“Almost 900,000 people spent a decade or more “on the sick” at a cost of £4.2 billion a year to the taxpayer, the Government has said.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling described the figures as “outrageous” and promised action to get people off benefits and back into work.”
So says the Press Association report in this morning’s Guardian, going on to say:-
“”The sheer amount of people who have been left behind without any help or support to get back into work is outrageous,” Mr Grayling said.
“Thousands of people who have simply been cast aside by a welfare system that does nothing but put them in a queue for benefits and then forgets about them.
“Well those days are over. We will no longer accept a system which writes people off at a drop of the hat and expects the taxpayer to foot the bill.””
All of which makes me wonder at the immorality of Grayling’s assertion that anyone claiming sickness/disability benefits is a skiver (which is what he’s actually saying), because we already know that his claims are no more true now than they were when made by James Purnell and his partner in crime, David Freud (of whom more below).
It is the purest bovine ordure to claim that people are awarded benefits and then simply forgotten about. Many are repearedly hassled, and reassessed. Even though I have a condition which is incurable and can have only one outcome – death (unless I die of something else first) – during my time on Incapacity Benefit I was reassessed twice. OK, that’s not too bad in 23 years, and for other people it happens far more, but while it was utterly pointless, it did demonstrate that people are just not forgotten about.
Grayling clearly believes that anybody on long-term IB (in which I include those who would be on IB but, through circumstances, are on Income Support) – and let’s face it, these people are going to have enough trouble making the switch to ESA, a benefit specifically designed to make it insanely difficult to claim successfully – is capable of work.
OK, I confess, I was capable of work, seriously Mr. Grayling, for ooh – whole hours in any given week. And sometimes, those hours were actually consecutive – how unutterably selfish of me to use that time for shopping, or cleaning (nowhere near as much as I need, by the way, but I can’t get help), and writing about deluded fuckwits like you.
It’s indicative of a serious detachment from reality to believe that everyone on long-term disability benefits – not “on the sick” you tosser (Incapacity, by the way, is defined as inability or incapability, which should give you – if you pay any attention at all – a clue to what’s going on).
Yes, I agree that people who are capable of work should not be on disability benefits (but long-term sickness is as much a disability as a missing limb, eating away at every facet of life – something people like Grayling, with all the compassion of an Easter Island statue, will never understand), but the assumption that everybody on these benefits is capable of doing some work is as far from the truth as a Lib Dem and Conservative election manifesto. Oh, screw the analogies – it’s a lie, folks, pure and simple!
There are certain classes of illness/disability that are open to abuse – the notorious “bad back” for example, but how do you weed out the idler whose back pain cleared up years ago, without making the lives of those who are genuinely suffering excruciating pain absolutely intolerable?
And here’s a question nobody, not James Purnell, Gordon Brown, Grayling or Cameron (we can ignore Clegg – it’s not as if he matters any more), has addressed – why on earth would somebody, who is capable of working, voluntarily consign themselves to decades (according to Grayling), of the poverty that life on benefits represents? True, nobody starves but trust me, life on benefits is so far removed from the norm that nobody who hasn’t experienced it can comprehend it.
Nobody in their right mind would want any part of it if there was an alternative.
Look at the problem from another perspective. Were I suddenly well enough to work (it’s academic, I turned 65 last year, but bear with me), what employer would take on someone who hasn’t been able to work since 1986, and, equally importantly, has lost almost every job he ever had through excessive sick leave?
What skills I had – and they were many – are either seriously eroded or lost completely (though in my nightmares I still know how to compile bills of lading!). I am effectively unemployable. And I’m by no means alone.
The thing is, though, we all know that Grayling has not the slightest interest in trying to get people back into work, because there isn’t any.
We still haven’t fully emerged from the recession, and its associated job losses; the indications are that the budget cuts are likely to tip us back into it – the so-called “double-dip” recession – which will cause more job losses, not to mention the millions of jobs which will be lost as a direct result of the budget cuts.
Whatever vacancies there might be will go to the best-qualified, not to someone who hasn’t worked for decades and has no marketable skills.
All Grayling wants to do is remove people from expensive disability benefits and move them to the very much lower Jobseekers Allowance – a benefit on which, especially if one is chronically sick and disabled, long-term survival is likely to be impossible.
It’s purely a money-saving exercise, at the expense of those who are unable to defend themselves (much easier than taking on the unions, isn’t it Dave?).
Grayling doesn’t believe that people have “been cast aside by a welfare system” – not for one moment. All he cares about is promoting the lie, first promulgated by David Freud, that the vast majority of Incapacity Benefit claimants are perfectly well and capable of work.
It was a lie then, and it’s still a lie now, and dressing it up as if these proposals are for the benefit of the people involved is simply dishonest. He’ll be telling us work makes us free next…