more believable, do we? What kind of rationale is that?

28. Tax Obesity, Not Business

@ 23:

“I’ve still not seen an explanation from TONB why an alternative suggestion is even necessary”

We are being asked by Sue Marsh to lobby Lib Dem peers so that they will hold up or change legislation to time-limit ESA. If the campaign is to succeed, we will have to convince the coalition government that not time-limiting ESA is a practical and affordable policy.

How much will unlimited ESA cost? And where can the money come from? Just saying that governments should raid contingency funds or that other departmental budgets could be reduced, or that money has been found for other things that you personally disapprove of, is hopelessly unrealistic, because numerous other lobbies are using similar arguments. In terms of practical politics, a successful campaign will have to embarrass the Secretary of State into changing his mind by presenting a carefully costed alternative proposal showing were the money can be found within his budget by cutting something else. Anything less than that is just the politics of protest and empty moralising, and it certainly won’t help the disabled

Many posters here clearly do not want to face up to that political reality, and all they can do is respond with abuse and venom. And apart from Richard @ 9 and (surprisingly, though to his credit) Leon @ 14, no practical suggestions have been made. All we have is….

GWP @ 25 suggests cutting Trident which will not happen in time to save unlimited ESA and which is capital – not revenue – expenditure and so not relevant.

Sue Marsh @ 16 mentions money that has already been spent on things she disapproves of, even though this is unlikely to persuade anyone (least of all Lib Dem peers) that unlimited ESA is affordable. She then mentions £6bn for Ireland, apparently unaware that this is a guarantee not expenditure. And she concludes with the highly dubious and evidence-free claim that the government has found lots of money for its policies and projects “mainly from people who would dearly love to live independently but can’t.” So, apparently, cuts to benefits to the disabled are funding Libya, Ireland, the NHS reforms, Free Schools, etc!

If anyone can tell me how much unlimited ESA would cost and can suggest a plausible source of funding from within the departmental budget, I will gladly write not only to a Lib Dem peer but also my own MP and the Secretary of State.

29. Tax Obesity, Not Business

Jim @ 27:

“the thrust of this campaign is aimed at decent Lib Dems, not the conscience free Tories”

OK, but the point of appealing to the Lib Dem peers is to encourage them to create a lobby within the Coalition to press for unlimited ESA. For Lib Dem ministers and peers to achieve this goal, they will need costed proposals, showing how it can be afforded. Then if there is enough public concern, you will stand a chance of winning the argument.

What you suggest sounds like gesture politics to me.

TONB @ 28

For Lib Dem ministers and peers to achieve this goal, they will need costed proposals, showing how it can be afforded

Nope, nothing to do with ‘saving’ money is it? In fact the Government have been telling us that these ‘reforms’ are about stopping people languishing on benefits.

It is either right or wrong. Is it right that people with long term chronic diseases are going to be able to work a year after an original diagnosis? If you have an incurable progressive illness is it likely that disease will spontaneously clear up on its own? How could the need for Tory tax cuts possibly change the prognosis of a disease? What are you saying? Are you suggesting that we have a budget for each disease, and once the upper limit is reached we just do not allow anyone else to get that disease? So, we send out a memo GP saying we have reached the ceiling for muscular dystrophy and from now on, no new diagnosis can be made until someone with it dies?

Oh don’t play the un-debatable slippery bugger TONB by now stating that the issue of costs is the position of ministers and not yourself. My argument to them is the same as the argument to you and they have been quite alarmed and evasive about it. They know the WRB won’t save a penny if the DWP data on fraud prevalence is even close to being accurate. They are instead banking on the evidence-free notion that the majority of claims are illegitimate but beyond affordable detection. I’ve had a few exchanges with Maria Miller through my MP, once in person and once on the record in a letter. She is completely aware of what I’m saying and the only thing she can rely on is ‘most of them must be faking it or not that ill’ and therefore their support needs will disappear when their claims do. They won’t.

It’s a false economy and when presented with it in the cold light of day, your response is predictably: ‘yeah, but what about the cost’? As if the Coalition’s welfare strategy, including the time-limiting of ESA, will not carry vast costs themselves. If the DWP carries the costs of their support: those costs are relatively minor next to the support that is given. If the DWP chooses not to, then there are no IFS or BUTS; it will be carers, individuals, social services and the NHS that will find themselves with unaffordable challenges.

So if ESA is time-limited, among the other ‘back of a fag packet’ ideas, have YOU asked ministers how they will afford it? How can they cut cost-saving benefits and then still expect costs to stay down? Cake and eating it much?

Time limit benefits? What about chronic conditions like MS, where the sufferer might never know what will happen.

