Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Disability campaigners expose sham/cover-up of coalition consultation on benefit reforms

Posted on 9 January 2012 | 10:01am

Today’s blog is given over to a press release from a group of disabled disability campaigners who have exposed the sham that is the coalition government’s public consultation on Disability Living Allowance. It is long, but worth reading. It reveals inter alia, as Boris Johnson might say, the scale of the London Mayor’s opposition to the plans.

Even taking into account the positioning game Boris is playing in advance of the Mayoral elections, his is a significant voice, and the opposition is clear.

The coalition like to pretend they have popular support for a lot of the changes they are making – changes they say are needed because of straitened economic times, but some of which are things they have always wanted to do but for which they have never had the mandate or political support.

That is why this exposing of their effective cover-up of the true outcome of their consultation is important. So all power to Sue Marsh and her team. Sue has a piece on this in The Guardian today, and can regularly be found rattling the government cage with her Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. She has shown what a determined campaigner can do, and though the government will not be moved easily, they might yet be moved if enough people get behind the campaign. So Good Luck.

Social media has played its part in the research, and can play a part in generating extra pressure on policymakers now. If any of you feel moved to tweet about the issue today, do so with the message and hashtag ‘I support the #spartacusreport’. One of the campaign’s mantras is ‘Alone we whisper, together we shout.’ A brilliant slogan for any meaningful campaign for change. Here is the press release in full.

Revealed: New Report shows overwhelming opposition to coalition’s disability benefit reforms kept hidden by the government

Conservative Mayor of London heavily critical of government’s plans for Disability Living Allowance

Report was entirely researched, written, funded and supported by disabled people.

A report published today (9 January) finds that Government misled MPs and Peers over the hostility to disability benefit reform. It finds that Parliament has been given only a partial view of the overwhelming opposition to the Coalition’s planned reforms of a key disability benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). It finds that this opposition was previously not released to public scrutiny by the Government.

It is based on the responses to the government’s own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. Findings included:

  • 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from 3 months to 6 months
  • 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits
  • 92% opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people

In all three cases, as well as many others, London’s Conservative Mayor, Boris Johnson also objected to the proposed changes. He said in his response: “The Mayor would call for the Government to retain the three-month qualifying period as the increase to six months will mean that people with fluctuating conditions have increased difficulty meeting the qualifying period. People with fluctuating conditions face the same barriers that all disabled face in relation to higher costs of living and DLA is essential to maintain a decent quality of life.”

“We would recommend that the passporting system remains the same as under DLA as it has worked well when signposting people to additional benefits to which they may be entitled.”

“The Mayor does not support this change, as those on the lower rate care component may have additional costs as a result of their impairment but may lose their access to this benefit as part of the proposed removal under the reforms.”

The Mayor also objected to the government’s strategy for clamping down on disability benefit fraud, arguing:  “The government proposes imposing penalties if disabled people do not inform the government in changes in their circumstances. However, the Department of Work and Pensions statistics give the overall fraud rate for Disability Living Allowance as being less than 0.5%. For those with fluctuating conditions asking them to report every change to their condition would prove very stressful.”

The Mayor’s views were representative of the overwhelming majority of responses to the Government’s consultation.

The new report, Responsible Reform, suggests that the government’s DLA consultation breached the government’s own code of practice and was “highly misleading”.

Researchers have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain more than 500 responses to the consultation that were submitted by disabled people’s organisations, disability charities and other groups – including the response submitted by Boris Johnson – and have carried out the first detailed, independent analysis of those responses.

The analysis showed overwhelming opposition to replacing DLA with a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The government also plans to cut spending on DLA/PIP by 20%.

The new report has been researched, written and funded by sick and disabled people, thousands of whom contributed to the research through their use of social media.

Its authors now hope to use the report to persuade members of the House of Lords to back an adjournment debate calling for a pause of at least 6 months. In that time, plans for PIP should be reconsidered with the views of disabled people properly taken into account.

