Taking The WCA Back To The Bad Old Days, Why Sick and Disabled Claimants Should Fear A Labour Government

ESA-statsShadow Minister for Disabled People Kate Green has pledged to return the despised Work Capability Assessment (WCA) back to its “original purpose” raising fears that gains made by capaigners over the last few years could be lost as Labour attempt to rehabilitate the despised tests for sickness or disability benefits.

Her comments were made at a union meeting late last year and were filmed by  Kate Belgrave who has made the video available to Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).  According to Green, Labour will: “make sure that the work capability assessment is returned to its original purpose of being the first step in the process to diagnose and identify what sort of support somebody who could work at some point would need to have in order to enable them work, and so we will give every single person who goes through the work capability assessment, at the end of their assessment, a statement of how their condition or impairment impacts on their capacity to work.”

Labour introduced the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008 with the ‘original purpose’ of stripping out of work benefits from over a third of sick and disabled people.  Speaking to Parliament about the reforms in 2006, the Labour Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions John Hutton said: “I believe that if we take the measures that I have outlined … we can get 1 million people off incapacity benefit within a decade. In doing so, we could ultimately save up to £7 billion a year for taxpayers. That should be the scale of our ambition.”

Whilst the tests were first introduced for new claimants only, in the 2008 budget (PDF para 4.5) Labour announced that all claimants on Incapacity Benefit would be re-assessed from April 2010.  All Iain Duncan Smith did, after the Tory Party weren’t elected in May 2010, was to continue the work begun by Labour.

The contract to carry out the shoddy tick-box style assessments was handed to the little known French IT firm Atos Origin, a company who had previously sponsored events at the Labour Party conference.  Atos were tasked with dividing claimants on sickness or disability benefits into three groups – those unable to work who were placed in the Support Group, those who might be able to do some work at some point in the future – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – and those who the company judged ‘fit for work’.

The results have been horrifying as people with serious health conditions have been forced off benefits after a brief computer based test ignored medical opinion to find them able to work.  Many in the WRAG group have faced benefit sanctions after being unable to carry out DWP mandated ‘Work Related Activity’ such as endless job search, compulsory training and even workfare.  The assessments have even become too much for Atos to stomach and following fierce campaigning by disabled people the company announced last year that they would be ending their contract with the government early.

The introduction of the Work Capability Assessment was based on the tabloid myth that hundreds of thousands of people were faking their health conditions  and were really able to work.  This lie took hold despite the UK not having significantly more people unable to work due to sickness or disability then other comparable economies.  Yet still the abuse persisted from politicians of all parties.  In 2011 Ed Miliband even attempted to blame benefit claimants for the financial crisis claiming many of those unable to work were “ripping off society”.

On the ground however a very different picture was emerging.  As early as March 2010 Citizens Advice published a damning report (PDF) backed by disability charities revealing the horrific suffering the WCA was causing.  It turned out that most people were not lying about their health condition after all and tragic stories began appearing in the media of poverty, homelessness, ill health and even suicides linked to the new sickness benefit regime.  Huge numbers of decisions made by Atos and the DWP to remove benefits were being over-turned at appeal.  Protests against the process began to spread throughout the UK.  And slowly, the number of people found fit for work, began to fall (as can be seen in the above graph which represents new claims, not re-assessments).

Just as significantly, the percentage of people placed in the Support Group – meaning they are not expected to look for work at all – has risen sixfold between the last period of the Labour adminstration and the most recent figures.  Of course this – combined with a huge backlog of cases as Atos struggled to find enough healthcare professionals nasty enough to carry out the assessments – has meant that the number of people entitled to sickness and disability benefits is back on the rise, and rightly so.   The job of new contractors, US based outsourcing firm Maximus, will be to reverse this trend.

Labour have promised to tinker with the WCA but have no plans to scrap it.  As DPAC rightly point out, Kate Green’s comments suggest those in the Support Group could soon be in the firing line and face pressure to look for work.  Last year Ed Miliband endorsed a think tank report which suggested the removal of the WRAG group for under 25s who would instead face workfare and their benefits being reduced to the same level as those unemployed.  Maximus, who will be taking over from Atos in March this year, have recently employed a former Labour special advisor alongside a prominent Labour blogger on a huge salary to manage ‘customer relations’.  Bill Gunnyeon, the DWP Civil Servant who oversaw the introduction of the WCA under the Labour government, has also recently been employed by the company.

Anyone who thinks that things might get better for sick and disabled claimants if the Tories are voted out this May could yet be in for a horrifying surprise.  Because if history is anything to go by, then under a Labour administration, things could get a lot worse.