33. Tax Obesity, Not Business

Jim @ 29:

“Are you suggesting that we have a budget for each disease, and once the upper limit is reached we just do not allow anyone else to get that disease? So, we send out a memo GP saying we have reached the ceiling for muscular dystrophy and from now on, no new diagnosis can be made until someone with it dies?”

*face/palm*. Epidemiologists can provide remarkably accurate predictions of the incidence of diseases, and governments can then budget accordingly. (My guess is that at present the epidemiological estimates are lower than the number of claims, and that this explains the government’s motivation.)

MDA @ 30: So how would you propose to win this particular campaign, if you are not prepared at least in part to engage with the coalition government on its own terms? Or are you, like Jim, merely interested in claiming to be morally right?

TONB – I was pointing out how the gov could FIND money when they wanted, not objecting to it.

Do you REALLY believe this there is no money nonsense? REALLY?

I suggest you go read some history. Start with the 30s and the horror of austerity then, then you might want to look at our debt and deficit post WWII. With the biggest debt and deficit of all time we set up the welfare state.

It’s just utterly ridiculous. Our interest rates are low and most of our debt is held in the UK. You know (or ought to) that.

Time limiting ESA will “save” the government between 3 and 8 billion – yes, that’s about as accurate as the DWP can be. Seriously, who does sums with a margin of error of £5,000,000,000????

Nonetheless, they use the figure of 5 Billion most often, so I propose that we don’t allow banks to write their losses of against tax for the next 5 years, which George Osborne snuck through at a cost of 23 Billion – what do you think? Let them pay for their failures. Remember, I’m not asking them to pay extra, just what they owe.

That eliminates the need for any cuts to disability benefits at all (9.2 Billion) and gives us another 13.8 Billion to stimulate growth and save roughly 200,000 people becoming homeless due to the HB cap. Bargain eh?

TONB – That said, I hate to say it, you are actually right. The government want costed alternatives for any suggestion. Freud recently gave the figures in 100s of millions for how much time limiting would save.

Interestingly though, after 4 years, the savings appeared to drop off. Bns Hayter made the point that in fact, perhaps this wasn’t necessary at all. Freud being Freud slithered off to flick his tongue at some small rodents.

36. Tax Obesity, Not Business

Sue @ 33/34:

I repeat what I said @32 – How would you propose to win this particular campaign, if you are not prepared at least in part to engage with the coalition government on its own terms?

To win the change you want, you will (a) have to embarrass the coalition on this issue and (b) show how not time-limiting ESA is affordable now within the coalition’s departmental priorities. You can talk airily about how you would spend bank’s tax-relief on losses, but that ain’t going to happen until there’s a change of government and maybe not even then! So, yes, in principle, there may well be money to do what you want; but, in practical terms, under this government, there is no money for your cause.

Sadly, you seem to believe in the magic money tree. Approvingly, you say: “With the biggest debt and deficit of all time we set up the welfare state.” Yet setting up the welfare state in 1945 was an economically disatrous decision. The UK spent money on welfare it should have invested in its productive base (which is one reason why we are so dependent on financial services rathr than manufacturing). Germany and Japan were doing the opposite; and the UK is living with the diastrous results of the 1945 decision to this day.

TONB, you’ve moved the goalposts and changed the terms of debate from ‘what will you cut instead?’ to ‘how will you convince ministers?’. This makes you un-debateable because on any matter where you must give ground, rather than acknowledging it you just change your question. I have responded to your alternative question and have been met with gibberish logic that says we have to engage with the government ‘on their own terms’ no matter how batshit crazy or lacking in evidence those terms are.

Like you, the government just keeps moving the goalposts. They denied it was about costs, then they lost the argument about systematic flaws under scrutiny from the Social Security Advisory Committee and Work and Pensions Select Committee. So then they admitted quietly and in places where the media rarely report that it is about costs, then they lost that argument because their welfare strategy is possibly the most expensive ever. Now their argument is that the costs problem won’t emerge because they are gambling on a significant number of claimants receiving payments they shouldn’t, an area too technical for most people to understand.

Happy to speak with them on their terms; it’s what we keep trying to do. They just keep changing what those terms are.

TONB @ 35

Germany and Japan were doing the opposite; and the UK is living with the diastrous results of the 1945 decision to this day.

Germany hasn’t got a welfare State?

Fucking moron.

40. Tax Obesity, Not Business

MDA @ 36:

No, I have not moved the goal posts. Surely you can see that answering the question ‘what will you cut instead?’ is crucial for answering ‘how will you convince ministers?’

41. Tax Obesity, Not Business

Jim @ 38:

The point is that in 1945 Germany invested in its productive base before it built up its welfare state. The virtually bankrupt UK in 1945 spent borrowed money on the luxury of a welfare state it simply could not at that time afford. What the UK needed in 1945 was 10-15 years of investment in infrastructure and industry, and then a welfare state could have been created in about 1955-60.