The report has already been backed by organisations and disability experts including Disability Alliance, Mind, Papworth Trust, Scope, Bert Massie CBE & Ekklesia

Disability Alliance  –  “The Government’s mis-portrayal of the DLA consultation response is truly shocking and could represent a betrayal of the process of consultation and engagement with disabled people. The Government has refused to provide a justification for a 20% cut in DLA expenditure and we fear that the same faulty rationale, misunderstanding of disability and higher costs of living and poor judgement exposed in this report sadly underpin the basis of the entire reform plans.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Mind, said: “The ‘Responsible Reform’ report is essential reading for everyone with an interest in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform including the Government and Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee. It is a vital contribution to the debate on reform and a huge achievement for the volunteers who have produced it.”

“As well as forensically deconstructing many of the arguments offered by the Government for their proposed reform, the report shows that much of the rise in claimants over recent years has been down to better access to the benefit for people with mental health problems, whose needs are often fluctuating and invisible.

“Rather than getting out of control as the Government claims, DLA has been increasingly going to people who really need it. The proposed 20 per cent cut to the budget will have an enormous impact on many people with illnesses and disabilities, and we remain very concerned about the unintended consequences this could lead to.”

Papworth Trust supports this report’s concerns that the decision to reduce DLA by 20% may have been based on incomplete or misleading data about the reasons for growth in DLA. Our recent survey found that almost 9 out of 10 people would have to cut back on essentials such as food or being able to get out and about if their DLA payments were reduced or stopped under PIP. We believe that the proposed 20% cut will push more disabled people into poverty.

Given that this report was entirely researched, written, funded and supported by the people that these changes will affect, we believe that the questions it raises should be answered by the Government.

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of disability charity Scope said:  “This report once again reveals the very real concerns disabled people have about the government’s reform of Disability Living Allowance. We know that this benefit is a lifeline for millions of people and families. It gives them the opportunity to meet the extra living costs they incur as a result of living with a condition or impairment and we know that people are genuinely worried about the impact these reforms will have on their quality of life.

“We urge the government to listen and act on these concerns and to ensure its replacement takes into consideration all the barriers disabled people face in everyday life so they can live independently and play an active role in their local community.”

Sir Bert Massie CBE said: “The Government’s proposed changes to the system of financial support for disabled people, from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment, has caused anxiety to many disabled people. I have always found the explanations offered by the Government to be unconvincing and I therefore welcome this report which analyses the evidence on which the decisions were based.  It shows that rather than being broadly welcomed by disabled people and disability organisations the new proposals were subject to widespread criticism and alarm. I hope this report will result in the Government reviewing its proposals so they enhance rather than damage the lives of disabled people.

Simon Barrow, Co-Director of the beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia, said :  “This is an excellent piece of research. There remains a gaping chasm between the government’s rhetoric about maintaining support for disabled people and the actual evidence about the impact of the changes and cuts it is imposing. The voices of those at the sharp end are not being listened to in a way that shapes policy. The concepts of justice dignity and social solidarity are being eroded and replaced with a piecemeal approach to provision which sees care as essentially voluntary.”

Sue Marsh, the disabled blogger and activist who led the research, alongside Dr Sarah J Campbell, said:  “For some years now, poorly designed Social Security reforms have created a “trust deficit” among disabled people towards government. We believe that reform must be measured, responsible and transparent, based on available evidence and designed with disabled people at the very heart of decision-making. Currently, we do not believe this to be the case.

“While disabled people welcome reform of DLA where it will simplify the system and better support their needs, they do not want a new benefit. They believe it is a costly irrelevance during a time of austerity.

“We urge members of the House of Lords – across party political boundaries – to take note of this research and the strength of opposition to the proposals. It is not too late for them to halt these deeply damaging reforms.”

Another contributor to the report, Kaliya Franklin, said : “Cutting spending on DLA will increase the burden on local authorities, the NHS and community services at the very time they are seeking to find savings by reducing eligibility, particularly for social care support.

“Sick and disabled people have voluntarily combined our skills, experience and talent to produce this report, demonstrating that if we are able to work in the way our conditions demand we can participate in the world of employment, but only if it is willing to receive us on our terms, with more flexible ways of working and participating.”