Join the Day of Action against Maximus called by Disabled People Against Cuts on March 2nd.

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110 responses to “Taking The WCA Back To The Bad Old Days, Why Sick and Disabled Claimants Should Fear A Labour Government

  1. Vote CLASS WAR!!

    EAT THE RICH!!

    • “WHY NOT CHECK OUT “THE FACULTY FOR OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE” AND IT’S SILVER ANNIVERSARY DINNER, ON BOARD THE ROYAL YACHT BRITANNIA.

      Take a note of the guests, their influence on welfare reforms and note the names of the sponsors, UNUM and BUPA…………………

      Oh, also note the presence of Litchfield, the governments “INDEPENDENT
      DISABILITY REVIEWER”

      http://www.fom.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/annrep031.pdf

      • A Maximus spokesman said Gunnyeon would not be allowed to provide any advice, make any suggestions, or contact staff working on the two DWP contracts.

        Instead, he will be working on “UK business development” for the company.

        The Maximus spokesman said his understanding was that Gunnyeon had no role in the awarding of either of the DWP contracts to Maximus, despite his senior position.

        But he admitted that Gunnyeon had been involved in developing the health and work programme.

        And he said that whatever Gunnyeon’s involvement in developing the WCA, that policy “goes back a number of years”.

        The Maximus spokesman said: “He is not breaching the code at all. He is not working on those [two] contracts.”

        He added: “There is a civil service code of conduct, which governs all commercial relationships, and those terms have been completely adhered to. No rules have been broken.”

        But DNS has already learned that Gunnyeon attended an induction meeting with other senior staff this week at which the WCA contract was discussed at length.

        …………..UTTER BULLSHIT

        • NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST, FUCK OFF DWP !!!
          Dear Mr Todd,

          Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 13 June 2013. You asked
          for:-

          Upon researching many websites concerning welfare reforms and organisations that support
          these, Dame Carol Black,Professor Mansel Aylward and your own Bill Gunnyeon are always
          prominent guest speakers.

          The links with the insurance and healthcare foundations are plainly obvious for all to see.

          What i cannot understand is the sponsors of the events have links to services that the
          government departments, that are supposed to be truly independent,award lucrative contracts.

          …………………………………………………………………………………………………

          In response to the first questions (a and b) there is no conflict of interest to be registered. Dr
          Gunnyeon, DWP’s Chief Medical Adviser, accepts speaking engagements to promote and
          increase awareness of the Department’s policies, an activity which is normal for senior officials
          within DWP. When undertaking such engagements Dr Gunnyeon is representing DWP and
          neither he, nor the Department, receives any fee, or expenses.

          DWP Central FoI Team

  2. I feel it is worth referencing this link again:-
    http://www.midmoors.co.uk/Unum/unum_in_uk.pdf and I suggest people download it as well.
    It must be remembered that, the Tories, New Labour and the Lib-Dems are now all complicit in the use of the Unum/Mansel Aylward/DWP designed, biopsychosocial model of disability based “work capability assessment” and it’s previous iterations.
    All three need a kicking about it, and to keep on being kicked about it no matter what mongrel government we end up after the general election.

  3. The problem I have with your blog piece is that it fails to address this “fuller” statement by Kate Green on the WCA: http://leftfootforward.org/2014/10/labour-demand-big-improvements-to-work-capability-assessments/; your comments would be appreciated in this regard.

    • Hello Samuel.

      There really isn’t much more in that statement than there is in JV’s article.

      If a Maximus HCP (more than likely to be an ex-Atos HCP) does a WCA with a recommendation that a claimant is allocated to a particular group, and that grouping is wrong, what is the point of saying the claimant has X barriers to work and needs Y assistance in order to work?

      The WCA reports all carry recommendations, which the DWP decision-makers invariably rubber-stamp; as there are so many wrong decisions anyway, what’s the point of then wasting time and effort and money on yet another piece of paper exhorting the claimant to do something they can’t?

      Work Programme providers are already in trouble on this – A4E is currently in the courts defending an unfair dismissal claim from a man who complained that he was expected to help people with mental illness into work – he, quite rightly, protested that he did not have the qualifications or experience to do this.
      If WP providers have a statement based on a mistaken premise, they will be merrily referring even more poorly people for sanctions if they can’t do what the statement suggests.

      The WCA does not need reform, it needs abolition. Labour needs to admit it made a mistake introducing ESA in its current form; they can apologise for Iraq, for mistakes in immigration, they should apologise for this.

      I am not hopeful that Labour will improve matters – sorry.

