Many people whose benefits have been stopped have serious health conditions, so of course more are dying, admits DWP

Yet again Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has blocked the publication of statistics showing how many people have died within six weeks of having their benefits stopped.

These figures were routinely published until 2012, when this government’s Welfare Reform Act  started to bite. Since then the DWP has steadfastly refused to publish new statistics, saying:  a.They were too expensive to gather and: b.That so many people requested the figures that the requests themselves were ‘vexatious’ and could therefore be ignored. Direct requests to the DWP from several MPs have had no more luck.

Now the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent authority set up to uphold public information rights, has agreed that there is no reason not to publish the figures. And yet again the DWP is trying to wriggle out.

What struck me most in this article from the Huffington Post was this warning from the DWP:

“The DWP  warned it was irresponsible to suggest a causal link between the death of an individual and their benefit claim, and that mortality rates among people with serious health conditions are likely to be higher than those among the general population.”

Well, The system of disability assessments was supposed to sort out who needs disability benefits. The DWP’s warning demonstrates that they don’t see people with serious health conditions who are more likely to die as being in need of benefits. And if they are being kicked off their benefits and then dying, that’s just fine as long as the Tories can dodge publishing the figures..

The DWP takes its orders from the Conservative government. And David Cameron and his ministers appear to be completely at ease with the idea of stripping seriously ill people of their benefits and them subsequently dying. If those people die, well, they were more likely to die anyway.

I read over and over again in comments here and elsewhere on the net of people who have been thrown off disability benefits as ‘fit to work’, but cannot then get unemployment benefits because the Job Centre deems them ‘Unfit to work’. I’m personally trying to help 2 people in this exact situation right now. As a result of losing their sickness benefits and having no income, both have been hit by a spiral of depression which made it impossible to appeal against the decision in the one month time slot allowed by the DWP.

More than 18,000 people have signed a Change.org petition in under a week after the DWP appealed a decision to release the sensitive figures

I can’t leave this topic without mentioning the tireless campaigning to get these figures published.over several years by John Pring of the Disability News Service . If the government is pushed into a corner it can’t wriggle out of and forced to release these figures, it will largely be thanks to John.

 

Argotina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criticising Government Policy Online Is “Unacceptable Intimidation” According To Treasury

the void

byteback-fb1As pointed out by @refuted, the Treasury’s claim that a recent anti-workfare social media storm was “unacceptable intimidation” comes just days after an Upper Tribunal judge endorsed this kind of criticism as “legitimate political expression”.

The comments came after news broke that Bristol IT company Byteback had pulled out of workfare a week after being visited by George Osborne to sing the praises of the scheme.  Hundreds of people had contacted Byteback on social media expressing dismay at their involvement in forced work after some fierce questioning from @andygale on twitter caused them to refer to their unpaid workers as ’employees of the state’.

Shortly after this bombardment, and in a huge embarrassment for Osborne, Byteback apologised for their involvement in his grubby scheme and promised “no more involvement ever with workfare”.

This prompted a tantrum from the Treasury who took to the national press to complain of…

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SLAVERY IN BRITAIN

Michelle Burns

This morning Keith Lindsay-Cameron wrote this letter to the Prime Minister

Image

 

The Claimant Commitment Contract

 

Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud have put slavery back on the statute books of Britain!

 

The new claimant commitment contract means that claimants sign away their sovereign rights to freedom of choice, life and liberty to a DWP slave master or overseer.

 

Claimants who refuse to sign the slavery certificate will be denied the means of survival. It is either complete obedience to the state or starve.

 

Policy Aims:

 

The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on ‘entitlement’ to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant’s meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

 

The terms which individual slaves must adhere to are defined…

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Tory’s Pressure on GPs to Find Patients Fit-For-Work

I always find it interesting when we see the private advice that this Government are giving to other organisations.

In this case,  what we are seeing is the Govt’s advice to GPs in respect of ‘fit notes’(Full PDF can be found at bottom of page).

The advice given to GPs is as follows:

  • Repeatedly reiterated that the fitness for work assessments that GPs carry out are NOT job specific.For example, if a delivery driver broke his leg, he would be found FIT TO WORK as another form of employment may not be impinged by his broken leg.
  • (QUOTE: Always consider if your patient could do work of some kind before advising that they are not fit for work.)