Among the report’s conclusions:

  • Only 7% of organisations that took part in the consultation were fully in support of plans to replace DLA with PIP
  • There was overwhelming opposition in the consultation responses to nearly all of the government’s proposals for DLA reform
  • The government has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants
  • The report shows that nearly all of the recent increase in working-age claimants of DLA has been associated with mental health conditions and learning difficulties. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of working-age DLA claimants – excluding those with mental health conditions and learning difficulties remained remarkably stable
  • 98% of those who responded opposed plans to change the qualifying period for PIP from three months (as it is with DLA) to six months
  • 90% opposed plans for a new assessment, which disabled people fear will be far too similar to the much-criticised work capability assessment used to test eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Respondents to the consultation repeatedly warned that the government’s plans could breach the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Contact details:

Sue Marsh, email: suey2yblog@hotmail.co.uk ; mobile: 07851 547217

Kaliya Franklin, contributor and co-ordinator : 0151 345 1495

PAs :    07896 562110

07972 611782

Notes to editors:

  • The government’s response to the consultation on its DLA reforms was published in April 2011
  • Discussion of the Welfare Reform Bill is due to resume at its report stage on 11 January in the House of Lords
  • The report was written by Sue Marsh, the author of the blog Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, and Dr Sarah J Campbell
  • Employment and Support Allowance is the replacement for Incapacity Benefit, introduced by the Labour government in 2008
  • The research suggests that, although the number of people with mental health conditions claiming DLA has risen continuously over the last 15 years, only one in 100 working-age adults is claiming DLA in association with a mental health condition. This is far lower than estimates of the population prevalence of more severe mental health conditions. This is a global phenomenon and unlikely to be related to the design of the UK benefit system.
  • The research also suggests that the rise in the number of people with learning difficulties claiming DLA is likely to be due to earlier diagnosis of certain conditions
  • Boris Johnson’s full response to the consultation can be found here: http://www.leftfootforward.org/images/2012/01/Mayoral-Submission.pdf
  • Ehtch

    Anyone getting sick and tired of this Cameron/Boris or Cameron/Clegg good cop/bad cop juvenile political PR tactics yet? There is something to be said of coming out with stuff to fill the papers and tv screens with, but the way they approach and put out things seem so imbecilic. (by the way, apologies to juveniles and imbeciles everywhere if I caused offence, I can’t help it!)

    A Tory government is a Tory government, even if it is a watered down Coalition one with the spineless and shackled by Clegg LibDems, the Torys will stuff about 75% of our population as per usual, one way or the other. As Kinnock I think said, don’t be old, don’t be young, don’t be sick and don’t be disabled with this lot about. Think it was Kinnock, but whoever it was, it was total sense to me.

  • Jacquie R

    Just a word from the Twittersphere in praise of Sue Marsh. She is a formidable and relentless campaigner, bright and sparkly, warm and witty, and an inspiration to all of us who battle on with our various causes.

  • Ehtch

    further to my previous comment;

    Yes it was Neil Kinnock, but what I posted was words to the effect – literal licence and all that by myself. Here is a vid of the Neil Kinnock famous lines in a speech from ’87 pre-GE it looks,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QPhMVbleU0

  • Chris lancashire

    And the last Labour Government did what on reforming social policy in its 13 years? Precisely zero.
    Good old Mr Campbell, let’s keep doling out public money without any constraint despite the huge defecit Labour left.

    • Ehtch

      …and here comes the light infantry of foot and mouth…

      National minimum wage, Chris, for starters? And at no cost to the Treasury coffers?

  • Jennie Kermode

    Preserving DLA is not about wasting public money On the contrary, it is about saving it. It is only the existence of DLA that enables many disabled people to work – and pay taxes, and contribute their particular skills and abilities to the workplace. It also enables disabled people to fulfil social roles with a positive economic impact, such as providing childcare for relatives so that they can work.

    This government has set itself the commendable aim of removing the poverty traps that discourage people from entering employment. Removing DLA is entirely at odds with this aim.

  • Erikzoha

    Agree with Jacquie R re Sue Marsh

  • I’d like to add my voice to those praising Sue Marsh. She really has worked tirelessly on this and it is a joy to see that she finally appears to be getting somewhere.
    On the other hand, how sad it is to see the DWP clinging to this: “Disability Living Allowance is an outdated benefit which fails to target support at those who need it most.” The report makes it clear that DLA is actually effective, targets the right people, and has a spectacularly low fraud rate. When will they learn that we can all read the facts for ourselves now?
    As a person who is also affected by this issue, I’ve blogged about it and would appreciate it if readers of this site came along and had a look. Constructive comments will be welcomed: Battling the government’s benefits lies – with Boris!http://wp.me/p262ZD-1l

  • Janiete

    It’s not at all surprising the Government buried objections to their disability ‘reforms’. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the nasty party’s true character than their attitude to vulnerable people.

