McDonnell calls for disabled-led solution to care crisis, as DPAC occupies parliament

Labour’s shadow chancellor has called for disabled people themselves to be given the job of designing the solution to the social care funding crisis.

John McDonnell was speaking to Disability News Service (DNS) as activists from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were protesting about cuts to social care, in parliament’s central lobby yesterday (Wednesday).

read more here:


End of Bedroom Tax? Lib Dems to join Labour in vote on partial exemption today

Nick Clegg has ordered his MPs to back a private members’ bill which excludes the disabled and families who are not found smaller homes

The end of the hated Bedroom Tax will come a step closer when Liberal Democrats join forces with Labour in a Commons vote today.

Nick Clegg has ordered his MPs to back a private members’ bill which excludes the disabled and families who are not found smaller homes.

The Deputy PM’s decision pitches him against David Cameron who still backs the cruel policy penalising hundreds of thousands of families.

Shadow Work Secretary Rachel Reeves has already said that Labour will support the Private Members Bill from Lib Dem backbencher Andrew George.

And a source close to Mr Clegg said that other Lib Dems would “definitely” be voting for it.

“It is an excellent articulation of our policy which will help build a stronger economy in a fairer society,” the source said.

“The Liberal Democrats believe people already in the social rented sector should only see a reduction in their benefit if they turn down suitable smaller homes.


read the rest of this article from the Mirror here:

“The Bill would also exempt disabled people who need a spare bedroom or who have adapted homes.

“That is a workable policy to help tackle the chronic shortage in social housing in Britain, which is why we are calling on MPs from all parties to support the Bill.”

‘Mandatory reconsideration’ – more money-saving by sending the sick to their deaths

Vox Political

National disgrace: The green benches were almost empty during yesterday's debate on the DWP's new 'mandatory reconsideration' regime - and the potential number of deaths it is causing. National disgrace: The green benches were almost empty during yesterday’s debate on the DWP’s new ‘mandatory reconsideration’ regime – and the potential number of deaths it is causing.

It is hard to know where to start. Perhaps with DWP minister Mike Penning’s failure to answer the questions raised in yesterday’s adjournment debate on the ESA ‘mandatory reconsideration’ process, despite having prior notice of Sheila Gilmore’s entire presentation? Perhaps with the DWP’s failure to release accurate statistics, which is especially appalling as press officer Richard Caseby attacked a newspaper for inaccuracies very recently? Perhaps with the DWP’s continuing denial of the deaths caused by its increasingly-bizarre and unreasonable attempts to save money?

(Apparently they’re “anecdotal” so they don’t count. Does everybody recall when Iain Duncan Smith used similarly anecdotal evidence to support his claim that his benefit cap was “supporting” people into work, last year?)

The debate was brought to…

View original post 1,273 more words

Why are doctors involved in such a farce?

The parliamentary Committee on Work and Pensions’ is in an ongoing enquiry into ESA and the Work Capability Assessment.

I’ve been reading some of the submissions that have been published on the website, and I will be putting some extracts here. You can read  all the submissions by following the link at the bottom of this To read all the submissions for this that have been published on the Parliament website, follow the link at the bottom of this post. – Argotina


“The fact is that the overall system is a failure by design.  Two GPs in a 2011 survey by Manchester Alliance for Community Care described the WCA system as unfit for purpose.  They said, ‘This is a completely inefficient system which prevents any meaningful discussion about returning to work’, and, ‘My overall impression from the effect on my patients and their reports of assessments is that the current process is definitely designed less to help or support patients to return to gainful employment and more to take as many as possible off benefits, regardless of their health.’  Dr Louise Irvine, a London GP, claimed the WCA process “was causing distress to thousands of people with long-term health conditions deemed fit to work, as well as subjecting the doctors (working for Atos) to ‘McDonaldization’ of their careers”. Dr Margaret McCartney, a Glasgow GP, stated that “the tests – peak flow, limb movements, pushing a box around, pressing a button – are clearly unable to distinguish someone who can work from someone who can’t… The box ticking to achieve enough points to be granted ESA is ludicrous. The assessment bears no resemblance to real life. Why are doctors involved in such a farce?

This is from the WCA Action Group, “an alliance of organisations and individuals in the North of England which uphold the rights and dignity of disabled adults and people with mental health problems and opposes their discrimination and harassment.  Member organisations include Europia, Manchester Alliance for Community Care, Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Breakthrough UK Ltd. Greater Manchester Welfare Rights Advice Group, and Access to Advice”

read the full submission here:


The annual benefits cap – Diane Abbot’s speech to Parliament.

Any member of the public watching this debate this afternoon and listening to people jeer, laugh, smirk and joke might imagine that some Members of this House were playing a game. Well, I am rising to say to the House that this is not a game; this is about people’s lives.
Whether they be elderly people who are dependent on some of the age-related benefits that will fall under the cap, the disabled or people in low-paid work who depend on the system of tax credits, this is not a game; this is people’s lives. If it is really the position of Government Members that poor people should be made to live on even less, they should at least have the grace to be dignified about it, and not turn it into a game.
I put it to Government Members and to those on my own Front Bench that social security and people’s lives should not be made a matter of short-term political positioning.
Everyone in the House wants to bring down welfare spending, because welfare spending is the price of Government and social failure. The Chancellor talked as if he were some brave warrior wreaking vengeance on an army of “Benefits Street” layabouts. The reality for British people is very different.
Just this week, we saw 1,500 people queuing for three hours for a low-paid job at Aldi. The picture Government Members like to paint of the British people and what is happening in the benefit system is false, misleading and derogatory, yet it is feeding through to public attitudes.
The public thinks that 41% of the benefits bill goes to the unemployed. In fact, it is only 3% of the benefits bill. The public thinks that 27% of benefits are claimed fraudulently. In fact, only 0.7% is so claimed. The truth is that 80% of the people who claim jobseekers allowance—those so-called “Benefits Street” layabouts—only claim it for less than a year.
There is no credit to MPs if they constantly talk in a derogatory way about people who claim benefits when, at any given point in our lives, we may be dependent on social security—be it child benefit, benefits for the elderly or in-work benefits.
This benefits cap is arbitrary and bears no relationship to need, as our benefits system should. It does not allow for changing circumstances—rents going up and population rising—and will make inequality harder to tackle.
There are ways to cut welfare. We could put people back to work, introduce a national living wage, build affordable homes and have our compulsory jobs guarantee. An arbitrary cap is the wrong way in which to go and sends out the wrong message.
The Chancellor does not say many things that I think are correct, but he is correct to say that voting for this cap locks us into the coalition’s cuts. I say to the House that the issue of social security should not be about political positioning.
As the months turn into years, people will be coming to our advice surgeries wanting explanations for totally arbitrary and counter-productive cuts. Will we say that it was a game we were playing with the Chancellor one afternoon in March?
Our welfare system should be based on the facts and on need. Whatever short-term political advantage people think is gained by voting for this cap, it is far outweighed by what is problematic, so, no, I will not be voting for this cap in the Lobby tonight.