New Labour’s easy targets: cutting disability benefits

When you hear that the government would like disability benefit claimants to find employment, ask yourself: Where are the jobs going to come from?

Employers aren’t looking to take on more people – given the parlous financial situation. There may be significant job cuts in the next few months (I mean, more than those associated with the government’s policy of manufacturing decline and the frictional job losses inherent in the “working” of a market economy.)

It’s not unreasonable to suppose the intent is to reduce the ammount of benefit people are given rather than get people into employment.

Or as the News Line puts it:

LABOUR MOUNTS ATTACK ON DISABLED

Disability charities yesterday expressed concerns over Labour’s plans to introduce harsh work tests and force almost two million people off incapacity benefit.

In his Budget speech on Wednesday, chancellor Darling said: ‘Welfare reform makes work pay and encourages people off benefits.’

He added: ‘From April 2010 all long-term recipients of incapacity benefit will attend work capability assessments.

‘These reforms will continue to free up resources for investment.’

His announcement followed that of work and pensions secretary Purnell, who said the government plans to implement the Freud Report in full.

Purnell hired investment banker David Freud to recommend Welfare ‘reform’.

Freud suggested that less than a third of the 2.6 million incapacity benefit claimants were genuine.

In a recent interview he said: ‘When the whole rot started in the 1980s we had 700,000 (claimants). I suspect that’s much closer to the real figure than the one we’ve got now.’

Freud went on to attack GPs, saying: ‘It’s ludicrous that the disability tests are done by people’s own GPs, they’ve got a classic conflict of interest and they’re frightened of legal action.’

He recommended putting private companies in charge of finding jobs for the long-term unemployed, with cash incentives for the companies to drive claimants off benefit.

Freud said: ‘I worked out that it is economically rational to spend up to £62,000 on getting the average person on incapacity benefit into the world of work.’

Disability Alliance director of policy and services Paul Treloar, said yesterday: ‘Disability Alliance is concerned that government proposals to apply the new Work Capability Assessment to all incapacity benefit claimants from 2010 is an attempt to simply reduce the numbers claiming benefit through imposing a harder test of entitlement.’

He added: ‘Official figures for incapacity benefit fraud indicate that current levels are lower than 0.5 per cent.

‘We feel that it is dishonest of the government to look to reduce the numbers of incapacity benefit claimants in these circumstances.’

Treloar said that, in his experience, ‘it does cause concern when people think there are intentions simply to throw them off benefits’.

Director of services at Disability Action, Kevin Doherty insisted that the ‘overall ethos’ of the vast majority of those claiming incapacity benefit was the desire to work.

In his reaction to Wednesday’s Budget speech, GMB trade union general secretary Paul Kenny said: ‘The requirement that those on incapacity benefit must attend work capability assessments is based on the false notion that the high levels of claimants in some areas is due to the fact that these people do not want work.’

He added: ‘The Chancellor needs to face up to the fact that in today’s labour market able bodied and fully fit workers get jobs ahead of those who are disabled and those not fully fit.’

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13 Responses to “New Labour’s easy targets: cutting disability benefits”

  1. charliemarks Says:

    Yes, death to capitalism.

  2. sinblancaporelmundo Says:

    Well, it seems we don´t agree, amigo mío, I´m afraid.

  3. charliemarks Says:

    Yes I hope to die under socialism rather than be killed by capitalism.

  4. Patrick Begorrah Says:

    All I can say is I worked for a disabled person some years ago. I left because they were keeping council monies that should’ve gone to me and my fellow worker for themselves. Not only was this a breach of trust (he constantly went on about how he needed me and the other worker to be more dedicated and caring and that’s what we were, dedicated and caring. Where did it get us), but it was also THEFT! He stole 15,000 sterling. The money was sent via the local council and was SUPPOSED to be used for care worker’s needs; it wasn’t! He committed fraud! He also swindled me and my fellow worker out of money. I could’ve prosecuted him; but I never.
    So, Mr Marx, what say you now? No doubt it’ll be something along the lines of one person doesnt tar everyone. Hmmm? Do you apply that to ALL people or only people you consider to be fascist? This person was a thief, plain and simple. Just because he is disabled doesnt mean he should be treated with kid gloves. Besides that, he was always saying that he didnt want to be treated differently. Yeah except when it came to stealing.
    The point is p.c. socialism IS death. He was encouraged to steal because he knew that he could sit there and say “but i’m disabled and sometimes….sometimes I get bad headaches waaaa!!! waaaaa!!! honest your honour! Socialism? What a joke.

  5. sinblancaporelmundo Says:

    But at least you can choose if you want to die under socialism so you go to North Korea or Cuba. But if you live there you cannot choose to killed by capitalism because you are not allowed to leave the country, amigo mío.