    There is nothing wrong with the principles embodied within the existing DLA benefit. If there is abuse, then the rules should be applied more stringently. There is certainly no case to sweep away the whole system and replace it with an alternative costing 20% less.  Unless of course the real objective is to drastically reduce the number of people who can access disability support.

    Nothing has changed. Tories are nasty, selfish, greedy people. Always were and always will be. 

  • Anonymous

    Did you actually look at the information the disability campaigners produced? Or did you just decide to throw partisan rocks?

    It’s quite interesting

  • Libdem

    I think he might also have said ‘heh, why not become a millionaire on the backs of the taxpayers?’. I sympathise with your sentiment but not with your choice of  ‘statesman’ if he can be called that.

  • Thanks Sue – as someone with MS (a fluctuating condition) this is so relevant and I do get DLA but work as much as a can. Lets hope we can force another U-turn from this Condem Government – never was a party more aptly titled.

  • Arecbalrin

    Hi there, I’m one of the report’s authors. New Labour were harsher on benefit claimants than any other administration that came before them since 1948.

    You say ‘precisely zero’, I say they failed to cancel the Benefit Integrity Project, initiated the Period Benefit Review, stifled the growth of Incapacity Benefit for 11 years(it rose slightly, peaked in 2005 and then dropped- over the entire span it didn’t rise at all and when demographics are factored in had actually fallen), separated the over-65s from other Income Support claimants by introducing Pension Credit, pushed Income Support claims down and did so fastest among Lone Parents, introduced the Employment Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment, increased the remit and number of benefit fraud investigators, tightened the conditionality on ‘lifetime’ awards for Disability Living Allowance and brought in Atos to administer the assessments for it, removed the unemployed from Income Support by introducing Jobseekers Allowance, brought in the New Deal work programmes (of which the current government’s Work Programme work programme is a carbon copy) and the embryonic workfare policies, reduced the long-term jobseeking claimant count from over 50,000 to 4,000 and briefed the newspapers against us just as the current government do.

    Some of these were good ideas, most of them were bad. All of them happened and no government before had done so much. It should never be repeated, let alone surpassed as the current government are trying to do.

    Mason Dixon, Autistic.

  • Reaguns

    Minimum wage increases unemployment. That doesnt mean it doesn’t have advantages or that we shouldn’t do it but people shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it as if it is 100% beneficial – it isn’t. You either have less jobs and minimum wage, or more jobs and poorer wages. The seesaw cannot rise at both ends.
    I lost my job due to minimum wage by the way.

  • Reaguns

    Well done to Alastair Campbell and to Boris Johnson for opposing this.
    These two should join forces and run for office – I’d vote for them.

  • And another hypocrite pretends to be bothered about something they helped instigate! Well done Alistair, rank hypocrisy raises it’s head yet again

  • Gilliebc

    ‘I lost my job due to the minimum wage…..’
    Sorry to hear that Reaguns, but I think it must have made you somewhat biased against having a minimum wage.  Which is a little understandable given your experience. 

    But the minimum wage was and is a good thing imho.  If any prospective employers cannot or will not pay an employee a modest basic wage, which is all the minimum wage is, then they are not fit to employ people.

    If the minimum wage means fewer jobs, which I rather doubt tbh, surely that’s better than having more people slaving away on a pittance?

  • Michele

    I’m having a job wondering wth messages this ‘govt’ think they are giving out.

    Happiness surveys ….. alongside targeting the most vulnerable people?

    Of course scroungeing should be stopped but it has to be done in a realistic thought-through way, not this horrendous ‘let’s pretend we don’t realise we are scaring everyone’ manner.

    When a private sector company is asked to assess whether a person is fit for work the question means ANY work, regardless of whether a job for matching those ANY parameters is available or not.  There but for.

  • Michele

    No apostrophe was needed in your ‘its’.

    Excuse the pedantry, I just wanted to feel as pernicious and pointless as as I hope you did/do.

