The DWP have brought in a member of the ‘Fit For Work Coalition’ and the neo-liberal think tank the World Economic Forum, to carry out a review of the brutal assessments for sickness and disability benefits.
Dr Paul Litchfield will replace Professor Malcolm Harrington who was sidelined after being mildly critical of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), the relentless health and disability tests which have driven some claimants to suicide.
As well as his membership of the sinister sounding World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council – who promote more capitalism to deal with the problems created by capitalism – Litchfield is Chief Medical Officer at BT. He is also a member of the aptly named Fit For Work Coalition which: “brings together healthcare professionals, policy makers, employers, and patients to improve the productivity of Britain’s workforce, by empowering and supporting people, including those with long-term conditions, to remain in or return to work and be economically active.”
Litchfield has long been working behind the scenes with both the current and the last government in a bid to dismantle the welfare state. Way back in 2006 he was a member of the Mental Health Technical Group who were involved in proposals to ‘transform’ the old Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) – the previous assessment regime for Incapacity Benefit.
He then went on to sit on the Technical and Consultative Working Group involved in the creation of the Work Capability Assessment, along with Angela Graham of Atos Origin and Sue Godby of Unum.
He will now prepare a review on the shambolic Work Capability Assessment which is seeing more seriously unwell or disabled people than ever successfully appealing Fit for Work decisions.
Litchfield has already given an early indication of his true role at the DWP , which appears to be that of a glorified spin doctor. He claims in a statement on the DWP website that: “Any assessment not only has to be fair but must be perceived as being fair.”
He’s not there to change the assessments, but to change people’s minds about the assessments.
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