      • in that piece Green said: “I would hope it would be an urgent priority to look at what we should have that would work better.”

        I think that’s politician speak for not a hope in hell.

        Then I found this.

        http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2014/05/disability-and-poverty-taskforce-labour-accused-of-disrespect/

        Which just about sums their attitude up. Commission a report but don’t pay anyone for doing it, don’t publish it in accessible formats and dump it on a site as though you don’t have anything to do with it.

      • …………..SORRY KITTY, looks like typical pre election drivel to me.

        • …………………..and the statement from DWP;

          “Through a series of independent reviews and by working with medical experts and charities, we have considerably improved the WCA process since 2010 to make it fairer and more accurate.

          …………….which translated into layman’s language means;

          “AFTER EXTENSIVE DIALOGUE WITH THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY AND THE CHARITIES THAT ACCEPT FREE WORKPLACE PLACEMENTS, INCLUDING REPORTS FROM INDEPENDENT SOURCES, PAUL LITCHFIELD AND MATTHEW OAKLEY”…………………..

          ……………….this statement says it all;

          A FAREWELL FROM THE FACULTY OF OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE TO BILL GUNNYEON (CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DWP)……..

          DWP Chief Medical Adviser set to leave

          The Department for Work & Pensions announced earlier this week that its Chief Medical Adviser and Director of Health and Wellbeing, Dr Bill Gunnyeon, is leaving after nine years. Faculty President Dr Olivia Carlton said, ‘Bill is a distinguished Past President of the Faculty and we are very proud of his many achievements at DWP. We wish him well for the future’.

          “JOBS FOR THE BOYS”

        • No Kitty reply defending Labours intents and proffering articles from her own blog as evidence?

    • Green says nothing new in that piece in fact she makes it blatantly clear that the Labour Party sees nothing wrong with the WCA beyond the ‘assessment’s’ being poorly delivered. Clearly placing the blame on the supplier and not the product misses the point completely. The only improvement to the WCA is to scrap it and design a system that is fit for purpose.

      • In response, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not directly employ Doctors to
        undertake health and disability assessments.

        Doctors employed by Atos Healthcare are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC)
        and there is no requirement for their Doctors to be on the General Practitioner (GP) register.
        Their Doctors must be fully registered with the GMC without current restrictions or conditions;
        and from November 2010, without current undertakings and hold a licence to practice from the
        date the GMC issues licences. In addition, they must have at least 3 years post full registration
        (GMC or EEA – European Economic Area equivalent) experience as a minimum.

        ………………………….yet the DWP allow unlicensed doctors to give medical advice at ESA tribunals…………..

        • In June, led by Dr Paul Nicholson, chair of the association’s occupational medicine committee, the BMA at its annual representative meeting in June unanimously passed a motion arguing the HWS was “misleading both in name and by its claims to provide occupational health advice and support” (Occupational Health, News, August 2014).

          The motion also urged the BMA “to lobby the Department for Work and Pensions to immediately stop using the term ‘occupational health’ in a misleading and damaging way when describing this service”.

          But Leslie Wolfe, president, Health Services Central and Health UK at MAXIMUS, stressed to Occupational Health that, as far as Health Management was concerned, it was clear it was not providing an OH service.

          “Occupational health, we fully understand, encompasses much more than just a return-to-work service. What we are offering is not occupational health; it is a quite specialised and focused return-to-work service,” she said.

          “Occupational health is about diagnosis and treatment of the patient, prevention, surveillance and risk assessment; it is not necessarily about return to work, although it can be. We see our role as supporting, and complementing GPs and occupational health practitioners, not competing with them,” she added.

          • “JULY 7TH 2004, LESLIE WOLFE (NOW MAXIMUS)
            APPOINTED EXECUTIVE CONTRACT MANAGER FOR MINISTRY OF HEALTH AT BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA……………

            http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_prev/v31n21_0702

            …………………………strange how all these posts at MAXIMUS have unsavoury links?

            • “UNPRECEDENTED FINES ON MAXIMUS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, THEN WOLFE JUMPS SHIP TO WORK FOR THE ENEMY”

              The B.C. Ministry of Health has levied hundreds of thousands ofdollars in fines against the government’s outsourced healthinsurance services provider Maximus B.C.

              In April 2005, Maximus B.C. took over the Health InsuranceBritish Columbia (HIBC) program from the Ministry of Health, in a10-year, $324-million contract.

              Provincial officials were subsequently advised that call volumesto HIBC from the public were higher than normal, and higher thanexpected, said Leslie Wolfe, executive contract manager for theB.C. Ministry of Health.