No TONB, it’s completely irrelevant because we have done exactly what you think we have not and engaged with ministers and each time we have accepted the premises they set out and debated within those frames of reference, they have failed to reply with anything but a completely new set of premises.

Please read all my responses to you again, you are going round in circles. The answer to ‘what will you cut instead?’ is ‘how can you afford to cut something that is already cost-saving and what will you replace it with?’. The answer to ‘how will you convince ministers?’ is ‘ministers do not want to be convinced so nothing will convince them and believe me we’re tried’. Talk about costs becomes irrelevant when they realise they’ve lost that argument and simply change the terms yet again.

You have been doing the same thing because your replies to my replies are incredibly circular.

Basically, if answering the question ‘what will you cut instead?’ is required to answer the question ‘how will you convince ministers?’ this means almost any answer given to the first question can be brushed aside by asking the second and any answer to the first can be brushed aside by asking the first.

Unless someone responds to the facts being presented, they can resort to what is a cheap rhetorical trick to postpone having to make an actual argument.

So, how does the government think they can afford to cut what is already cost-saving?

TONB – What Mason Dixon said in No42.

I could list all the ways most of the disability/social care cuts will not save money, but it would be at least another three articles. (I’ve written most of them already on my blog if you want to search)

It’s no good cutting if it isn’t a cut is it? Surely even you would agree? the ILF, the HB cap, Time Limiting ESA, cutting social care are just four examples that will almost certainly cost more than they save.

It’s like watching a slow car crash. If your “reforms” are based on flawed evidence, then you just won’t get the results you think you will. We are already seeing this with ESA as the gov admitted in the Autumn Statement that they would “save” 1 billion less than they hoped. Here are another 2 examples http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/12/care-in-community.html

You have to know the history of why these benefits came into place. YOU seem to believe in the magic wand. However many times you click your heel;s together, however many wishes you wish, you just can’t make the illnesses and disabilities disappear. As Mason says, they already SAVE the UK money. If you get rid of them, you will simply have to pick up the costs somewhere else – in the NHS, or social care, or God forbid, in new institutions.

If only I could convey here just how flawed it all is.

The gov made their case for abolishing DLA based on a 30% rise in claimants. In fact it was only 16% (The DWP have admitted their mistake, they say they are “baffled”) Our very own Mason here noticed that they appeared to know before the bill went through parliament and into the Lords.

The only rise in working age DLA claims have been amongst learning difficulties and mental health conditions.

Sickness benefits have not risen for 15 years, in fact they have been falling for several years.

There has been no study of severity of disability since 1984

I could go on and on, but as Mason has said, we have been through all of this with the ministers and the peers.

All they answer is “we can’t afford it” We say “you can’t afford not to”

Stalemate.

I recall also that Labour’s pathetic(almost as bad as the Coalition’s) impact assessment for ESA put the extra costs of tribunals at £90 million over ten years. So far they have cost £70 million(or £50 million in 2010-2011 and £70 million so far for 2011-2012 but I’m still checking this).

Ministers have been warned repeatedly by people much more knowledgeable about the history of social security and the dozens of topics that interact with it like disability, diagnostics and nursing than they are about these things and thrown it back in their faces. They have been underhand with reviews and consultations, they have co-opted support from charities and organisations who in fact do not support their plans and it appears to be with all intent for the purpose of saying “well disability campaigners helped us design it” when it all goes tits up. They’d rather take their cues from occupational therapists that sell the government services, disability-denying insurance companies, think-tanks with ideological axes to grind against the poor and the tabloids they brief.

TONB @ 40

What a fucking idiot you are. British manufacturing was solid post war. We made everything from cars to ships and everything in between. It only started to seriously decline come the 1980s when we started to starve it from investment and purposely moved to a service economy.

The welfare State was not ‘a luxury’ it was required to move this Country on post war bomb site.

This why you Tory cunts get everything wrong on so many levels. You think a welfare state is a drain on society, but nothing can be further from the truth. Building an NHS, an education system and quarter of a million houses a year does not detract from society, they have enhanced it. Feeding starving people is not a ‘luxury’ it is a prerequisite for moving our society forward. The post war years where boom times for the British.

49. Leon Wolfson

@25 – Well yes, let’s reform the UNSC. Then we can talk about that. You’re premature as usual on this topic.