  6. landsker Says:

    Once again, a “solution” for the less fortunate.
    Some people fail to understand that to fill in the dozens of forms, to be examined by several doctors, to shuffle from line to queue, and back again, all for £70 per week is not a fulfilling role in life.
    When people have fallen so far as to need £10 per day to live, then they are in need, of that there is no doubt.
    Our societies will be filling up with checkers, examiners, observers, consultants, experts, advisers, planners, inspectors and directors.
    No wonder the working class gets backache, it comes carrying the avaricious and ever expanding ruling classes upon our backs.

    As an aside, and to the sceptic who seems to have appeared from the dead embers of francos` funeral pyre, one can only point out, that at the moment, the bastion and flag waver of capitalism, America, is tottering on the brink of a financial abyss and final dissolution.

  7. Seán Says:

    I will fight for my right to allow capitalism to keep me ignorant and poor. I will fight for the right for rich fuckers to avoid tax and live off the back of my labour…

    For blessed are the wealth creators, for the government shall bail them out during times of crisis. They shall not question their moral rectitude either. For wealth creators know best.

    Fuck the unfortunate, disabled and the wretched! What do they think the government is? A fucking charity?

  8. Renegade Eye Says:

    Real socialism is democracy, beyond what you know. Both capitalists and Stalinists, have interest in keeping people from knowledge about real socialism.

  9. charliemarks Says:

    Right…

    Patrick, the person you describe sounds like a bastard. Of course benefit fraud should be investigated – but the government is trying to shunt people onto lower rates of benefits whilst claiming it wants people to be employed.

    Sinblancaporelmundo – I don’t want to live and die in another country – I want to live and die here in England.

    As Renegade Eye says, “Real socialism is democracy” – direct and participatory, in the economy as well as the polity.

  10. M Anderson Says:

    Charlie,
    I don’t know if he was bastard; he was certainly taking advantage of the system. A system that he knew he could use to HIS advantage.
    “The system” should be beneficial to everyone, not just certain groups. Which is why I hate political correctness. P.c. policies do not get the most talented person for the job they get certain people for the job. No wonder western society has gone down the pan! Oh and who invented poilitical correctness? Supposedly it was our friends the commies! Say no more!

    Sean:

    I will fight for my right to allow capitalism to keep me ignorant and poor. I will fight for the right for rich fuckers to avoid tax and live off the back of my labour…

    Sean, there is absolutely no need for anyone living in a capitalist society to be ignorant! That’s why libraries have computers that anyone can use. And yes I know that there are certain areas that have no computers; have you protested to the govt about that yet? I bet you havent.
    I dont think that “rich fuckers” should get off paying tax either. If anything, they should pay more than the average person. I mean, how much money do they need? When you’ve got a certain amount it isnt about how much money youve got but how much power it gives you. Power corrupts.

    Sean:
    For blessed are the wealth creators, for the government shall bail them out during times of crisis. They shall not question their moral rectitude either. For wealth creators know best.

    I dont agree with this either. What is society supposed to do though? Make everyone equal? That’ll never happen because people are not all the same. I know it’s unfair but thems the breaks. There will never be a society where everyone is equal because certain people will always rise up above others be it through being more personable or being more intelligent.

    Sean:
    Fuck the unfortunate, disabled and the wretched! What do they think the government is? A fucking charity?

    Now you’re being ridiculous! Nobody is saying fuck the unfortunate OR disabled. It might sound like a cliche but at the end of the day if it was the other person or ourselves we’d all choose ourselves. And if you dont choose yourself over someone else you dont deserve to stay afloat. Simple as that. That doesnt mean I agree with everything govt does. Why do you think I ended up helping a disabled bloke out? I wanted to.

  11. charliemarks Says:

    M Anderson – good to have you back again.

    I think what I need to convey is: capitalism is a class system. Capitalists live off profit – the unpaid labour of workers. The capitalist economy is organised to produce what is thought to generate the most profit to benefit the owners of capital.

    Obviously, people have differing talents and abilities. In this sense there is inequality and always will be. Think of it like this: we have limited democratic participation, but no economic democracy. That’s why hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been outsourced – profits matters more than working people. If we had extensive democratic participation in both politics and economics life would be a lot better for us.

  12. Robert Says:

    First of all I’m disabled after a massive accident at work, I worked for 30 years before the accident, my incapacity benefits were paid for out of the section of the national insurance, which is an insurance payment in case of disability or illness.

    At no time have I claimed anything which is not rightfully mine or yours, should you become sick or disabled. I lost my legs part of my spinal cord.


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