              “Within the contract there’s actually a requirement for them toreport or notify if they think that they’re at risk of not meetingall of the service levels,” Wolfe said. “We weren’t totallysurprised that there could be some growing pains associated withtaking on such a big project and such a big program.”

              Wolfe said new initiatives in development to help increaseaccessibility, and speed up processing times of variousadministrative services, include improving the website to allowB.C. residents to apply online for Medical Services Plan (MSP)Premium Assistance, and the implementation of new call centretechnology to improve customer service.

              The contract outlines specific service level requirements,including call wait-times, which Maximus failed to meet every monththrough the first eight months of the contract.

              Problems included poor service – telephone wait times takinglonger than the specified three minutes – and failure to processdocuments and applications within required timelines. As a result,fines were levied.

              Wolfe would not confirm fine amounts saying that information isprotected for “proprietary reasons,” and added that the Ministryand Maximus B.C. interact on almost a daily basis.

              “Health Minister George Abbott did say that it’s up to hundredsof thousands of dollars,” said Wolfe. “The fines are materialenough to motivate them to take corrective action.”

              ……………………………..NOTICE THE PATTERN????

              • ……………..get a few well placed people of influence working for the private health insurance industry to infiltrate senior government departments to bring about change.

                Not conspiracy, just fact………………

    • I think the best guide to what Labour will do on the WCA is what they did on the WCA. What Green wants is a more efficient WCA, and more policing of claimants with the integration of the Work Programme into the system. Sounds horrible. The only factor that really matters is whether less or more people lose their benefits. I suspect Green wants more people found fit for work, just better spun with the abuses swept under the carpet. Just like it was before.

      • Aye, and her historical revisionism (“We introduced the WCA with the best of intentions”) scarcely inspires trust.

        Actions don’t just speak louder than words, they speak truer too.

    • overburdenddonkey

      it’s new name might be CWA capability to work assessment but what ever it’s called it will a WCA….producing a report stating what work people are capable of is exactly what happens now, eventually…through 2 very important already established protocols 1, subjectivity of the claimant’s reporting of sickness and disability as judged by…and 2, masters of the facts, of all factors deemed relevant by; both are as the 1st tier appeal tribunal sees or judges one’s health conditions…this is what the claimant basically needs to prove, 1 they are not being subjective, 2 the facts are incomplete, 3 that the diagnosis is not yet completed, and 4 all symptoms have not yet been gathered or fully considered….symptoms take precedence over diagnosis…one must also consider that one’s gp and many nhs professionals has agreed that one is not fit for work…hence OH assisting companies claim disallowers/putteroffers sprouting up like weeds…the whole purpose is to cut their costs…

      • overburdenddonkey

        ps i missed a bit what then happens after the whole process is exhausted ie the victim is….the FtT will tell one what work one is fit for…

        • overburdenddonkey

          labour intend to continue to tell people how to feel and do nothing useful with our resources, to help and/or to create much needed mass employment…but then again they have colluded with the tories in destroying it, to profitise public industry and enterprise and destroy the power of the trades unions… as well as creating tailored revenue streams for their own enrichment, claiming that we benefit from that with a so called trickle down, aka scraps from the table… …scrap the WCA, sanctions and conditionality NOW!….what perhaps is being seen the above table is that people are getting sicker by cause of the wca…
          imv a citizens unconditional basic income for all or @ least benefits payments to ESC COE recommendations to UK state…
          a vitality giving income keeps one free, self-esteem intact, and creativity abundant….
          http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/socialcharter/Conclusions/State/UKXX2_en.pdf
          labour nor the tories will help us and with £53bn of further austerity cuts to come we are in deep shit….austerity was and is always unness in any event..
          tony dean; your link is most welcomed info and book marked….
          the success, well failure, rate of the WP of less than 7% speaks volumes on it’s own but even louder when the 17% of people finding work under their own steam was the dwp norm…their ambitions are a valid as expecting a gold plate caddy to be produced from macrame….which in a roundabout way is what they get from the folding stuff, these people now rake in….

      • … or how about AWC (Assessment for Work Capability) …😀

  4. Pingback: Mid-January round-up: redundancies, repression and resistance | Cautiously pessimistic

  5. the quoting looks a bit selective but partly labours fault for not making themselves clear in the first place.

  6. Carlton L Newman

    Have you posted this on Twittersphere??? It needs to be known!!

  7. I’ve been asking both Kate Green and Rachel Reeves what Labour’s plans are for the WCA and PIP. We all know what they will do about ILF and that is absolutely nothing.