  • Michele

    I’d prefer that New Labour could feel better towards Ken.

    Boris cannot be trusted, several years have been wasted ‘under’ his reign.

  • ZintinW4

    People are forgetting that the mobility component of DLA is of enormous benefit to both the car industry (motability leases) and the rail industry (Disabled Persons Railcard). The evidence suggests that the Govt does not understand the scope or nature of the problem it is addressing. This combination is deadly – ideological commitment plus incompetence.

  • Chris lancashire

    Brilliant demonstration of frenetic government activity with no result. Actually, I’m wrong, there was one result. Incapacity Benefit claimants increased from 700,000 in 1979 to 2.6million in 2011.

    Either government is doing an awful job on the health system or on social security.

  • Reaguns

    Gillie you make a good point which I’ll come to at the end.

    I’d say though its not just my experience which makes me say that, after all my experience is anecdotal. I experienced one of the downsides of minimum wage, ie lost that job when they moved the factory to eastern europe.

    But I’ve since studied a lot of economics and its pretty widely accepted that minimum wage causes unemployment.

    It stops many low skilled / experienced workers getting experience and developing skills.

    It eliminates certain jobs altogether like petrol pump attendants – in the US, traditionally kids did petrol pump attendant but helped the mechanics in between times. They don’t get that experience now.

    For a small business if the most they can afford on wages is say £12 per hour, then they can either pay 3 people £4 per hour or 2 people £6 per hour, they cannot pay 3 people £6.

    I do think however there may be larger businesses who pay low wages because they can, not because they have to. These are the guys minimum wage law was really supposed to target. Its hard to think of an example though that couldn’t just move offshore. Maybe the large supermarkets?

    That said:You may be right, that its better to have minimum wage where poor paid jobs are eliminated, where people either have decently paid jobs or receive benefits. Then no one would have to slave for a low wage. I just wish politicians wouldn’t pretend that we can have it both ways.

    I often wonder did Tony Blair know all this stuff and do it anyway for political gain, did he not know, or did he simply disagree on the economics. Things like these are why I’ve never fully made up my mind on blair.

  • Ehtch

    …and not many people are making the link between the getting rid of the educational maintenance allowance (EMA) to last summer’s riots, are they? Some of those young people went from EMA to Feltham YOI within a year. A very sad State to become in such a short while, Chris – from college to clink in a blink of an eye.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feltham_Young_Offenders%27_Institution

  • Michele

    Care to show the detail about ’79 to ’97 or was avoiding something so obvious down to the other obvious ?

  • Michele

    There are many many reasons why comparing the UK with the US is pointless. 

    Compare living standards pre-min wage with post-; compare the esprit de corps that has always been  palpable in the staff of  companies like JLP/Waitrose with those at Poundland (I read a few days ago that its  new starters have to work without pay for the first fortnight – while still receiving benefits!).

    The fact that an ex-employer moved your work overseas does not support any theories except that they were exploiters and possibly lying.

  • Michele

    Yet more of your economics nouse?

  • Chris lancashire

    I think both you and Gilliebc make fair points. The minimum wage is a good thing but the level it is set at is crucial. Introduced at £3.60 my company’s lowest grade was miles above it. Years later after successive above-inflation increases and now £6.08, it begins to approach our lowest grade.
    Two points that may not be immediately obvious: Firstly, a national minimum wage is ridiculous – the cost of living in the South East is way more than, say, the North West.
    Secondly, the knock-on effect of raising the minimum wage grade in a company inevitably means that better paid grades demand differentials are maintained – pushing up the whole wage bill.

    The result? Employers seek to reduce employment levels through efficiency (good) or resourcing overseas (bad?).

  • Chris lancashire

    So we should bribe the rioters with EMA not to riot?

  • Libdem

    Happy New Year to you too.

  • Ehtch

    Give me strength! Some people can’t see sense. You know EMA’s ended last July, just before the riots, do you? So there is a portion of your pissed off youths for you right there. It’s human nature friend.

  • Ehtch

    And there’s me thinking that differentials are going more out of whack. And what I have heard with national minimum wage is that productivity of the lowest paid has alledgedly sky-rocketed since it was introduced. But I suppose you will always get people blind to these things, or choose to act as one of the brass monkeys.