 

read the full article from aworkingclassman.com here: http://aworkingclassman.com/torys-pressure-gps-find-patients-fit-work/

ATOS Accused Of Misleading Government Over Claim Processing Speed

Same Difference

The outsourcing giant Atos, one of two firms tasked with rolling out a new benefit for sick and disabled people, has been accused by a committee of MPs of misleading the government over how quickly it could process claims that has led to the distress of thousands of claimants.

The chair of the public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, said the firm had submitted a tendering document to administer personal independence payments (PIP) which claimed there were agreements in place to work with hospitals and physiotherapy centres.

However, evidence obtained by the committee showed the document had “deliberately misled” the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), she said.

Hodge also accused the DWP of turning a blind eye to discrepancies in Atos’ submission as civil servants rushed to find a way of implementing one of Iain Duncan Smith‘s new benefits. The DWP permanent secretary, Robert Devereux, denied they had…

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Government accused of deliberate attempt to cover up fraudulent, incompetent and embarrassing outsourcing contracts

The Government is today condemned by MPs of all parties for hiding behind a “veil of secrecy” over the award of contracts worth nearly £100 billion a year to huge private companies.

 

Problems are particularly acute at the Department for Work and Pensions, which is on the “verge of meltdown” over the privately-run operation of welfare reforms and employment programmes, they say.

In a scathing verdict on the Coalition’s drive to contract out public services, the Commons public accounts committee (PAC) accused ministers of trying to cover up mistakes by refusing to divulge details of contracts. It said the Government was failing to get best value for money and lacked the expertise to ensure “privately-owned public monopolies” provided quality services.

The committee’s chair, Margaret Hodge, said: “If it’s not sorted out it will become the biggest ad for renationalising public services.” Protesting that contracts were too often “shrouded in a veil of secrecy”, she claimed: “We are in danger of creating a shadow state that is neither transparent nor accountable to Parliament or the public.”

Its conclusion follows a series of scandals involving corporate giants, including the disclosure that G4S and Serco charged the Ministry of Justice for years to fit electronic tags to non-existent offenders and the spectacular failure by G4S to supply enough security guards to the 2012 London Olympics.

The committee demanded that contracts with private companies are put into the public arena. It said four major firms it quizzed – Atos, Capita, G4S and Serco –were prepared to agree to the move, adding that it appears that “the main barriers to greater transparency lie within Government itself”.

Mrs Hodge said: “An absence of real competition has led to the evolution of privately-owned public monopolies which have become too big to fail. Some public service markets such as for private prisons, asylum accommodation or disability benefit assessments, are now controlled by just one or two major contractors.”

She tore into the Department of Work and Pensions over the involvement of private companies in the Work Programme, which aims to aims to find jobs for the unemployed, and in the administration of the Personal Independence Payments for the disabled and in the new Universal Credit scheme.

“If it doesn’t get its act together, it’s in danger of meltdown in relation to too much of its business,” the former minister said. “The reluctance to be transparent is in part a reluctance to be honest about a failure to deliver services. They hide behind commercial confidentiality.”

read the rest of this article by Nigel Morris in the Independent, 13th March 2014, here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-accused-of-deliberate-attempt-to-cover-up-fraudulent-incompetent-and-embarrassing-outsourcing-contracts-9190788.html

Don’t Blame Us For The Suffering We Cause Say Atos, We’re Just Making Money

the void

atos-bannerPoverty profiteers Atos have published a whining blogpost asking for people to blame the Government, not them, for the shambolic and cruel assessments for sickness and disability benefits.

The statement comes in advance of a day of action tomorrow which will see protests outside Atos assessment centres throughout the UK.  The company, who have made hundreds of millions out of welfare reform, yet still pay no fucking tax, have pleaded:  “Atos Healthcare has no control over welfare policy, the design of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), or the specific eligibility criteria for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).”

Not for the first time, the excuse I was only following orders has been replaced with but I was only trying to make money.  It is  truly a sign of the times that a company like Atos would even dare attempt this as a justification for their vile activities.  There was…

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