    Silence on the issue has been telling and when I read what Green said about the WCA it was finally confirmed for me. The reason why the Labour Party has not done an all out attack Ian Duncan Smith is that they will do exactly the same.

    They keep on trumpeting that they will scrap the Spare Room Penalty as if this in some way is supposed to make us flock to vote for them. Whereas in reality we all know, except it seems RTU IDS that it is a ridiculous policy that costs way more to administer that is perversely leaving larger homes empty and therefore is a no brainer to do anything other than scrap it.

    However for me this is the last straw, I’ve been umming and ahhing about who I would vote for come the GE, desperately not wanting the Tories back in power but as the day’s move on it really is getting harder and harder to put a cigarette paper between the two. Despite being a ‘natural’ Labour supporter hailing from a mining family the Labour party has become less and relevant to me and more and more repugnant. I didn’t vote for Labour in the European or Local Elections and won’t be voting for them this year. I had thought that I might be able to just about hold my nose and vote for them this time round. However unlike some I have principles that cannot be bought (scrapping the bedroom tax) it would take so much more than that for me to pinch my nose tight enough to vote for them.

  8. Sue Marsh will sort Maximus out no worries.

  9. Clear that the Labour party authored and support the corporate assault on the disabled and poor obviously that wilful assault is not political incompetence so what is the ideological root for that assault on the disabled and poor?

  10. POGROM
    1880-85; (< Yiddish) < Russian pogróm literally, destruction, devastation (of a town, country, etc., as in war), noun derivative of pogromít’, equivalent to po- perfective prefix + gromít’ to destroy, devastate, derivative of grom thunder

    yes people this is what we are witnessing in this country right here and now today, THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DISABLED
    they are turning us into slaves for the profit of corporations.

    we have no hope with ANY political party, Parliament is defunct.
    they (MP's) do not represent us the people they are corporate lackeys.
    the current parliament is not even legitimate with only 22% of the voting population voting for the Tories.

    we have an illegitimate government and an illegitimate prime minister.

    DON'T WAIST YOUR TIME VOTING

    INSTEAD GET OUT ON THE STREETS AND PROTEST

    PEACEFUL REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY ANSWER.

    I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE STOP PAYING BILLS SUCH AS COUNCIL TAX/ BEDROOM TAX/ TV LICENSE/ WATER BILLS/ GAS BILLS/ ELECTRICITY BILLS.

    IF WE ALL DID THIS ON MASS WE COULD BRING ABOUT CHANGE WITHIN WEEKS.

    • Not enough people would do it though and the few who did would get evicted and/or jailed. You are right about the political parties though-the ones that would help us are too small to gain any seats.

  11. “The contract to carry out the shoddy tick-box style assessments was handed to the little known French IT firm Atos Origin, a company who had previously sponsored events at the Labour Party conference.”

    There was also cosy meetings in backrooms with Unum, they were in attendance at all Tory and NuLabour conferences at that time, they, NOT Atos are the driving force behind UK welfare reform. Atos/Maximus are just bit players in all this.

  12. Thing is, no one seems to know exactly what ESA is meant for.
    Employment and support allowance.
    Wrag group/employment
    support group/support
    Is it an out of work benefit due to sickness, or is it a disability benefit.
    There are many disabled folk who are not sick, that are in the support group.
    However there are many very ill people who are disabled by their illness that are in the Wrag group.
    Have the goal posts been moved again.

    The whole thing is like falling down the rabbit hole, and going to the mad hatters tea party.

    Smiffy and Ms McVile have been a bit quite lately.
    Saying that I do have a good Anti Virus, so maybe they are being blocked from my PC.

  13. Should be remembered that many claimants having been forced out of claiming disability benefits are now claiming jsa – concealing their health condition because they do not wish to go through the draining rigmarole of claiming disability benefits and the need to comply with the being fit for work jsa conditionality.

    • Also 22%, (DWPs own figure) of those found “fit for work” at a WCA have disappeared, and are not on any other benefit or in work.
      That is a lot of people, and no-one has a clue what has happened to them or where they are.

      • Well, we know what’s happened to some of them. Even the DWP acknowledge what’s happened to 60 of them; the real figure is likely to be far higher.

        • My own calculation using data sets that are public domain is that those being found “fit for work” are dying at a rate of at least 14/1000/annum.
          The death rate for the general working age population is 2.9/1000/annum.
          So more or less five time the rate to be expected.
          If a GP had a death rate for people they signed fit for work as high as that the police would be all over them before you could say Shipman.