Where will the money come from? is a frequent question we’re hearing a lot lately. Where do people imagine it comes from anyway? Banks make it up, is the answer. When they pretend to lend it, they actually create it.In fact, when you sign a loan agreement, you could argue you’re creating a form of money yourself in that banknotes (formerly, before we went fiat) were promissory notes (I promise to pay the bearer) and what you sign do just the same thing, they’re promises to pay. The banks create money as they do under license from the government. The government, therefore, could withdraw the license and create money itself. Would there be inflation? Not automatically, no – if the government created money from nowhere and then chucked it outof helicopters endlessly then some might lose respect for the currency and it could become devalued. If it were released into the business community as funding for realistic ventures then in all probablility there’d be no inflation at all. Or, if it were released to pay for healthcare, house-building, infrastructure creation – anything socially worthwhile… there’d not necessarily automatically be inflation then. So while I respect Sue’s concerns and share them, everyone here should be reminded or indeed introduced to the idea that these are the wrong arguments about the wrong things. If there’s a shortage of money, which exists only to facilitate trade anyway, it’s an entirely artificial one. It’s phony. When you’re a country, there’s no such thing as not having enough money. The government chooses to pretend there is, which is nonsense. Such malevolent folly can’t be permitted to continue. That’s the fight we should all be fighting.

And can I just jump in to the ongoing coversation and remind folk I’ve been saying for years that the whole point of so-called welfare reform is it facilitates transfering money from the public purse to private coffers by making the process look socially respectable? It’s a scam cooked up by crooked businessmen and corrupt politicians to raid the public purse, nothing more, nothing less. That’s why the Atos testing goes relentlessly ahead despite all the evidence of how wrong on every level it is. Of course it costs far more than it saves but so what? No doubt they’ll get their cut from the Atos money and the billions going to the likes of A4E etc and they won’t by genuinely saving money for the public purse. DUH!

TONB says to accept the MP’s terms before debating them. Who is this moron, and who is paying him?
The moment you accept your opponents terms of debate is the moment you grant them total victory.

TONB
Are you being serious? Three years ago I was diagnosed with a medical condition that prevented me from working and still does to this day. My ESA payment was set at £110 p/w (prior to this I was earning c.£50k per annum and didn’t avoid or evade tax). Within two months of diagnosis, an ATOS nurse decided that I would be fit to work within six months, an opinion my doctor found incomprehensible. Later on my ESA payment was reduced to £94 p/w. Then it was reduced to £80 p/w. Now it is £67 p/w. Do I want huge amounts of benefit payments? No. I want to go back to work, but I’m not able to just yet. You ask “if the disabled are a priority?”. IF? IF?
I have said many times that I wouldn’t wish my circumstances on anyone, but in your case I am prepared to make an exception.

54. Leon Wolfson

@50 – Careful, that’s getting mighty close to the Labour Theory of Value, and then heads start exploding around here. (I’m a mutualist, I broadly agree, but…)

I think what hasn’t been factored in to this supposed ‘cost saving’ is the massive increase in appeals that will happen. If you are reassessed and placed in the WRAG, knowing that your benefit is time limited will mean having nothing to lose in making an appeal to be placed in the support group.

Previously there was risk and a lot of stress entailed in appealing a WRAG decision, and many would not bother just for an additional £5 a week, and to get out of some work focused interviews. These people will now be filing appeals knowing they will lose their benefit anyway – and this will be at huge cost.

I think the Torys have this idea that these people on cont based ESA will either qualify for income based ESA or are from good income/high savings households – this simply isn’t true. Many are couples where one half works at minimum wage and the cont based ESA is the difference between being able to make mortgage or rent payments and not. The fallout from this will be repossessions, fuel poverty, homelessness, and increased stress on an already sick or disabled person. Stress wll cause worsening conditions and can even lead to suicide, especially in those who are mentally ill and find their already low income drops by £400 a month.

If we’re going to make savings, how about we make them somewhere where we won’t be torturing the sick, disabled and vulnerable. It always amazes me when the argument of ‘well some might move away’ is given as an excuse for not increasing taxes against the super rich. But the argument ‘well some might die, freeze, lose their homes, or get sicker’ doesn’t seem to bother people when talking about taking money off of the poor, sick and vulnerable.

This ‘I’m all right, jack’ mentality of the Torys, disgusts me.

these people are very sick & NOT able to work at all, thse diseases are worse than late stage cancer & aids.

Having epilepsy, memory problems and mental health problems, amongst other things will make me unemployable.. However in the governments eyes fit for work..

No one will employ me yet because my husband worked for many years and has a Small Company Pension.. I will lose every penny and we will struggle yet worked for many years. It is unfair.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Tim Hardy

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  20. Act to stop ESA time limiting « debondisability

    […] activist and  blogger Sue Marsh explains the policy and how you can […]

  21. eleanor

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  22. Huston Gilmore

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  28. Ricardo

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  29. csignals

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  39. Annie Powell

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  41. Les Tricoteuses

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