Philip Hensher’s delusions about benefit claimants with mental health conditions have further unraveled as the source of his recent outburst in The Independent has been revealed.
It seems that Hensher was referring to this document (PDF) when he said:
“A campaigning group, After Atos, has the slogan Not One Shall Be Lost. The trouble is, reading its website, that some clearly deserve to be lost to the benefits system. Beside some genuinely sad cases, we find this testimony: “I travelled on my mountain bike [to the interview] as I can’t stand being on a bus for more than 15 minutes. I get off before I panic.” Now, I don’t say they should definitely go back to work. I don’t know the full facts. But is it not reasonable to say that someone who can cycle the equivalent of a bus journey of more than 15 minutes should have their fitness to work examined?”
The website he refers to is the result of a wide ranging survey of people’s experiences of the Work Capability Assessment. The full quote, which Hensher uses to insinuate that riding a bike might be evidence of benefit fraud, is as follows:
“I travelled on my mountain bike as I can’t stand being on a bus for more than 15 minutes. I get off before I panic. Last time I tried was 2 years ago and I got off after about 2 miles with 5 still to go and walked the rest of it.”
Hensher will be pleased to know that this individual, who suffers from such acute anxiety they are unable to travel on public transport, was found fit for work.
What Hensher doesn’t know is that the same person also described their experiences after losing sickness benefits. After Atos have released their response to this part of the survey:
“Finances: ended up over £600 overdrawn, thankfully HSBC are an even better bank than I had realised and helped me work out a repayment solution – only ~£40 left to go atm. Council have taken me to court once already over unpaid rent due to housing benefit being stopped. Mental Health: I spent a lot of time working out how I could kill myself while making it seem an accident so as to upset friends/relatives as little as possible. I also left the house even less than before. Motivation to do anything, which was low to begin with, became almost zero Physical Health: I lost a lot of weight because I didn’t have either the quantity or the quality of food necessary. Social Life: What social life? Work Life: n/a”
Philip Hensher appears to have left twitter after he was roundly condemned for his backward views on mental health conditions. Unable to answer the points raised, he chose to swear at people and then run away. If only life were so simple for the thousands of people currently being impoverished by Atos and abused by people like Hensher in the national press on a daily basis.
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