  14. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    It’s deeply saddening, though really not surprising, that Green has pledged to continue with the WCA. New Labour owed some of its electoral success to convincing the middle classes that it could effectively handle the economy. Indeed, more people in polls agreed that they trust Labour more than the Tories on this point. The negative side to all this was that Blair’s New Labour reflected precisely middle class fears, hatreds and prejudices towards the poor, the working class, and the disabled – people, whom the party was originally set up to help. Firms like ATOS, Maximus, Unum, Serco and A4E have wormed their way like parasites into the body politic, by sponsoring party conferences, sending staff to support pet MPs, and generally buying political influence. The time is long past since they should have been purged. They should never have been taken on in the first place.

  15. Spend billions of £s on the NHS and the government does not trust its own doctors to determine if a patient is fit for work.

  16. Disability is not a political issue. Human Rights & Equality Laws are not political. Politics always lets you down time & time again. When did scrapping disabled human rights & Equality Laws become a political policy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. I have to say that when I went through a WCA under Labour, it was not fun. I waited 11 months for my tribunal to appeal and the whole process weighed me down so much I was suicidal. It took years to regain that lost ground, by which time I had to go through another WCA under the tories. For people with long-term mental health conditions, the whole process is toxic as hell.

    • Amelia Gentleman does have an excellent record of documenting this stuff, almost single-handedly, despite being married to Jo Johnson (Boris’ little brother, and Downing St insider).

      • Also in today’s G2 section of the Grauniad, a fascinating article on a bi-monthly anarchist magazine called Strike (http://gu.com/p/45×26/stw). I’m ashamed to say, despite it being 8 or 9 editions old, I’d never heard of it. Not even via good ol’ Johnny on this site. Still, I’m gonna check out subscribing right away…

  18. OUCH! Those figures are shocking. Labour are awful.

  19. If Labour can’t help us, who to vote for and do our votes mean anything?

  20. Like all the rest of its beloved neoliberal biopsychosocial quackology, which it does so much to promote and support, Labour’s ESA regime is an iatrogenic unethical and unscientific medical human rights atrocity. It always was and always will be.

    Not only is the psuedo-scientific tests designed to disappear sick and disabled people from the welfare rolls, so is the Orwellian language adopted by the last Labour Government and its DWP too, which no longer mentions words such as sickness, disability or even unemployment. Awarding people dying cancer something called ‘Employment Support Allowance’ is a disgrace.

    That the British medical professional governing, regulatory and representative bodies (GMC,BMA, NMC, CQC) continue to turn a blind eye to patients being harmed by medical professionals because it is part of the government’s DWP policies is astonishing. Biopsychosocial medicine, which has no basis in fact or medical ethics, has killed tens of thousands of sick and disabled people in the past couple of decades since it became fashionable amongst neoliberals.

    Yet there is no way of reporting harms and deaths caused by biopsychosocial quackology when used by government medical contractors such as Atos and Maximus. Neither is a prospective Labour Government offering potential Maximus victims any kind of access to proper legal advice or legal protection in order to sue medical professionals for harming their health if they get it wrong at a WCA whose outcomes have been a death sentence for tens of thousands of sick and disabled people.

    If biopsychosocial WCA was homeopathy the Guardian-Unum-Goldacre-Bad Science lot would wailing and moaning on the threads of their beloved Unum-sponsored Guardia newspaper about how unscientific it was. As it is, homoeopathy, which is relatively benign but not has no science to it of any note behind it, harms no-one but is endlessly criticised by many in the British medical establishment who remain rigidly silent when it comes to government approved welfare medical policy that is killing and harming hundreds of thousands of patients and has done for decades.

    • overburdenddonkey

      joe
      what they do is to put unbearable pressure on people, the human wreckage of which is seen on a daily basis…
      ‘I was trained in the “Therapeutic Community” approach, in 1963, an optimistic, successful approach which present day psychiatry abandoned around 1980. Its equivalent was implemented at the Quaker Retreat in York 1796 to 1850, and yielded better results at curing psychosis than ever since, as did the Soteria movement – see sample below. In contrast the so-called ‘antipsychotics’ have consistently been shown to prolong psychosis, since the late 1950s [see ‘Mad in America’ by Robert Whitaker, Perseus, ISBN 0738203858 mad in america . com].’
      http://www.truthtrustconsent.com/public_html/psychiatry/talking-cure-for-psychosis

      • overburdenddonkey

        p s
        drugs/behaviourism blocks healing by blocking healing emotions, the symptoms of which are anxieties….once the symptoms of emotional pain anxiety is blocked no healing can take place, because the very emotions that have been blocked need to be vented…numbed gummed minds cannot heal…it’s a bit like ‘curing’ a wheelbearing noise with a more powerful music amp and ear muffs to silence the protesting noises…being seen and not heard is useless…

  21. Anybody who has read Kate Green’s utterly shit articles on Labourlist will already know what sort of a person careerist Green is. Along with Rachel Reeves (who promised to be tougher on welfare than the Tories) and Stephen Timms (who thinks that the Bedroom Tax is a good idea provided those affected have be offered somewhere else to go, even if they don’t want to go) Green is the third and quite possibly worst wheel on Labour’s DWP buggy of defects and rejects.