  • Reaguns

    Michele I stated in my last post that my experience was anecdotal, I agree this alone does not support a theory.

    Economic debates don’t seem well received on this site, but the economic case can be stated with evidence or I can point you to the sites of economists who do so. “Minimum wage causes unemployment” is a proven concept not a theory.

    The £12 example is one negative effect that noone with rudimentary economics denies. There may be other positive effects, but at present minimum wage gets discussed as if its 100% positive, its not.

    Your point about Waitrose vs Poundland is one I can fully endorse. I am not sure it supports your argument or mine though!

    As for US/UK, I don’t agree that comparing two countries, especially two divers countries, is ever pointless, in fact I think it has been one of the fundamental tools for global progress. It is a major reason Europe became prosperous, and a reason why now we are going towards homogeneity and decline.

    Finally, just because minimum wage creates unemployment does not mean I can’t support it. The dole creates unemployment, but I support it.

  • Reaguns

    Yes agree with your point re national minimum wage versus regional factors.

    Personally I think different regions like Scotland, North East, Northern Ireland should have different currencies if we want to help solve unemployment in those regions! They certainly need some way of competing on cost, or they will be strangled the same way greece is strangled.

    What I think is truly ridiculous is mandating a national minimum wage and then taxing it! People on minimum wage should not pay income tax. If the government think a person deserves at least X amount for a job, fair enough, but don’t make it X plus tax! They should consider the saved dole as the tax.

  • Michele

    Oh my goodness …

    http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/bulletin/winter10/gregg.pdf

    Perhaps you should have waited for a blog about single parents?

  • Reaguns

    I think Boris has done a better job than Ken. But to some people, one issue overrules all others, for example Tony Blair and the Iraq war. For me in London its crime, they are both too soft on it but I’ll always vote for the the candidate who is toughest on it. And Boris was useless in the riots.

    Why do you dislike Boris or feel he can’t be trusted?

  • Arecbalrin

    I’m not sure you read it fully. Many of the things were results of activities, not activities themselves. It is inaccurate to say Incapacity Benefit rose from 700,000 in 1979 to 2.6 million in 2001. First because Incapacity Benefit was only introduced in 1995. Second because Incapacity Benefit did not rise over the course of its existence, rising by a mere 200,000 in ten years and then it peaked and began dropping in 2005. When demographics are taken into account it actually dropped over the entire course of its existence.

    Incapacity Benefit replaced Invalidity Benefit which compromised two actual benefits: the Invalidity Allowance and Invalidity Pension. The first Harrington Report has a growth showing the claimant count to be 1,250,000 in 1979, not 700,000. It could be that the 700,000 figure is for Invalidity Allowance only though I’d like your source. In the Harrington graph the rise in the 80s is masked because responsibility for short-term sickness support was passed to employers. It is widely believed that the government used IVB to mask unemployment and initially that may have been the case but the qualifying criteria was changed many times with little effect on employment figures. The artificial flat-lining of IVB didn’t last as demographic factors, namely population growth, started catching up. It was right at the end of ten years since 1979 that IVB claims rose by 250,000 to 1,500,000.

    People like to assume it was a steady but unrelenting rise over 30 years, compounded by three governments trying to fiddle unemployment figures. The truth is that almost all of the rise happened between 1990 and 1997 where it suddenly stopped and resumed it’s 80s pattern. There are just two coinciding factors that explain it: first is the money-saving closure of ancient creaking asylums and mental hospitals and the other is the replacement of Mobility Allowance and working-age Attendance Allowance with DLA. Uptake of the new benefit was encouraged, so a lot of socially excluded people were walking into Citizens Advice and DSS offices for the first time and then being told they are eligible for Invalidity Benefit.

    Incapacity Benefit was introduced to replace it to halt the rise and as Labour took over, they kept people off it just as well as the 80s Conservative government did.

    Mason Dixon, Autistic

  • Michele

    Your comment re Neil Kinnock having  ‘become a millionaire on the backs of taxpayers’ is sickening.

    There is something so sad about describing a person that works for the community and then also OMG has the audacity to write about their experience.  Stay so sad.