  22. Whachoo takinbout Willis, sorry, JV? Milibum never tried to blame claimants for the financial crisis, in fact, in the piece you linked to, he blames bankers “From bankers who caused the global financial crisis to some of those on benefits who were abusing the system because they could work – but didn’t.”

  23. Yup, the Labour Party is always obsessed with getting everyone into a job – Work for All and ‘Full Employment’ whatever the cost.

  24. Trouble is if People just Moan and Do Not Vote the Tories will get Back
    In and the Poor will be Exposed to Suffering

    Socialism Not Slavery

    • “HENCE, THE FACULTY OF OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE BACKING EVERY MOVE OF THE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY”

      MAXIMUS;
      “Currently, 40% of assessors are doctors, 40% are nurses and 20% are physiotherapists. Maximus will be reducing the proportion of doctors, and employing occupational therapists instead – which will be cheaper.” Says it all.

      ………………………..PROMOTING THEIR VERY EXISTENCE AT EACH AND EVERY TURN………………………

  25. The politicians also need to sort out Disability Hate Crime instead of giving it.

  26. Hate crime against disabled people in Cumbria has doubled

    North West Evening Mail – 12th Jan 2015

    REPORTS of hate crime against disabled people more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to figures in a Cumbria police report.

    Hate crime overall increased by 25 per cent in that period from 226 to 304 incidents.

    The biggest rise was recorded in disability hate crime, which rose from 23 to 48 incidents.

    Read More:
    http://www.nwemail.co.uk/home/hate-crime-against-disabled-people-in-cumbria-has-doubled-1.1185906

  27. The politicians are so racist. Do politicians have any morals !!!! No, just contradiction policies.

  28. DWP Disability Hate Crime is rife & is a policy of the DWP. The Disability Hate Crime Policy. People are still so ignorant about disability.

  29. A 10th Class Citizen in a 3rd world rich country the UK.

  30. HUMAN RIGHTS & EQUALITY FOR THE DISABLED

    [What has that got to do with the DWP] Quiet now DWP don`t get out your pram throwing toys like a WCA with Maximus. Disability was there thousands of years before the DWP.

  31. This is NuLabour…..

    • Nearly four out of 10 households with children, or 8.1 million people, live below an income level regarded by the public as the minimum needed to participate in society, according to new research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/19/british-families-poor-society-income-level-cost-of-living-benefit-cuts

      • The Government’s controversial Work Programme is almost completely useless at helping long-term sickness benefit claimants into work, official figures suggest.

        Official data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), released in response to a Freedom of Information Request (FOI), show that Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship back-to-work programme is dramatically failing long-term sick and disabled people.

        DWP figures show that of the 107,150 people referred to the Work Programme from the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between June 2011 to September 2014, with a future employment (or health improvement) prognosis of 12 months or more, only 5,120 achieved a job outcome lasting at least 6 months – equal to just 4.7%.

        The WRAG is for ESA claimants who Jobcentre Plus believe may be capable of moving off benefits and into work in the future, with the right support.

        Chances of finding work through the scheme is almost as bad for ESA claimants with a back-to-work prognosis of 3-6 months. DWP figures show that of the 112,700 referred to the programme, only 12,850 found a job (11.4%)

        http://www.welfareweekly.com/work-programme-waste-time-long-term-sickness-benefit-claimants/

  32. The Labour party are total lowlife scum. Now they don’t even put up any pretence that they’re not hurting the poorest in society. What a sad shower they truly are. Go SNP in GE. Bring the scum to their knees in Scotland. Red Tories out!!

  33. WHEELCHAIR users in the Capital are to be hit with a £20 charge for discounted taxi journeys – but the plans have been branded “discrimination”.

    They would be charged a membership fee to join the scheme in a move aimed at covering administration costs and generating £180,000 a year for the city.

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/fears-over-wheelchair-taxi-scheme-20-fee-1-3665567

    • “MURPHY THE WANKER”

      Labour snub Trident debate while backing austerity
      Mon, 19/01/2015 – 11:26

      The SNP is today criticising Labour’s boycott of Tuesday’s debate on Trident renewal – saying that the party is ‘hiding from debate’ as its MPs simply can’t defend spending £100bn on weapons of mass destruction while backing £30bn of more austerity cuts.

      The debate in the House of Commons – called by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party – offers an opportunity for MPs of all parties and from all parts of the UK to oppose spending £100bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons at a time of continued austerity.

      Labour’s refusal to take part in the debate on Trident comes less than one week after the party voted along with the Tories for a further £30bn of austerity cuts – and just days after it emerged that spending on Trident is set to spiral even further.

      Leader of Labour in Scotland, Jim Murphy, has always been a strong supporter of nuclear weapons – stating that Labour is “not a unilateralist party we’re not about to become one”

  34. MO STEWART

    PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:23 am Post subject: Reply with quote
    Mo asked us to post this –

    Good old Kate Green – still missing the point.
    More beurocracy.
    So, the claimant will have a piece of paper to offer future employers who
    see no reason to employ them with their limitations and health needs when
    there is a vast selection of non disabled people in a queue for the work that
    will offer low wages for a zero hour contract….
    No mention of the death and destruction caused by using a bogus assessment.
    Will this really help Labour to win at the next election??

    Mo

    Mo Stewart
    Disabled veteran (WRAF)
    Disability studies researcher
    Retired healthcare professional

  35. The 2015 election – a coalition of dictatorships.

  36. Pingback: The Sharp End | Gabriel Vents

  37. Geoff – You deserve a medal for tenacity – I think I would have given up.

  38. The mainstream political parties are not your friends , just a lot of careerists all peeing in the same pot , they are out of touch with real life at street level , out of touch BY CHOICE , they don’t give a damn so long as they can feather their own nests , we no longer have elected government in this country , we have an unelected government . As an ex member of the Labour party I will be voting for Class War , not for the parties who wage a class war against the workers , sick and disabled . Up to now the class war has been one sided it has been waged against us , people are dying , it’s time to fight back . If enough people vote Class War it will at least tell the powers that be , that their transparent little game has been seen through, who knows , we may even topple the whole house of cards.

  39. pussy cunterminge

    If I am forced into work by job centre staff (I’m on ESA WRAG) against my will and it causes me to get very ill, potentially life threatning (long story) can I sue somebody for allowing this to happen?
    Or do I have any “human rights” under EU law?

  40. Moaning about Labour whilst we had over 4 Years of the Tories and
    Liberal Democrats is out of Touch

    The Smaller Parties are Not coming to Power Not Least given the
    ” Don’t Vote ” Mentality and Some of UKIP’s Policies leave a Lot to
    be Desired.

    Socialism Not Slavery

    Welfare Not Warmongering

  41. It Makes my Blood Boil with Rage how People are more Concerned
    with Silly Trends and Designer Clothes Pahlava than Social Justice
    and Decent Government

    They are Scum They are Selfish They are Superficial

    Plastic Shop Mannequin Dummies

    We Need a Caring Social Justice Government

  42. The Greens do indeed have the Citizen Income in their 2015 election manifesto, but if all the commentators to this article contacted their local Greens candidate for the general election and demanded that the Greens’ manifestoi offered the Citizen Income:

    ‘implemented immediately’

    as it says for the Greens’ Full Citizen State Pension, irregardless of National Insurance history.

    Flat rate pension forecasts for those retiring 2016
    already only £55 per week
    or NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE
    find out why under my petition’s
    Why this is important section.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

  43. Pingback: Join the Day Of Action Against Maximus, March 2nd | Rantings From a Virtual Soapbox

  44. Do not worry friends. Wca will be scrapped. A new solution to welfare provision and more has been put forward. UKIP have pledged to use it. The new system saves the taxpayer £200Bn/yr off the welfare and pension budget, and more elsewhere, and provides claimant’s and pensioners with higher incomes, independant of the state, which are sustainable for beyond their lifetimes.. Meaning that tax receipts increase without raising taxes, and the incomes can be passed on from generation to generation. Everyone over 18 yrs qualifies automatically. signup is simple and takes just a few minutes. Payments are available daily. No jobsearch requirements. No complicated premiums and health assessments. This is what universal credit should have been. You don’t even have to be unemployed/sick/disabled/of pension age or even a british citizen to get it.

  45. Pingback: A Government That Permits The Psychological Torture Of Benefit Claimants Does Not Give A Fuck About Mental Health | the void

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  47. Reblogged this on Action Against Apathy and commented:
    Yet again the Labour Party shows its true colours.

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