  • Michele

    You could look at it another way.
    Without minimum wage legislation we allow employers to force earnings downwards (especially in unskilled=most needy sectors) OR we force people to work off the books.

    There is no ideal and we have to make a choice.  I choose for there to be a minimum wage and to work around whatever problems that creates (knowing where we are).

    As for the smoke and mirrors re the relevance of comparing US/UK ….. pah.   Just go try posting on (or simply reading) a US political blog (and I dare you to search on any for stories about the ‘wretched’ P A Luty).  Take your bulletproof vest.

  • Chris lancashire

    Wrong again. The increase in IB (change the name if you like) has been fairly steady and unrelenting under the last three governments. I trust the link below to an graph from the excellent Taxpayer’s Alliance site works.
    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/waste/2008/07/welfare-reform.html

    Chris lancashire, Taxpayer

  • Chris lancashire

    Wrong again. The increase in IB (change the name if you like) has been fairly steady and unrelenting under the last three governments. I trust the link below to an graph from the excellent Taxpayer’s Alliance site works.
    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/waste/2008/07/welfare-reform.html

    Chris lancashire, Taxpayer

  • Arecbalrin

    You don’t specify exactly where I am wrong so I can’t be sure, but on the matter of stables and sudden rises the TPA has produced a misleading graph.

    First of all I want to note their graph stops at 2005 when IB peaked and then started dropping. Regarding historical record, the measurement for IVB and IB is taken quarterly but this graph has been averaged in hidden places to smooth out the fast rise and make it look more like a curve than it really is whilst the very moderate rises are exaggerated. In the WPLS data from 79 to 95 IVB is measured every February but after that it is measured quarterly. By enlarging the TPA graph I can see that for that period they have averaged and smoothed a lot and for after 1995 they stop smoothing and leave in the actual plotted quarters. The honest thing to have done would to have recorded only February for the whole dataset and apply the same averaging to all plotted points. It also helps them that they only counted part of IVB, meaning they start on the 700,000 figure in 1979. 

    1979 to 2010 represents 31 years. Just 7 of those years(a little under 1/4 of the time) account for 1/2 of the growth in a nutshell. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree Janiete. Anyway, I’d rather live in a society where we accidentally give benefit to a couple of people who don’t need it, than accidentally not give it to some people who do.
    To pretend we can’t afford this, as the 6th or 7th largest economy in the world, is nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Ehtch, are you sure you want to use logic, and cause-and-effect to defend this argument? Ok then, tell me which year EMA was started, and tell me about all the riots we had before that. As far as I’m aware my parents and grandparents grew up without this, in the dodgy parts of town, but didn’t riot.

  • Anonymous

    You are partially correct. Productivity of the lowest paid is now better. The lowest paid now get £6. There used to be some people who got paid £3. They are now unemployed. People who got paid £6 always were more productive than those who got paid £3. Now its illegal to employ the £3 workers so they are on the dole. Therefore the people who are now the lowest paid are more productive than those who used to be the lowest paid.

  • Anonymous

    Michele your first point I’m not sure of, your second point:”There is no ideal and we have to make a choice.  I choose for there to be a minimum wage and to work around whatever problems that creates (knowing where we are).” seems a sensible position to me.

    Re comparing countries. The totalitarian movement would love us all to submit to one system, one world government. The free democratic peoples would prefer to have lots of countries so that we can compare what doesn’t work (north korea, greece, pre-capitalist sweden) with what does (singapore, switzerland) and copy what works. This is how Europe was able to get centuries ahead of China and Arabia.

    PA Luty – looks like he is defending the right to bear arms. I have no problem with people defending the right to bear arms, or pointing out the disadvantages.

    But anyone who talks about equality, but doesn’t want the right to bear arms, should be discredited. If Labour want to defend the weak, the poor, the less than equal – well they need to allow them to bear arms. Otherwise, regardless of economic factors, the powerful will exert control over the weak. I dare you not to go for the childish argument.

  • Ehtch

    All I am saying that they might have felt as if the State had mugged them. And as for your parents/grandparents, what you didn’t have you don’t miss. Anyway, 15/16+ employment was very high from WWII up to about the end of the 1970’s, where then things happened, and disfranchisation of non-academically minded under 21s started, which EMA’s was introduced as a tool to tackle, to get them back into the mainstream of society.